Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy 8th Birthday Caydin!

Eight years ago today, I became a mother.  It is the hardest thing I have ever done, and the most heartbreaking, but I wouldn't trade it for anything!  Happy birthday Buddies!  I miss you like crazy and look forward to the day when I can hold you in my arms again and kiss you, and hug you, and go kick a ball with you!  I don't get to see you get baptized, but I get to know you have already passed the test and that there are only bigger and better things left for you to experience!  There is one happy memory that for some reason is more vivid than most.  It wasn't a special occasion or anything, but just one of those sweet mommy moments that was burned into my subconscious!  We were standing in the doorway of the kitchen, and you wanted me to bend down to your level.  Once there, you gave me a kiss.  That memory is so strong that whenever I think of it, I can still almost literally feel your sweet, cool lips on mine!  How I cherish that sweet innocent kiss!  I think of that heaven kiss and hope it again reaches heaven tonight!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Five Things you May Not Know About Me

1.  When I was 18, I was escorted out of a casino.

2.  When I was born, I had silver hair.

3.  I was the youngest child in my family for 8 years, the middle child for 17 years, and became the second oldest child of five kids when I was 20.

4.  In the song "Africa", there is a line that says "There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do", and until a few years after I was married, I thought the line was "There's nothing that a hundred men on mars could ever do."

5.  I have minor scoliosis.

Challenge: Post your own five unknown facts on your own blog!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Catching Up!

So it took me longer than I said, but better late than never! 

As I said in my last post, I celebrated my 30th birthday in November.  It was actually a really low key birthday where we spent the day with our family and just had fun!  I don't have any pictures of my birthday, but all these pictures coming up are thanks to my birthday!  Yes, I got a new camera for my birthday.  My old camera decided to start having "file error" messages on all my pictures, and something was wrong so that I couldn't take a non-blurry picture to save my life!  I love my new camera!

This picture was taken right after my birthday after the first real big snow storm of the year.  I had to include "Telly" the snowman.  We called him that because his nose looks just like Telly's from Sesame Street!  Eden had gone into the house to look for a carrot to use for a nose, but being a Sunday, I had used all our carrots for our Sunday roast, so instead she grabbed a potato.  What we didn't know until Rob was putting it on the snowman was that it was a baked potato from dinner!  It kind of squished into place, and when it was finally on, it was a Telly nose!  He got a twig with leaves for a mouth.  You might have to click on the picture and make it bigger to really appreciate his face!

Every year Layton City puts on a drive through light show at the park across from the city offices.  It isn't terribly long, but I think they do a really good job for what they do, and the best part is that it is FREE!  We drive through several times a year, and this year was no exception.  What is fun, too, is that if it isn't very crowded, we can usually drive through it 2 or 3 times in one night!  I only posted one picture, and this is one of the 'leading up to' lights before you get to the really lighted part.  You can also park and walk through the lights as well.  We wanted to do that this year, but we got hit by an awful flu bug the beginning of December, and by the time it had cycled through the whole family, it lasted almost the whole month!  So, we were never well enough this year to walk through it, but I guess that gives us something to look forward to next year!

On Christmas Eve, the only plans we had were with Rob's mom and oldest brother, who didn't come until dinner.  So, during the day we went for a little drive, and we just happened to take that ride right when this Santa and Mrs. Santa (sitting in the back trailer) just happened to be driving past our street!  They were a super jolly couple, and I have to admit we kind of Santa stocked them through most of the city!  I have better video than pictures of them, but I didn't want to take the time to download it, so you get this poor picture!  It was fun for the kids, and gave us a special Christmas Eve treat!

This is the kids Christmas Eve night.  They all got to open one present that night, which just happened to be new pajamas!  Eden begged us to let her sleep on the couch that night, but finally agreed to have a sleep over with her siblings in one of their rooms!  All three of them were so excited for Christmas this year, which made it really fun!  This is the first Christmas where all three of them really seemed to understand what was going on, and were really excited!  It was super fun!

