Friday, February 9, 2018

Stacy turns four! I wish we could show more pictures, but we can't.  We had a fun day at the zoo!  We also went to McDonald's and got ice-cream (at her request) and had cake later at home.  She has gotten so many gift recently with Christmas, a big box from her Grandma, and weekly gifts from her parents that I didn't want to get more gifts.  This girl has tons!  So we opted for experiences.  Better anyway!

This girl I'm really going to miss whenever she moves on.  She's a super humble and sweet half the time and super bossy the other half.  "I can't want that!" is her favorite phrase.  It's hard to have a conversation with her because she doesn't understand some things, and doesn't know how to answer the question you asked, but she's more polite to adults than my kids in small-talk ways.  She likes to change her clothes all the time.  She has two favorite shirts; a pink and a blue, but mostly the blue.  She loves to put on pjs.  She's had some bathroom incidents and lots of showers lately.  Since takes a ton of lotion to keep her skin soft.  Otherwise she gets super dry.  Strawberries and most other fruits and vegetables (excepting bananas) make her gag.  To avoid this she'll swallow the food whole to get it over with.  That troubles me because she stuffs HUGE bites in her mouth.  We are trying to teach her to slow down and nibble rather than stuff.  She and Charlie laugh themselves crazy when they play and she's really brought him out of his shell.  She absolutely loves going to church with us.  Her favorite dress is purple with black tights and shiny black shoes.  She gets so excited to go to church.  She was in a real bad mood last Sunday and I thought I was going to lose my mind disciplining her, so finally I took her arm and we left the church to go home She was so upset about missing her class, that I had compassion and turned around and took her back.  In the midst of being terrible, she can be so sweet like that. She honestly wants good things and can feel those things at church. She mostly just wants attention and wants me to put her above all the other kids, which I can't do.  She has to take her turn like everyone else.  Sometimes she acts up to get the attention she craves.  She never wants to watch t.v. so when a show is on she'll just play.  She sings perfectly on pitch, and catch a ball better than my kids.  She's pretty neat.  She likes sitting on my lap, and she likes and helping me cook.  She never stops talking or asking questions and gets right in your face to do it which can be exhausting to deal with.  Sometimes the kids get so tired of her and can be mean to her just to get her to leave them alone, or when they see her torturing a cat they get on her case.  But these things are good for her to learn what is okay and what is not.  She always sneezes in threes, and remembers to cover her mouth when she's done.  Considering all she's gone through she is amazingly accepting of her life and resilient.  It kinda breaks my heart to think of my kids going through what she's gone through getting bounced around.  Her face has the signs of fetal alcohol syndrome and though she was never harmed, she was left neglected somewhat and lived in filthy conditions.  Nevertheless, her parents seem like good people, just people who've had hard lives and need help and have turned to the wrong things for help.  I hope they get things together.  They miss her so much.  I write back and forth with Stacy's mom weekly and know that they are trying.
Since we've had five birthdays since our foster daughter's been with us she always wants to sing and have birthday cake.  It's what I catch her playing when she's alone.  Announcement: Leia is eight!  She lost a tooth just days before her birthday too!

She wanted cheesecake, chicken and rice and gravy, peas and stuffing.  Right before her party we went and helped at a construction site for a family in need and she worked super hard in the cold!  I was proud of her and it was nice to come home to a delicious meal!

Goofy brothers.  Evan got her hair clips and a new lego set to go with her Elves lego set she got at Christmas!  We got her a huge doll-house that I found at the thrift store and four new articles of clothing for $4.00!

Here we are singing to her in primary.  I'm going to miss my presidency!  I was just released and put in nursery.

I wonder if my kids realize how much thought I put into gifts.  Almost a year ago, a friend mentioned these Anne of Green Gables Radio Theatre CD's and how much her daughters love them.  So I make a note somewhere, either in my planner or a text in this case.  Then when looking for gifts, I don't have to rely on what Google says are popular gifts for girls, I have much better ideas already planned!  The problem is finding them!  I have to go back a year in texts and notes scribbled everywhere because I remember faintly... something... and finally we find it and order it.  This is how most gifts go for me.  I write down cool ideas and then try to find them when I need them!  Then I just rely on Pat to buy them because I don't do much on the computer :)

Leia's growing up more and more.  She read all the Little House on the Praire books but one in the last month.  She now gets to go to the activities for primary girls every other week and was sooo excited!  We took cupcakes!  She keeps calling it Girl Scouts since her brothers go to scouts.  She made this cute thing her first night!

