Tuesday, April 28, 2009

This is why we do it

If you're a church-going mom, I guarantee you've been at church with your baby/toddler and asked yourself "Why do I bother?"

You're walking the halls with a screaming child, missing class to nurse or change diapers, spending all of the meeting time snapping your fingers at your kids, shooting them dirty looks, or finally just giving in. You clean up the cheerios, crayons, toys, sippy cups and haul the kids out to the mother's lounge, the lobby, or even home.

Your Sunday mornings are an insane battle of breakfast, dressing everybody in their finest, changing diapers, getting the quiet bag/diaper bag ready, changing diapers again, finding shoes (why does one always go missing on Sunday morning?), finding scriptures, loading in the car, remembering last minute things and finally getting to church just in time to snag a seat in the over flow.

You wonder who actually gets a "day of rest" on Sunday.

But then...it's a weekday night and your husband says he'll be home for family scriptures and prayer, but he doesn't make it til 3 of the 4 kids are already sleeping. So you and your husband go to the bed of your 7 year old son. He's up reading and he smirks at you when you tell him you're having scripture/prayer with just him since everyone else is sleeping.

You flip open the scriptures and ask him what his favorite is. "Is it still Enos?" He replies, "I like Enos, but I don't want to read that tonight. I want to read D&C 25 verses 11-16. It's about the hymns and I love the hymns." Your heart melts into a puddle right then and there while you listen to your oldest son not only read to you about the hymns but tell you a bit of the back story.

When you ask where he learned about this he responds, "in primary."

And then you know, this is why you deal with it every week. This is why you keep going every Sunday. This is what it's all about.

Monday, April 27, 2009

My itty bitty pritty one

is turning one!

and she knows she's pretty. See?

We had a little impromptu photo shoot yesterday and that was just one of the gems!

I can't believe it's almost been a year! How time flies...

I love that she crossed her feet.

Milestones at a year.
-eats whatever I'll let her have. She's taking her sweet time getting teeth (she currently has 2 1/2) so I'm still a little choosy in what I let her eat.
-army crawls most of the time, but can crawl on all fours when she feels like it.
-pulls herself up on anything and cruises.
-let's go and can stand unsupported until she realizes that she is unsupported, then she sits down real quick like.
-walks while pushing things. My computer chair, baskets, boxes.
-says mama, dada, byebye, nae-nae (Nathan), nana (night night), and hi.
-signs 'more', nods 'yes', waves and mimics talking on the phone.
-blows kisses

I don't know her current stats...I should probably schedule her well baby checkup.


If you knew Nathan a year ago you never in a million years would have thought he'd be competing in a karate tournament.

Since he was born he's had sensory issues. Loud noises, tags on his shirts, bright lights, etc all bothered him more than the average person. He also had some issues with motor skills. He was (and is) very smart, but in pre-school he couldn't jump with both feet off the floor. He would get those motor skills, just a bit more slowly than average.

Enter karate.

There was a demo at his school a little over a year ago. They offered a free class and white belt and an opportunity to break a board. So, we went. All the kids loved it, but Nathan wanted to sign up. We had a long discussion about commitment and finishing what you start, etc. He agreed so we forked out the dough.

When he started, he had a hard time. He was very shy and quiet and timid and uncoordinated. He'd tip over when he stood on one foot. He didn't yell the kiai, he had a hard time getting certain moves. He wanted to quit several times, but I didn't let him because of the whole commitment thing.

Fast forward a year and the change is remarkable! He has balance! He actually competed in a tournament. He was super nervous, but he handled it. He remembered his forms (routines) and his sparring was great. He was quick and aggressive. Outside of karate, his personality is blossoming. He's coming out of his shell. He's still "the silent ninja" but he's improving. He looks people in the eye, he's respectful and kind and polite, he's not terrified to stand up in front of people at church or school or to compete in front of a crowd in karate.

I'm so proud of him!

Self defense form.

Nunchucks form.

And sparring. This was exciting. He won his first round 3-1.

The second round was a little tougher. He was fighting for 3rd place at this point (out of 9 kids) and he really fought hard.
Look at how well he blocked that kick!

He got pretty intense in this round.

He ended up losing the 2nd round 3-2 putting him in 4th place by 1 point. Here he is with his medal. :)

Way to go, Nathan!