This is EmmaLee on Christmas Eve, but I actually posted it for a different reason.  EmmaLee is now POTTY TRAINED!  I only have ONE in diapers now for the first time in over 4 years!!!  I talked to my sister-in-law a little before Christmas and she told me how she was training her little girl.  It inspired me to try with EmmaLee.  The first day was a disaster, at least I thought it was!  She didn't make it to the potty once, and what's more, she didn't even try!  I didn't get upset at her, so it wasn't a disaster in that side, just in actually feeling like she was getting somewhere!  I decided to put it off because I knew with Christmas coming up we were going to be traveling a lot on several different days, and I didn't want to deal with the stress of potty training.  So, back into diapers she went.  And, like any respectable child, she decided to do the opposite of what I wanted, and started to train herself!  At first she would just go pee a couple of times a day, still wearing her diaper in between.  Then one day, she said she needed to go, and I was surprised when she actually did the other number!  Within a few days, she was in underwear.  She had a couple of accidents, but has now been in underwear and accident free (except for two occasions-once when she fell asleep and once when she couldn't get her nylons off after church) for almost a whole week!  I would like to thank Mulan II for this accomplishment, since I think a huge factor that motivated EmmaLee to want to wear underwear is the song where the princesses, tired of being princesses and having to follow strict rules, sing a song about what they would like to have freedom to due and sings the line "Dance around in my underwear!"  EmmaLee, almost without fail, has been singing that song after most potty uses once she puts her underwear on and before she puts her pants back on!

This picture is kind of blurry (I'm still learning how to use my new camera!), but unfortunately it is the only one I have of the kids Christmas morning seeing their presents for the first time that Santa brought!  The kids were pretty happy with Christmas this year!  They didn't get a ton of stuff, but they really liked what they got.  They each got a pillow pet, which I was very happy to have gotten for $10 a piece!  I don't consider myself a very good bargain shopper (which for anybody who knows my mother will wonder if I really am her daughter), and the kids have been asking for pillow pets for almost a year (thanks qubo!), but Eden's school participates in an online program called godealgo.com, which has a daily offer for local businesses.  I know they have a Davis County, and a Salt Lake County deal, but I don't know how wide a range they actually cover.  Basically local businesses offer great deals, and you can purchase a voucher for the deal, and you mark your child's school (this is optional) when you buy the voucher, and they get a percentage of that sale.  It's how Eden's school does their fundraising, which works great because you can buy things you actually want, and they get a piece of it!  So, a local Hallmark store offered a $10 for $20 worth of merchandise, and advertised pillow pets.  So, I bought 4 vouchers, coming to $40, but was able to get 4 pillow pets, which would have cost me $80, for $40!  I was a bit excited since the cheapest I could find them otherwise was $19.98 at Wal-Mart!

This was also Christmas morning.  Rob's sister gave Ammon this cute little riding bike, and I thougth he looked so cute sitting on it!  He actually can sit up now by himself, but still falls over a lot!  He was able to sit on his own on the bike because of the packaging on the back!

The week after Christmas, Rob's sister invited us to stay with them at her husband's mom's condo in Bear Lake.  It is an awesome place, with 5 different sleeping quarters, which gave us our own place for our family, which was great!  We stayed there for 2 nights and 3 days.  It snowed the first night and into the next day, so we bundled up and took the kids tubing.  We drove around the area and found no hills we could use, so we ended up back at the condo.  Right outside our condo, there was a small little hill that ended up being just right for our kids!  It was big enough that they got a thrill out of going down, but small enough that they were able to carry their own stuff back to the top!  I don't have a snowsuit for Ammon, so we took an extra pair of 2T snow pants and put those over his warm outfit, then put on a hoodie, and then a wind breaker jacket, and a cute hat!  The snow pants went a good 6 inches past his feet, so they were protected, and we put a pair of EmmaLee's gloves over his hands to keep them warm!  He looked so cute bundled up, and he seemed to enjoy being out!  Rob and I both took him down the hill a couple of times.  He didn't last as long as the other kids, and I took him inside after about a half an hour.  I thought he looked so cute in his outfit though!

I love this picture!

Eden getting ready to go down on her tube!

