Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Team Little Kids

My bigger kids are really awesome.  They are involved in really great activities.  They do and say very interesting, entertaining, inspiring things.  However, they do not wish to be photographed very often and they do not wish for me to write very much about them on this blog.  Apparently they feel they have rights.  Hmmph.
I feel I have rights to record our family history.  I don't think my grandchildren will care very much about their parents' teenage rights, rather they will appreciate reading about their parents adventures as young people.  Maybe I overestimate anyone's interest in reading anything on this blog.
Nevertheless, I feel torn between what I want to do-- record every adorable thing my children ever do and share it with the world, and respecting their wishes for privacy.

So this post is dedicated to "Team Little Kids"
Four of my absolute favorite people on the planet.  My heart can hardly stand to look at this picture because they are so much fun.  And, may I add, they LOVE to see their pictures on the blog!
Team Little Kids are best friends.
They work on school work together.  Here they are working on Lego Story Starter.
They are adventure kids-- they love to climb trees.
They eat together and play games together.  This particular game included Cannon and a Hitler mustache.  To be honest, sometimes I have no idea what games they are playing.
They've been playing a lot of football lately since we've had such spring-like weather for all of February.
A couple weeks ago Cannon finally lost his first tooth during Stake Conference.  It was hard to keep the celebration to a dull roar.
George on a birthday playdate with best buddy Lincon.  Team Little Kids share friends.  Thanks to the family rule, "Everybody gets to play", when anyone has a friend over, everyone is welcome to play.  No excluding.  Period.

Years ago I worked with a Relief Society President who taught me that during any period of your life you will always find equally good and bad things happening.  During the sorest trials, you will also find the sweetest blessings.  I admit these days with Peter are challenging, but look at the blessings of these easy going, best friend playmates.  What a joy they are to me.

Dear Friends,

I just have to begin this post with this:  An adorable picture of Peter.

Dear Friends,
Will you just be my friend and listen to me whine and complain for a minute.  Just a minute and then I'll move on.
I am EXHAUSTED.  Peter doesn't sleep well at night or during the day.  He doesn't eat well.  For a few days he was gobbling up solid foods, but now he's resisting them.  Some days his digestive system seems to be working well.  Other days he seems very uncomfortable.  No sign of teeth yet, and most of my babies do teethe later, but something is bugging him.  He keeps getting coughs and a runny nose.  As soon as I think I've got him figured out and we have one smooth day, the next day there is something else making him unhappy.  Quite frankly, it is embarrassing to me that with all my supposed experience, I seem to be incapable of managing this little person.  He is quite partial to me, so maybe I'm doing something right in that he prefers me to anyone else. I guess that's something.   I had really hoped he would get easier once he reached the sixth month mark.  That does not appear to be the case.  Elinor was a comparably unsettled baby until she was more mobile and independent, but at least she slept and ate well.  I don't feel like I'm doing anything well with Peter.
Am I being melodramatic?  I hope so and this isn't actually the reality.
A friend recommended a regular dose of Hyland's teething tablets.  Anyone else have any experience with those?  I am going to get a white noise machine today in the hope that that will help him sleep.  
I'm not ready to let him cry it out at night.  Mostly because he keeps getting sick and lots of crying will only exacerbate his discomfort.  I'm sure that a lot of his unhappiness is his own sleep deprivation.   I don't know that there is much to be done other than enduring this stage.  How dreary that sounds.