Kool-aid: The drink of champions

Okay, maybe I shouldn't go quite that far, but I do have a point.

This morning Gabe asked if he could have some kool-aid. He'd already filled a pitcher with water and wanted to know what was next. I pulled out a packet of kool-aid powder and out of curiosity glanced at the ingredients.

Citric Acid. Okay, that's fine.
Maltodextrin. Googled it, not the best, but not the worst.
Calcium Phosphate. Okay.
then artificial flavors, colors and vitamin C.

There's what? A tablespoon or so of this powder.

The sweetener? A cup of sugar.

Then I got to thinking. What do I see kids drinking all the time? Capri-suns! After soccer games, at school lunches, running around at the park. It seems to be the convenience drink of choice.

And what is it's main ingredient? High Fructose Corn Syrup.

So what's worse? A little googling tells me that "using HFCS instead of pure sugar can make the soda 10 times richer in harmful carbonyl compounds." But what it comes down to is how our body processes these sweeteners and our bodies much prefer to process plain old sugar over the insanely processed HFCS which actually forces our liver to kick out extra fat into the blood stream.

So...since we have to keep sugary drinks around for Dave's diabetes and since my kids inevitably want to drink them occasionally and since I'm pretty good at making them drink water the majority of the time...I have decided. Kool-aid wins!

I think I'll start a revolution.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Easter pictures

A little catch up.

Easter this year was at my parents house. We were in town for a wedding so we got to enjoy our egg gravy tradition together this year! The kids were a little worried because we forgot to bring their easter baskets. They were afraid the Easter Bunny wouldn't know where to go.

Luckily the Easter Bunny is BRILLIANT and she realized the kids all needed new bike helmets. Voila! Easter Helmets!

Then Grandma sponsored the fairest easter egg hunt ever. The kids all had 6 eggs in their own color, stuffed with personalized items. Happiness all around!

Apparently I'm in video mode...

This is Gabe and his bff. I was watching his friend the other day and looked out the window and witnessed this little game they were playing. I asked Gabe about it and he said they were playing "go down the slide and hit each other with the ball". So, basically, exactly what it looks like.

They played this for a good 15 minutes, and I kept looking out the window and laughing when it occurred to me to it needed to be recorded for posterity...and, you know, the internet.

Gabe helped me make the video. It was a bit of a chore finding the music. I could hear what I wanted but didn't know what it was called. So, I was looking up circus music, clown music, and variations on the theme in writing...which is rather difficult.

The phrase "doot-doot-doodle-oodle-oot-doot-do-do" finally found what I was looking for.

So, if you ever need this music for something, save yourself the trouble and write this down. It's called Thunder and Blazes. (Never would have guessed that).

Anyway, it's a big hit. And the kids keep asking when I'm going to submit it to America's Funniest Videos.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Not one to be left behind...

You might have to click play a few times.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The sweetest thing

I just love this girl. (you might have to click play a few times before it'll work...I've been having issues with videos on photobucket lately.)

And it came to pass...

The phrase "And it came to pass" is found 1381 times in the Book of Mormon.

Apparently Gabe has picked up on this.

It was his turn to read tonight and I always just have him repeat the words after me.

But tonight it went like this.

Me: Okay, Gabe, it's your turn.
Gabe: Okay. And it came to pass...what?

Laughter all around.

It would have been even funnier if his verse today actually started that way. But it didn't. We read the beatitudes.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The zoo

We ended Spring Break at the zoo with a few of the kids' cousins. The rain finally stopped and it was a beautiful day!

I think Gabe might have liked it. A little. Maybe. What do you think?

Nathan made a little goaty friend. I can't even tell you how excited I was to have gotten this shot. It's just so....Nathan.

And they have just about the coolest playground ever.

We came home the next day. We all had a blast on our trip, but of course they were SO excited to see Daddy again and vice versa! This shot expresses it, I think.

There's nothing like home.


The next stop of our spring break was in Portland. This day was a bit of an indulgence for myself. Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

Voodoo Doughnuts.

The only place in the world that Voodoo Doughnut exists is in Portland. And since Seattle was only 3 hours away from the best donuts on the planet, I figured my kids would survive a little more time in the car.