Isaac in his outfit with his tube.  And, no, that is not my finger in the corner, it's Rob's!  He had his big gloves on, and my camera is kind of small, so his finger got in the way!

EmmaLee at the bottom of the hill.  The condo we stayed at was the top two floors of the unit right behind EmmaLee.  If you click on the picture to make it bigger, you can actually see Bear Lake in the background.  It still wasn't frozen!

We had a lot of fun at Bear Lake, but I have to mention this other side of the trip as well.  We have not been back to Bear Lake since Caydin passed away, and both Rob and I have made statements in the past that we would never go back there.  It just seemed like it would be too difficult, and there was no reason why we would ever "have" to go back.  Allen, Bonnie's husband, has had this condo in his family since he was young, and it is part of the reason we were up at Bear Lake when Caydin had his accident.  They go up often, and we had actually stayed at this condo with Caydin the summer he passed away, although it wasn't where we were staying when he had his accident.  Bonnie and Allen have invited us several times to come up since Caydin passed away, but it wasn't something we were ready for.  With the stress of school, and some life changes being made again during the Christmas break (more on that later), we really wanted a vacation, but didn't have money to go anywhere on our own.  So, when they invited us up there again, we talked about it, debated over it, and finally decided to give it a try.  We could take our own food, and the place was free with our own space, so really it only cost us gas to get there, which is a pretty cheap vacation!  It was a bit emotional when we first drove into the valley; our last memories of Caydin alive and well are in that valley.  We drove past the park where the night before he died, I took him out to the middle and showed him all the stars and told him that his Heavenly Father had made them all and was somewhere up there watching over us.  I didn't realize how soon he would be going back to meet Him.  I remember him just gazing up in a very serene way.  The condo is actually before the campground he had his accident at, so we didn't have to see it until the day we left.  We left on a day of some snow, and for safety reasons, decided to take the route through Evanston home, which meant we had to pass the campground, and which was the route we took in the ambulance.  But, it was safer than snowy roads through a very steep, cliffy Logan Canyon!  I wasn't sure how I was going to take driving past the campsite, and as we passed it, I did have to curse it, but then I was okay, and it was over, and it can't hold control over me anymore!  As for trip to and through Evanston, it wasn't hard at all.  I think a couple of things helped with that.  One, I didn't recognize hardly a thing!  Caydin's accident had been in August, and this was December, so everything was covered in snow.  We also drove through patches where it was snowing, or where there was wind blowing the snow, and it was almost a white out.  So, we saw mostly just road!  The first bit was kind of scary, but after that, it was actually an amazing drive!  My camera battery died, so I don't have any pictures, but we got to drive past Wilford Woodruff's house.  Because of all the snow, it was amazing landscape.  It was overcast, and the clouds and the snow were almost the exact same color, so you almost couldn't tell where earth and hills ended, and where sky began!  Going down the Canyon, we saw two different bull elk herds where they had HUGE antlers!  I've never seen elk in Utah before, so that was cool!  We also saw a moose up on the top of a steep cliff outside our window!  I'm not giving the details justice, but I felt like that ride home was a blessing and gift from Caydin.  It was like it was his way of saying, "Hey, it was hard for you guys to face this, but remember that I am good, and life is still wonderful and full of beautiful things!"  So, overall, I am grateful for that trip to Bear Lake, and that I will never have face Bear Lake for the "first time after" ever again!! 