I'm so thankful for the church, and for the influence of good adults on my kids.  I know they are not so wonderful because of us alone.  If not for these opportunities to get out of their comfort zone, learn, grown, get along, and increase in self confidence and leadership, they would be quite different people.

I've been having talks with Leia about eating more carefully so food isn't all over her face, and behaving a bit more grown up (she can be wild).  She's progressing in violin slowly but surely.  If she could get control over her bladder and not have to change her clothes at least once a day because of laughter then she could get along pretty well in life.  She's excited about her baptism, and I'm excited to finally have a girl getting baptized with a white dress! So fun :)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Someone sort-of forgot my birthday and Dallas made a graft of how that went.  

I haven't written in a while...  We gave up the small office to make another bedroom for the kids and it has really thrown me off.  The place I go to to type is no more.  Now we have the computer shoved in an inconvenient place that I'm not used to.  It all feels wrong. Ughh. But I love how the office-now-bedroom turned out!  I love this color.

Now Sam and Carlos are sharing a tiny room with no closet and only partial walls, Dallas and Evan are sharing, and Leia and Stacy are sharing.  It's better for the kids at least.

Some cute Stacy hair
A cute handout from Charlie's preschool!
I keep finding these old measurements from the doctor

We were helping at a construction site a couple days ago of a mom my age with seven kids who is in serious condition at a hospital.  We were glad to help and it sure looks amazing how their house is coming together.  I'm so happy for them. They've been through so much and deserve a roomy home just for them.  

Pat's been extra busy at work, working at home for hours before he leaves, and at night for hours. Homeschooling is not going so well.  Personal fitness took a backseat because of Pat's schedule, the winter darkness, and seminary all interfering with the times I have available to exercise.  Since I talk while I work out, either with friends or with Pat, my social time has dwindled, and I've been feeling low.

I do know that the best remedy for these feelings is to look around and serve.  There are always plenty of people in far more need than I am, and that forgetting of selfish wants and desires makes me happier.

A friend has planned a "secret" day for me and Pat on Saturday in which she's taking our kids, and having us do something that she won't tell. All I can think about it how it's the only day before family comes that I have to get ready...  I don't like surprises.  But it's nice to be loved and thought of.  So we'll see what happens!

Some of my friends took me out for my birthday (and those who had also had birthdays recently too).  It was so fun to talk to other moms.  Pat teased, "Don't come home before 10pm!". I rolled my eyes, because I would surely be home hours before that.  It was after 11pm when I got home, and I woke up more energized the next morning still. One of the funniest things that night was that at this tiny low-cost restaurant we never expected any birthday favors, but all of a sudden, when we least expected it,  the entire staff came out and sang to us!  We were all surprised!  It was so unexpected! The fact that they did that, and that it wasn't just the two waitresses, but everyone you don't normally see...  dishwashers, etc...  They made our night and I think we made theirs with our reaction, ha ha.

So Leia's getting baptized and immediately following that we're having Dallas's Eagle Court of honor.  As happy as we are that these momentous occasions have come, I'd feel better if we had them planned!  I am freaking out currently, in the most dignified way I can while I wait on Pat.  We had a really nice temple trip last Saturday morning with our bishopric and wives, followed by breakfast at The Range Cafe. It was so much fun, but in the back of my head I'm always thinking of what I'm not getting done.

But I've had so much going on: practicing speech with Charlie, tons potty accidents and washing of sheets, lots of social workers here regarding Stacy, home repairs, campouts, and I have to give a talk on Sunday too!  This morning I just went back to bed to try to calm down.

At least Dallas and the kids keep me laughing.  He'll just do the dishes, or help in other ways when he can tell I'm freaking out.  Here's his chart about his need for ice-cream:

And his father's response chart:

Evan was one of the only ones who remembered my birthday.  He's now my favorite and I've changed my will, ha ha.
 The sign on the front door on my birthday by Evan.  And the lazer maze I had to crawl through, ha ha.
Pat and I did eventually get to go out for my birthday and our anniversary.  We saw the Greatest Showman and it was terrific!  I also went on a tiramisu binge.  I love the idea of that dessert, but made a Mormon version of it that's really good.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

One of the kids dropped our blender and it broke.  So we got a new one.  Just in time for a new recipe.  A cancer-killing (supposedly) smoothie.  It is made with 55% beets, 20%carrot, 20%celery, bit of radish and potato. Add some water and ice.  Because of the beets it was a beautiful red raspberry color so looked okay.  It was awful.  Dallas said the cancer would certainly go running because it wouldn't want to be in a body with that disgusting stuff in it.  We laughed and laughed as I choked it down.  Today I asked if everyone would be okay with cabbage BBQ sandwiches (where you just saute up cabbage and hit it with BBQ sauce and serve on a whole wheat bun) and scalloped potatoes for dinner.  Dallas said, "Anything, as long as it's not that cancer shake."  Ha ha

Cooking satisfying delicious meals that are also made with whole foods and plant based seems to be nearly impossible.  But it is what I strive for!  I'm glad the kids can have a sense of humor about it.

