Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Soaking It All In

She is seven weeks tomorrow and starting to fill out a bit.  Little by little she is losing the brand new newborn look and feel.  Her movements aren't so startled and she has a bit more head and neck control.  As far as I can plan and foresee, Greta is the end of the line of Fox babies in our family and I feel quite at peace, happy, and even somewhat relieved that the baby making phase of my life is done.  Even so, I am TREASURING every moment with her.  I stare at every detail of her face and hands and feet and want to bottle up what I feel certain is the last of my newborns here on earth.  The feel of her floppy body falling asleep on my chest.  The heavy eyelids and drooling lips after a satisfying feeding.  The sight of Abe standing and swaying and bouncing her asleep.  The little sighs and deep breaths of peaceful sleep.
AHHH!  What am I doing?  I'm making myself CRY!  I am actually shedding tears!
No, really, I must be done having babies.  My body can only take so much and I am getting a little old to continue this pattern.  I guess I am just really loving this little baby Greta and cannot get my fill of her.
How many years until we're grandparents?
What a nice smile.
This cracks me up with every picture of him these days.  He's trying so hard to smile.  He actually has a very cute dimpled smile, but I'd have to catch it without him knowing I was taking a picture.  If he knows we're taking a picture we get Pirate Pete!
At a recent family gathering Peter was unintentionally twinning with his Uncle Peter.  Notice the smile.
The girl cousins had a marvelous time with older cousin Bethany and doing hair and painting nails.
We've been enjoying the company of our wonderful Naomi from England for the past several weeks.  She was the occasion for the family gathering yesterday.  She'll be heading home this Sunday, but our time together has included a couple of runs to 7-11 for Slurpees.
More of Pirate Pete-- who, I might add, has had a couple of very good weeks now.  Small, but consistent improvement in communication-- part actual speech, part signing.  I don't care which at this point as long as it's not screaming and frantic grunting.
Cannon and I spent Saturday morning at the Cub-O-Ree.  Cannon is a Wolf scout and I am his leader.  We're having a great time together.  It helps that my fellow den leader is wonderfully organized and on top of things.  I do need all the help I can get.
Due to a time constraint, I drove Bethany to her violin lesson on Friday rather than having her ride TRAX.  Since I was going to be at the U near the zoo, I took the younger gang along with me.  We didn't have much time-- just enough for Cannon and Faith to get soaked at a little splash pad area (way to embrace life!) and to run into Brig and Naomi (totally unplanned).
It was a good little test run with Greta, before we go to the zoo for a longer time.  This was just practice.
But speaking of Bethany and her violin.  She was very happy to get 2nd chair in her high school orchestra today.  It is our understanding that 1st chair wasn't open since it is a position that is applied for and auditioned for the previous spring and we didn't know anything about that process back when she auditioned last spring.  So she got the highest chair she possibly could have.
Okay, I'll stop bragging now.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Kid's Olympics 2016

Well, I for one, quite enjoyed the Olympics.  I'm sad they are done.  Faith and her friend Emma recently sent out invitations and planned some Kid Olympics for friends in the neighborhood.
Once Bethany and Elinor caught wind of their plans, they kind of took over and expanded the plans.  It was on Abe's day off, so he helped make it into quite the production as well.
The Norwegians.
The Brits.
The Swiss.
Jamaican Me Crazy!
The younger kids made up the delegation from south Korea.

The Parade of Nations!
The athletes' village.
Track and field.
High jump.  We actually did have an injury on this event.  There was blood, but all is well.
Plenty of popscicle refreshment.
The medals podium for the 100 yard dash (or however many meters our backyard is).
The long jump champions.
The balance beam.

This was a fun exhibition floor routine performed by Abe!
I liked the boys practicing on the balance beam.
It was a good way to end the summer with friends.