Unfortunately for me, like someone who doesn't hold their liquor well, I don't handle lack of sleep very well.  Can you say depression?  I just don't see things clearly and things that don't normally bother me and aren't a burden, start to feel very heavy and overwhelming.  For almost four years I have walked several mornings a week with my good friend.  That has done wonders for my mental health to start the morning with exercise and talking.  I'm finding it very difficult to get up and meet her with any regularity because of the rough nights with Peter.  Lots of waking up and nursing.
So, BLAH.  Whine, whine, boo-ho, woest me.  This too shall pass and I'm sure we'll all be better for it.  There.  I'm done.
He is really cute.  I really do love him.  I'm very grateful to have him in our family.
It's been the lack of sleep talking-- talking very loudly.  But our love for Peter will talk louder.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Aging and Family

Lately I've been feeling rather frumpy.  I'm in need of a haircut.  I need to eat better and exercise more.  I need more sleep.  There is no cause for alarm-- it's all part of the baby stage for me.  Oh, sure-- blame the baby.  I'll work my way back into shape and I know I'll sleep through the night again someday.  That's not so much the problem.  The real "problem" is that I am getting older.  I'm noticing a few more wrinkles around the eyes and a few more gray hairs.  But even that I could be okay with.  

Here is what is seriously causing me consternation.
This other MAN living in my house!  He is about 1/4 of an inch shorter than Abe.  He was heading to a stake dance and wanted to wear the really nice leather jacket that Abe's parents bought him in Italy when they picked him up from his mission.  The very leather jacket Abe wore on our first date!!!!
Don't misunderstand me.  I am very pleased with Clark.  He is a wonderful young man.  He sets a good example for his younger siblings.  He is respectful and responsible.  But he's my CHILD!  But he's looking like an ADULT!  Which means I am not young anymore. There is nothing to be done.  There is not even really a problem and things are as they should be.  I'm just having a bit of a hard time processing right now.

And then it got worse.  It's one kind of disturbing thing to see your son grow up.  It's quite another to see your girls looking so grown up and off to another dance for ages 12 and up.  Elinor turns 12 next week so she got to go with Bethany. 
I will have three children in the youth program at church.  Once again, I know I'm not the first to walk this road, but sheesh!  It just happened so fast. 
Speaking of getting older, my dear sister turned 40 on Sunday and we had a family dinner/ birthday party for her.  I love my sister.  Elinor asked me yesterday if I would be devastated if I didn't have Brig for a sister.  I told her that I am so grateful to have my sister in my life and consider her a best friend and great blessing in my life.  
Elinor and cousin Emi are special friends.
Maybe you had to be there to appreciate it, but Brig had the most impressive blowing out of candles I've ever seen.  Fast and powerful.  Lots of hot air:)
Family games followed family dinner.
And speaking of family, my brother Peter (Chip), who lives in the D.C. area, sent me this awesome foxy artwork.  As I understand it, he asked an artist friend to create it.  It goes perfectly in our living room.  Sorry about the big flash from the camera right in the middle.  How lame that someone out there has the creativity and vision to make something so beautiful, and I can't even figure out how to take a good picture with a point and shoot camera.  Well, at least I can appreciate it.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Peter is Six Months Old

Look who is six months old!
He has had his first sickness-- bronchiolitis and double ear infections last week.  He has yet to sleep through the night.  He really, really likes me.  He is competing with Bethany as my snuggliest baby.
He has done his fair share of this over the past six months.  It seems like all of my babies have been pretty high maintenance for the first six months.  Maybe I'm doing something wrong.  Some of them stay a little higher strung and others mellow out around six months.  It remains to be seen which direction Peter will go.  Either way, we love him so much and I am grateful to have this sweet spirit in our home.  Babies bring so much joy and yet are so humbling at the same time. 
Peter had his first baby food yesterday.
He seemed anxious to try something a little more solid.
 He did pretty well for his first time.  I think he liked all the kids standing around watching him eat and laughing at his antics.
The kids like his oatmeal mustache:)
Day two went a little better.  My goal tomorrow is get a picture of him smiling.  He is a very smiley, animated baby, but I just haven't been able to capture it with the camera.  As a side note, Peter's hair is very much like Faith's was at this age.
Happy six months, Peter!

Happy at Home

I frequently tell the children, "Anything you do and say can and will be used against you in a court of blog."