I rewarded them though and we started the day at OMSI (the Portland Science Center). They had a blast in the ball room (imagine an enclosed room with millions of bouncy balls, tubes to roll them through, spinning rackets to throw them at, vacuum tubes, shooting tubes, etc, etc) and then we went over to the static electricity thing where they made pie tins fly.

And over to the water tables...

I got to spend the time while they played chatting with friends.

Then we headed over to my reason for going to Portland in the first place!

And I finally got my donuts! Gabe likes glazed donuts and he picked one out that was bigger than his head. Sadly, I didn't get a picture of it. I had a pimped out fritter. It was a huge banana fritter with chocolate, peanut butter and chocolate chips. Holy yum.

Nathan was ridiculously excited about the vintage bubble hockey. He played it with my friends son for most of the time we were there.

There was pinball, a jukebox, funky chairs...my kids had a blast while I chatted with friends.

We hit the mall after that and wandered around (we had originally planned to go to the beach, but it was pouring rain) then went to my Aunt's house to spend the night. The next morning was back up to Seattle for a low key day of visiting friends and I did a photo shoot in the pouring rain that was very fun.


uh...do you see this rain? Can we stop yet?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Is this a song?

Gabe's been playing it and it sounds familiar but I don't know what it is or where he picked it up at. Or maybe he made it up...I don't know!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Although I lived in the Seattle area for 8 years, I really didn't go downtown all that often. In fact I still havn't seen the Fremont Troll even though I keep meaning to. Maybe next time!

I decided to take the kids over to Seattle after we went to Leavenworth. Dave had to come home and work and I wasn't really looking forward to being stuck at home with all the kids for a week of no school so I planned this little trip. A week or 2 before, I found out my good friend, Kristi, would be home alone all spring break so I invited her. She was able to fly in on Tuesday and hung out with us for the rest of the week. It was nice to have a helping hand and a friend along to talk to!

So, the kids and I drove along hwy 2 from Leavenworth and I decided those little hidden away highways are the best! Dave and I drove hwy 1 down the coast for our honeymoon and it was beautiful. Hwy 2 didn't disappoint either. The mountains and rivers and trees and quaint little towns...it was stunning!

We got into town and had dinner and Family Home Evening with Dave's mom then headed to my friends RV where we spent the nights. After that we had something planned every day!

We started in Seattle on Tuesday. I'd been promising the kids a trip to the space needle for a while so we went there first.

Gabe loved the elevator to the top. I tried to get a picture of him with his face pressed against the glass as we shot up, but it was too crowded.

The view was great, though, and the kids loved going around and looking in all the telescopes.

After getting off the elevator right into the gift shop and rushing the kids through in order to keep them from breaking everything in there, we had lunch at the Seattle Center and discussed what we'd do next. I gave the kids a choice. Walk down to the water front and go to the aquarium or go to the children's museum right there inside the Seattle Center.

They chose the walk.

I kinda steered us wrong, though. I went in the right general direction, but I could have gone a much straighter path. I also completely forgot that the monorail existed.

The first hour of walking wasn't so bad. I was enjoying myself and it was a very nice day!

We saw some fun things.


Pretty views...

Daffodils in garbage cans...(I loved this! I want to do it at my house.)

The boys loved the ship wheels. Aria, on the other hand, loved nothing at this point. She was miserable from all the walking.

Finally we made it to the aquarium. Only to find out it was closed.

Oh, the tears.

Luckily, by this point we remembered that the monorail existed. We took the elevators up to the top of Pike's market, visited the gold pig, and walked to the mall to meet the monorail.

On the monorail.

We made it back to the RV for a good night sleep and headed to Portland the next day...


Our Spring Break began with a little family get together in Leavenworth, WA. If you've never been, put it on your list of places to go! It's so dang cute and yummy.

You can walk one direction and see this.

Turn and walk the other way to enjoy this.

And then there's the food.

I'm a sucker for pastries.

Everybody loved the caramel apples.

And the gelato, the meat sticks, sausages, etc, etc...there was some sort of dried meat called Spike that Gabe wanted to eat all weekend. He loved it.

The kids were enchanted by fun things like pretzel trees.

Buddy the horse.

Street performers. (Power und Beauty)
Jovie tried to steal their money. lol

and The Hat Shop.

You don't even want to know how appropriate this hat is for Gabe.

The big kids even got a date night thanks to Mom and Dad!