Dallas and Sam looking at my hair started mentioning the gray "wisdom hairs" as they call them.  I said to go ahead and pull some.  They were mostly all on the left side of my head for some reason.  Afterward Dallas said, "We pulled a lot, but left you enough wisdom to get by."

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Dallas cracked me up the other day...  he went to the youth New Year's dance and the next day said, "Can your head hurt from lots of dancing?"  I told him, of course, because the brain is floating in fluid encased in the skull and if you shake it around too much it's going to hurt!  Apparently this is what he did since he shakes his head around a lot.  I told him to learn some fancy footwork like Lord of the Dance to keep his head steady.  (Not really, but it cracked me up thinking about it...)

We had our neighbor Warren over for dinner on Christmas day.  I love talking to him!  Turkey dinner with all the fixin's.  My silly boy Dallas.  I found out he's been going outside at night with a light saber flashing it around in the dark, and one night Warren noticed and responded with a powerful light he has.  So it happened that a 14 year old and 60-something year old Korean war vet are flashing lights back and forth across a field in the dark of night.  Awesome.

Dallas shot up in height in the last few months and has passed me, but try finding him clothes!  He needs pants with a 28 inch waist and 32 inch height.  You won't find that in the boys section or the men's section.  Dallas is a section unto himself.  Except that it doesn't exist, and he has to wear baggy pants.

With all this growing, though, he's still his goofy wonderful self.  We were visiting friends and they asked what everyone's favorite movie was.  Without hesitation Dallas said, "Cinderella" (the one with real actors).  I couldn't tell if he was joking or serious.  Shocked, I said, "What?!  We've only seen that like twice!", to which he replied that he always watches it when we leave him home to babysit.  He was serious!  I just shook my head.  He's always a surprise and never afraid to be himself.

This girl caught something bad on her last day of preschool and spent Christmas Eve miserably sick. 
The next day she started getting better and recovered quickly.  Not so for the rest of us.  Charlie caught it next...

Us at the dinosaur museum.  Charlie was so sick and fevered.  I knew it was our only chance to do anything so we went and I mostly held him.  The kids played at a park afterwards and we had a picnic lunch and still I held him. 

HE WAS SO INCREDIBLY SICK FROM CHRISTMAS UNTIL JUST A DAY AGO.  It's been awful.  I've never seen him so bad.  High fever for 5 days, so we finally took him in and all they did is say he'd probably get better soon, so two days later we're back at the doctor again and he has an ear, eye, and sinus infection and is now on antibiotics.  He has suffered for so long... and we have hardly done anything we hoped to accomplish over the break :(   I'm glad he's finally getting better.  Slowly.  And we all got varying degrees of the sickness too.

 The sicker he got, the curlier his hair got, ha ha.

Christmas morning.  Costco had these cute matching girl/doll outfits which is what Leia is showing!

Charlie's sword.  Yesterday I saw him copying Sam with all his sword movements, even sticking the sword down the back of their shirts when not in combat.  Charlie is already a level 6 master warrior with the skills of the Force AND Earth, Fire, Water, Air martial arts.  But with this sword, he'll achieve even greater heights of combat awesomeness.
We had a great Christmas, other than being sick!

Finally got new pictures up in the living room.  In our room I'm putting up pictures through the years and have many more to nail up.  They make me happy and it protects them as they're safer here than stored in odd places. 

I forgot to mention that in December, being asked by the Stake, our ward decorated a tree and got presents for mentally challenged adults at a home.  It was a lot to ask at an already stressed-out time of year so it wasn't easy and it was communicated poorly to us (and late!) and many of us complained at having to scramble to complete this assignment.  Thankfully, it all worked out.  These people wrote down specific gifts they would like (like on a giving tree), and people in our ward took the requests one-by-one and fulfilled them and dropped them off wrapped to our mission leader.  Then a few adults and youth drove it all down to ARCA.  Pat said it was the best Christmas experience he's had in years.  Everyone felt the same.  The were just so excited.  They still believe in Santa Claus and they were jumping out of their skin excited!  I was proud of Sam because he wrapped our presents up for a lady named Barbara.  She had asked for sweat pants, and we got her a couple more things and he wrapped it all up and got to go help deliver the gifts.  These folks were so excited about the simplest things.  A Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt, a Harley Davidson motorcycle calendar.  They were lonely, and suddenly felt loved.  The boost it gave to those who helped was profoundly felt in our ward.