I present you with Underwear head.
For the record, Cannon was warned and advised against allowing this picture to be taken.
And just look at the influence he is having on his younger brothers.
The truth is, underwear head is always funny.
 His bi-weekly journal is not his favorite school assignment.
 But if it helps him to someday do what the girls are doing, it will be worth it.  The girls have both been spending hours working on their stories/books.  When it comes to homeschool, they have some school work that is non-negotiable.  But often, if they can think of something better-- like writing their book-- I am happy to oblige.  This project kills lots of birds with one stone-- creative writing, grammar, spelling, typing, technology.  I always think it is funny when they write stories set in a public school.  How would they know?  I suppose they read a lot of books with that setting.
I'm putting this picture up so I don't forget what he looks like.  The FIRST Robotics Competition build season ends on Tuesday.  Clark has been gone from home so much-- from about 4pm to 11 pm 4-5 days a week for the past six weeks.  We homeschoolers aren't used to such separation! I'm missing the guy.
Last Saturday afternoon and evening the kids had a great time with great friends.  Elinor and Bethany wanted to have a tea party with the fancy teacups.  Asia and Megan came for the occasion and Cannon and Faith were their servants.  The servants were kindly asked not to smile in the pictures.
George and best buddy Lincon playing superheros in the tent.
Cannon and Ryder.
Elinor and Megan.
"Just Dance" WITH A BOY!!!!!  AHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Twister with boys and girls.  What is this world coming to?  Give me strength.  Notice George and Faith were joining the party?  Hmm-mm.  Younger siblings are always welcome to join their older siblings when friends of the opposite gender are around.
A game of Heroscape on Saturday night after a day of Robotics was a pleasant change of pace for these boys.  Clark was a good sport and let Cannon play as well.
I've been struggling this week trying to keep the house clean or at least make peace with the mess.  Please allow me this moment to celebrate my relatively clean kitchen counter with a vase of flowers and plate of freshly baked cookies.  Maybe I'm doing all right.  At least I was doing all right at the moment this picture was taken.  Actually, I think it was that Peter had been sick that week and sleeping more than usual, so I had a bit more time to pick up.
 On a bit of a sad note for George, his friend Lincon is moving.  Not too far.  Only three blocks away, but this is Utah, so it means he'll be in a different ward and stake for church.  Of course they can still play together, but I'm pretty bummed about it.
I don't think anyone should move.  EVER.  I just don't think that is unreasonable.

George Fox- Age 4

King George is four.  In my experience, children at the age of four are fairly independent.  They are totally potty trained.  They can help themselves to a piece of bread, yogurt, cheese stick, or drink.  They can get themselves dressed and get out toys to play with and look at books.  I don't have them doing real school yet or doing much by way of chores.  Consequently, the four year old can get overlooked at times.  Sometimes I'm not sure what he does all day.  I have noticed this with each of my four year-olds since Faith.
But there is one thing George does that no other four year old in our family has ever done.
George L-O-V-E-S the baby.  I mean to say he loves Peter like no four year old has ever loved a baby before.
And sometimes almost all the time, it is just too much.
Peter objects to all the love.
We try to tell George to stop laying on, touching, kissing and hugging Peter, but he is not to be dissuaded.  Peter must be loved.
Lots of little boys are pretty awesome.
George-- age 4 loves to paint.  Here he is painting a scorpion.

A little more about George-- age 4.
Favorite food:  Macaroni and Cheese
Favorite friends:  Lincon and Dallas
Favorite show:  The Wizard of Oz (because that's what he's watching right now and he is a Munchkin in the play)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I've Had the Time of My Life