Back to School

When Greta was born, I knew we had about a year with all of our children still living under our roof.  I want to make the most of this year, or at the very least, I want to remember what it was like.  I had hopes of blogging every day of this year in he hopes of remembering what life was like with everyone here day in and day out.
I realize that goal was a little too lofty.  Oh well, one does what one can do.
This picture of the oldest and youngest was taken Monday evening at our family book group gathering at our park.  We discussed The Boys in the Boat, which book I highly recommend.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.
This picture of the younger generation of book club makes me so happy-- ranging in age from 16 to 6, they are all playing a game together and laughing and having a grand time.  Good times.   I don't know if it's healthier for the younger kids to get to "play" with the big kids, or the big kids to play with the little kids.  They both benefit so much.  Either way, I think it's wonderful.
It came together quickly, but here is most of our FIRST Lego League team for 2016-2017.  It's a team of neighborhood kids who are all homeschooled.  Clark and two other friends are mentoring and we had a meeting with team members and parents last week.  They voted on a team name-- "Infinity Squared"!
We're all pretty excited about it and looking forward to what we'll learn together this year.
LOOK at what I have accomplished!  These are the individualized planners I make for each child for the coming school year.  Each contains their check off pages for the year and reading lists and and history courses and spelling test pages and they are A WHOLE LOT OF WORK to plan our and put together, but they are so worth it.  They are what keep kids working independently and knowing just what they need to do, and they allow me to keep track of where everyone is at.  It came down to the wire to get them done before we started school this past Monday.  As of the Thursday night as I am writing this, it was been a very good, very smooth start to the school year.
Their music practice is included in the items to check off each day.
Even cute little Georgie has his planner with things to do each day.
We decided to have George do another year of homeschool Kindergarten this year.  He has a late birthday and we felt he would benefit from a little slower start to academics.  Hopefully it won't traumatize him that his own mother made him repeat Kindergarten.
Bethany, Greta and I went on a little adventure last week up to the University of Utah on TRAX  so I could show her how to get to her violin lessons each week.  Her teacher has come to our house for the last several years, but now is teaching up at the U.  That's a little too much time (and gas money) for me to take her, so we will make use of nice public transit. 
In addition to her Lyceum Orchestra, Bethany is enrolled at the high school just for the orchestra class.  We'll see how it goes, but she's excited.
Once again, this is his smile!
He requested this picture be taken and he is purposefully smiling.  Little cutie!
He's had a good week this week and it really enjoying Baby Signing Time videos a friend lent us.  The older kids are enjoying finding ways to communicate with Peter and Peter is enjoying learning ways to make his will known without screaming.
We're all enjoy that.
This picture is a couple of weeks old already, but seriously???
What perfection!
This one is more recent.  As we've started school and activities back up, I don't have quite the time to just sit and soak her in.  I'm glad she was a summer baby so I've had six weeks before we had to function again.  
Team Middle Kids on an afternoon outing with Dad to take Bethany to Orchestra.  
They have a favorite park on Pleasant Grove they like to play at while Bethany is at rehearsal.
I have really enjoyed getting back into the routine of school and activities.  It's like the whole house breathes a sigh of relief.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Happy Birthday, Peter!

He's two!
This feels like some kind of accomplishment!
He still struggles with communication and frustrations, but hopefully we are progressing.  He was very happy to spend his birthday with family at Thanksgiving Point.  Here he is on the tractor ride. 
He is so strong and determined. 
He is so passionate and gets so excited.
He smiled for a picture on the pony ride.
If it's true that you love those you serve, then Faith, Cannon, and George must really love Peter.  They are very helpful with a demanding Peter.  We wouldn't have been able to venture out today with Peter and Greta without the other kid's (including Elinor's) help.  But not just today-- all the kids try to so hard to help Peter and help him be happy.
Peter got some trucks and trains for his birthday this morning before Abe left for work.  He's been really into construction trucks lately and this gift was a hit.  He even bathed with them tonight.
 Clark and Bethany have been gone everyday this week at EFY.  It's a stay-at-home conference and they've come home each night with glowing reports of classes and friends and good times.  One disappointment is they auditioned for, but didn't make it into the variety show for tomorrow.  They worked really hard on a piano/violin duet of "Bohemian Rhapsody".  It sounded so good and they got rave reviews from the judges, but apparently, it was judged to have questionable lyrics and they couldn't put it in.
Anyway, disappointing.  We'll have to record them performing it and put it on YouTube.
Elinor with her chickens and her trusty egg helper, Peter.
With my big helpers gone, I had to depend much more on younger helpers.  Cannon was so proud of himself getting to go into Little Caesars to buy pizza all by himself.  Then he went into the library alone to get my books I had on hold.  I was rather proud of him as well.
We've had a non-functional basketball hoop int he backyard for years.  For reasons that just demonstrate our laziness, we haven't fixed it up to make it usable for many, many years--- until yesterday.  Team Little Kids made themselves jerseys and have had a grand time the last couple of days shooting hoops in the backyard.
Not that anyone cares, but if you do, please know I have since fixed Cannon's hair so it's not quite so poofy.
Our good neighbor and firefighter came over for our first Wolf Den meeting.  The boys got to ask him questions about what he does and why he decided to become a firefighter.  He was great with the kids and we appreciated him taking the time to come over and help the boys.
This was a really funny moment for the little kids and me yesterday.  If you are familiar with the comedy sketch group Studio C, you may know of a D&D sketch  where it seems two characters are about to kiss.  Behind them another character is like a dragon rising and flapping it's wings in excitement.  It's pretty funny.
We were reading a Penderwicks book and one character is about to be kissed when these three little funnies jumped up on the couch and started flapping their wings.  I LOVE READING together!
Not a very good picture, but it shows the action!  I like Faith doing her gymnastics while watching Olympic gymnastics.
I LOVE watermelon.  I love eating watermelon while I watch Olympics.
I love eating watermelon while watching Olympics and holding this little sweetheart.
I love not being pregnant anymore.
I will leave you with this funny picture of Peter.  I don't know why he scowls when I tell him to smile.  He had a mouth full of doughnut, but he was really happy here, I swear!  Cannon had the great idea for let him play with the kinetic sand with his construction trucks.