Sam starting to learn the $50 dollar song!!!  River Flows in You by Yiruma.  I love that song.  Sam's been so pleasant and wonderful lately.  He took me on a walk today around the hills behind our house on trails I didn't even know existed!  On Christmas Eve, however, we walked around 4 miles picking up trash along our road and he was not happy that day. But it was his contribution to earn our new kitty, and it was his turn to walk with me, and I had been noticing lots of trash, so it was the perfect storm.  We brought one big black trash bag and should have brought four!  We had to stop and ask people to donate bags so we could keep going.  Once they were full we left them tied on the side of the road and then Pat picked them up with the car later.  It was kinda bad timing since our trash was already overflowing with extra Christmas garbage and then I had all this street garbage to get rid of, ha ha.  I still need to go back and do most of the other side of the street.

I have realized that I like making nice meals and having the family all around the dinner table.  We tell jokes, we read our scriptures, usually the Book of Mormon as a family, and then we all do dinner clean together.  Due to crazy schedules in 2017 I had let this go a lot, and I don't want to anymore.  Plus then Pat can take any leftovers for lunch the next day and save money.

My friend Theresa makes these cute wooden dolls and Leia has these 8 now.  I think they're darling!
Leia's stocking loot.
Books Santa left out for us!
Twas the night before Christmas...
...eight stockings out and ready!  Wrapping presents for 6 kids is overwhelming.  Plus during the week after Christmas I'd come across gifts I'd hidden and forgot to even put out!  Trying to keep this many people straight is overwhelming.  It'd be super fun if it was my only job!
Merry, our Christmas kitty has been a fun gift.  She is terrific!

Today I finished my last thing for Christmas which was updating the addresses for sending out next years letters.  That way, it's all ready for the next year and easy as possible.  It is SO much work to send out Christmas cards, I understand why most people don't do it.  Writing a letter.  Gathering addresses.  And expensive!  But I feel like it makes a difference.  Everyday in December I go to the mailbox hoping to get a card and most often it's just bills and ads.  At Christmastime that can be extra sad. So even though it's a chore to write a letter, I know a few people who I think really appreciate it.  And since I'm doing it for them, I might as well do it for everyone!

So after I wrote the letter and Pat and I acquired the addresses, the kids helped fold, stuff, seal, write the return address, stamp, and mail them.  It really does take a team! We did about 180 cards this year (half of those being to ward members).  I may not do it next year, but at least it's all ready if I do!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Getting ready for Christmas

Going to see the gingerbread houses at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. I loved this creative yet classic one!

When your daughter does your hair

Somehow volunteered to make little loaves of bread and bags of cookies for our 20 teachers in primary and cub scouts. 

Our foster daughter's preschool performance.  We took lots of pictures and video for her parents
Melty pearler bead creations.  My kids did this for almost a week straight.  The love it!

Christmas performances

Found one of my favorite ornaments.  Because it has a picture of my Sam.

More melty bead creations.  I got this for my brother's kids before realizing he probably doesn't own an iron or ironing board.

Papa Scott and Janis got Leia and Charlie each their own subscriptions to Highlights magazine.  Charles and Evan were doing these animal movements all over the house!

The tree would not stand straight this year

Lots of cold weather and fires to warm up.  But sadly, way too warm and no snow!

One of my favorite ornaments a coworker made for me years ago at Sutter Memorial Hospital

Christmas ornaments... my mom has given us lots of these personalized gold-colored ornaments.  She used to do it every year.  Probably stopped because there's so many of us now.  Plus I don't know if they sell them anymore.

I taught the letter "M" for preschool last week.  Micky and Minnie Mouse ornaments, marshmallows, moon, milkshakes, etc.  Fun!
There's a cookie under all that blue sugar somewhere.

More melty bead stuff

Above are the ornaments he made at primary on Sunday and at preschool today at Cassidy's house!  He even learned a whole song in sign language!
We ordered 200 Christmas cards this year and I'm still working on getting some out.  Thanks to Amazon, most of our Christmas shopping is done.  But still lots to prepare.  Today the kids used some money they had been saving to adopt a kitty.  They've been sad ever since George Washington died.  Now Martha Washington is left alone.  So we named our new kitty Merry.  Merry (Mary) and Martha.  Ha ha.