Abe has dreamed of hosting a family dance for several years.  I knew his 40th birthday was the perfect occasion to finally make it happen. 
Forty years old.  Or as Clark and his friends decided...
...Abe is now old.
The hope for the family dance was that all ages could come and just have a fun time together, with older music and newer music.  I declare it was a grand success.  We rented an indoor pavilion in our town for the evening.
Abe's younger, hipper brother, Phil, who lives in Orem was so great to come be our DJ.  Abe gave Phil his wishlist playlist for the evening and Phil did a really great job of balancing Abe's desire for 80's music with some more current hits.
Here is Phil's wife Katie. Katie was very helpful getting things set up while Phil tinkered with the music. We were so happy to have them at the dance because they know how to get down and boogie. 
Abe and Cannon just before the party began.
Cannon was a dancing machine!   He and his friend, Jake, were crazy!  Crazy AWESOME!
The conga line was a favorite of the 6-10 set.
The Macarena early on got people loosened up.
Peter found friends to snuggle and dance with him.
It was so cute to see my parents dancing.  They were good sports and stayed the whole evening.  I knew when "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang came on that my dad couldn't resist getting up to dance.
Daniel (Abe's oldest brother) and Lori's family know how to have a good time!  We loved dancing with them.
I may or may not have followed Bethany around at times with the express purpose to embarrass her with my dance moves.  She may or may not have turned and walked away from me each time I did so. 
Parenting teenagers can be such fun.
The disco lights really helped the atmosphere.  A big thanks to my Aunt Jennifer for letting us borrow them.
 The young men were a little slow to warm up to the dance.  Notice Clark's expression?  How could you miss it?  He was... shall we say... apprehensive about the evening.  I can understand that from his perspective at 15, it would be hard to top the embarrassment of your parents dancing in front of not only their friends, but your friends as well.  I get it.  It didn't stop us, but I can understand it.
See for yourself what he had to deal with.

Ah,! But did you see who is in the video along with Abe?  The apple doesn't fall that far from the tree, and Clark did join in the fun.
You know what first got all the young men up and dancing?
Vintage dancing!  Andrea, our dancing instructor, was fabulous.  She led us in two dances. The first one, "Patty-Cake Polka" was so sweet because all the little kids could join in with the adults.
The second one, "Lucky Seven" was a little more complicated, so we gathered all the little ones into the middle and danced around them.
Cotton-Eyed Joe for the fittest and more athletic of the crowd.
Andrea (in all black) saved the day again when she led the group in the "Thriller" dance.
Do you know the feeling when you are dancing and you think you look cool doing it, but then you see a picture of yourself and realize you are a complete dork? 
Yeah, me neither.
I admit I did wake up Sunday morning feeling very hesitant to show my face at church.  Kind of like I couldn't quite remember what I'd done, but fearing others would.
One of my favorite things about the evening?  Daddys and daughters dancing together.  Abe and Elinor.
Abe and Bethany
Grandma Cannon and Malachi
Brothers and sisters dancing together-- Cannon and Bethany
Husbands and wives-- Brig (my sister) and Dev
Friends and neighbors-- Sarah and William dancing.  In the background, Jenn, Candice, Evan and Kierstin.
Pia and Edward Navarro.  I have to give Edward the best male dancer of the evening award-- he was fantastic!
Ryan and Katelyn.  Ryan receives the award for "Stepping Furthest Outside His Comfort Zone".  Talk about being a good sport!
Philip and Katie.  Oh, look, I just noticed my cute nieces, Takara and Emi dancing together.  That's sweet.
I told Cannon to go ask Faith to dance.  I failed to teach them how to slow dance.  Not so natural looking.
Then there was the classic dance where teenage boys lift up their friend in a chair and slow dance in a circle. 
What?  You've never heard of that before?  It's all the rage round here.
Maybe Lori and I need to go clubbing.
Actually, I don't really know what clubbing is.  Maybe we just need to go dancing more often.  On second thought, based on this picture, we probably ought not to dance publicly ever again.  It was just so dang fun!  Kylie, however, looks beautiful.
Abe and I were both so pleased with the evening.  To have friends and family come celebrate this milestone for Abe and make it so fun and memorable means so much to us.  Most everyone who was there is pictured in this post, but a few escaped the camera.  A huge thank you to everyone who joined us for one of the most enjoyable nights of our lives.