Okay, so totally changing gears!  I have had two amazing bargain deals in the last month!  First the pillow pets, and then just this week, we were at Costco with Rob's mom when we found this power wheel mustang for an incredible deal!  Remember back at the end of last summer when I posted about our trip up to Idaho to my brother's house?  My nephew Caleb has this same mustang, and while we were there, my kids and my nephew and niece loved driving around in it.  Ever since, my kids have been begging us to get one.  But, they are not cheap, so we have told them "someday".  We were going to move to Idaho for Rob to finish school, which upset the kids who didn't want to move.  So, we promised them that when we moved, we would try to get one of these power wheels as a consolation.  But, now we aren't moving to Idaho (again, more later), so we didn't know when we were going to be able to get one of these cars.  Going back to this week, we were in Costco, and I wondered down the kitchen gadget section.  We saw some toys at the end, so Rob took the kids to look, and he found this mustang on sale there for $99!  It had been the floor model, and was the last one there!  We got it down to make sure it functioned properly, and when it did, decided we were never going to find this deal again, so we got it!  When we got home, we looked it up on the Internet, and they retail for $335!!  I know there are deals on them sometimes where you can get them for cheaper than that, but not for $99!  So, the kids finally got their power wheel!  The bad side is that it is still snowy outside, so they have no where to drive it!  That is why it is in Eden's room!  They have been driving it forward and then backward in about 15 feet of space!  We actually take the battery out most of the time so they aren't running over each other!  They are so excited for when they can take it outside!
Isn't this a classic picture?!  I thought it was so funny that Ammon loved being in the driver's seat, although I'm not sure EmmaLee liked it as much!  When we first put Ammon in it, he didn't know what to think, and I thought for a second he was going to cry!  But, it didn't take long for his attitude to change, and then all the kids had to take him for a ride!

Eden driving the car.  Also, ignore the blanket pile to the right of the car.  It's a tent we set up in Eden's room to help pass these long winter days! 

I love this picture!  It has been so fun to see the special relationship Isaac and Ammon are developing with each other!  Even at 8 months old, Ammon just loves his big brother, and I love seeing them having so much fun together!  Eden and EmmaLee have also started to really develop a sister bond with each other!  I love that the kids are getting old enough to start really developing into their personalities, and start having a lot of fun with each other!

Finally, as I hinted at earlier, after a lot of stress, prayer, and soul searching, we made the decision for Rob to transfer from BYU-Idaho to USU to an online degree.  It's a long, complicated story that I won't go into, but a big issue we were having a hard time overcoming was the ability to move up to the campus.  So, again, after a LOT of thought, we made the decision for Rob to switch to an online degree so we could have the flexibility of being able to stay here, and also continue to look for jobs with the flexibility of any hours, and any location since Rob can now finish anywhere!  He had to change his major since there isn't an Art degree offered online, but he is very passionate about family life, especially because of what we went through with Caydin, which is why he chose to go into the same degree I am, which is Family Life Studies.  He would like to go on and get his Master's as well.  We figure we'll just keep doing the best we can, making the best choices we can, and we'll see where life, and the Lord, leads us!   

So, I think that should just about catch me up on what I've been neglecting to write!  School started yesterday, and Rob was able to get everything transferred in time, so he is going again now too, so hopefully we can organize ourselves well so we can keep up with everything!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

First Foods

So, usually when you first introduce solid foods to your baby, you pull your camera out, and start with something like mashed bananas, or rice cereal.  It is a milestone to be documented.  Well, by the time you have your fifth baby, sometimes it doesn't always work that way!  To be fair, I have tried mashed bananas with Ammon before, and he didn't care for them.  So, at 7 1/2 months old, he really hasn't started on anything solid.  This morning I was trying to catch up on some laundry after the holidays, and Rob was talking to the school for Spring semester.  Ammon was sitting in his high chair, which is where I had put him while I ate my breakfast, and had then left him when I started on laundry because he was happy.  A few minutes into my laundry, he started acting a little fussy, so I asked Isaac to help him.  Usually that means that they find him one of his baby toys to play with.  He stopped whining, so I assumed all was well.  A few minutes later when I was done changing the laundry, I walked into the kitchen to find this!
"Look mom, I have a mustache!"
Who needs a bib?
"I would have eaten solids sooner if I knew they could taste like this!"

Apparently when I asked Isaac to help him, Isaac thought that Ammon needed a chocolate covered marshmellow grahm cracker!  Thankfully, Ammon didn't actually try to bite the thing, and pretty much just licked all the chocolate off the cracker!  It wasn't really what I had in mind as an introduction to solids, but again, I guess after 5 kids, things don't always go the way you'd like them too!

I know I am way behind on posting any kind of events from the last few months, such as my big 3-0 birthday, and all the holidays, but I will be doing a big post covering all this real soon, like before next Monday when school starts again!