Monday, October 23, 2017

I love these fun headstones for Halloween decorating (thanks to a friend who passed them along to us!).  I don't have much patience for crafting or decorating my house since that costs a lot of money and it's a small house and most every space is used so it can't have decorations on it!  At Christmastime we have to put our tree in the entryway because there's no where else to put it!  So I was glad to have fun decorations at no cost to myself and without having to work to make them.  They're pretty funny and we often see people stopped in front to read them. 

Dal has been having fun this month doing Halloween stuff.  He got to go to the haunted corn maze and barn up here with a big group of friends and also had some friends over to watch a scary movie the other night. 

And it happened.  I finally let her cut her hair.  I put her hair in a ponytail and cut it off to save for myself.  Then we took her to get it cut professionally for the first time in her life.  I kinda like it, but I think we'll try a different cut next time once her bangs get to the length of the other hair.

We went to the Nuclear Museum here in Albuquerque with the kids.  Did I mention we have a foster daughter now?  She's three years old and we've had her for a couple weeks.  I'm having to find things to do in Albuquerque because our foster daughter has to visit her parents twice weekly.  I am trying to make the best of it until we can get transportation other than myself.  It takes away half a homeschool day driving into town and that can't continue.  The kids are learning a lot of patience and so are Pat and myself.  Now that we know we will have her for a long time, we are going to put her in a preschool to give us a little break to get homeschooling done during the day.  I know it seems crazy to take on such a big responsibility at this time, and I haven't known at all how it would work out.  I knew it could be terrible!  But we started the process long before Pat was called as Bishop and feel that there is a small amount of years for us to do this and that that time is now.  It's working out okay and this little girl, for all the trouble she causes, is really sweet.  I'm not allowed to picture her, so sorry.  It's been neat to watch her though.  Watch her get used to our house, learn to play, learn to share, and learn to not pinch and bite!  She wasn't abused herself, just neglected, which is abuse really.  She's really smart though and she and Charlie have become good friends.

My week rolled around to teach preschool again and this time I had the letter "I".  Thankfully Pat ordered several books for me that went with the lesson.  We did much the same as last time except instead of doing playdough, we went on a "hike" to find Insects.  A good time was had by all the kiddos.  I never take pictures of them because I am too busy!  But they're a cute group :)

We made patterns with our inch-worms.

Sam and Evan wanting to earn money... pretty hilarious!
We finally took family pictures!!!  We had a great time and it seemed to go really well.  Even Charlie smiled!!!  I felt like these pictures were really important.  Maybe just because we hadn't done pictures since before Charlie was born.  I won't see the pictures until a week or two from now, so I hope they turned out well!!  My friend DeAnn took them for us and we had a lot of fun.  I love my family!  We took pictures in a little town called Cerrillos near where we live found this little arroyo under a bridge that was a fun place!

So much is happening daily that I could never say it all.  Right now the top five people on my phone that I text are all foster care people including a lawyer we met with for this girl.  Well, today is our music day, and I'm off to start driving kids to their lessons...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Pat wanted an easy birthday and to stay home.  I had thought to go hiking or camping overnight just the two of us and visit some hot springs or something but it was okay with me to not do that.  It had rained a ton and was wet and cold so it wouldn't have been that fun.  Plus it was conference weekend (the only time we had to celebrate) and it was nice to not have to go anywhere.  He said, "I'm just so blessed to have you.  That's all I want."  He really is the best.  I love him dearly.  He wanted simple kid food too- mac n' cheese, with breakfast sausage and canned fruit.  Cheesecake for dessert.  Here are some of the gifts he got from our kids and the card and cake from the young women at church.  They are hilarious.  It was activity night at the church on his actual birthday.  Here he is on Personal Progress night for the young women aka. Young Women in Excellence.

Leia made him a ton of butterflies

This mug, "World's Okayest Dad" cracks me up.  I thought it would be funny to decorate his office at work.
Sam and Evan bought him a ping-pong set that straps onto any table and these cards

Pat was pretty upset about how Sam depicted him in his card below.  The rest of us agreed it was pretty accurate.
Evan can't spell his name.  Leia signed her card: Love, Love.  So we're calling her Love.
Evan and Leia made our family with some help from Charles.
These people decorated the house for dad.  Including the toilet.  They made a sign that said 'BEST DAD' directly contradicting his new mug.  He'll be so confused.

We did get to go on a 5 mile walk around our house between conference sessions and talked a lot out there without kids.

 And the party...

A funny: Yesterday I saw a big spider in the kitchen, so standing on the opposite side of the kitchen I I screamed pointed for Pat to come and kill it.  He simply smashed it with his fist which made me scream in horror for about a minute at the thought of squishing something like that with my bare hands.  Wow it gave me the heebie jeebies!  But thankful that he took care of it!

I am reminded continually of how much he takes care of.  I may teach the kids at home, but he searches for and purchases the curriculum, makes the copies to get me all set up (since the copy store is in Albuquerque), and teaches the math to everyone and supports all of us.  I may have to drive all over every day to get the kids to sports, lessons, activities and errands, but he earns the money for us to be able to even do those things and have those freedoms and he tries to be at as much as he can.  I may have to do a lot of the house work but I am useless in financial matters and computer matters.  If I was living on my own I wouldn't know how to work a phone, t.v., computer or most appliances sadly.  He helps me to navigate my schooling and helps me to understand my school work and just adores me for doing it.  And I may look hideous at the end of the day and feel like shutting myself away in a sanctuary with chocolate and the TV, but he always tells me how wonderful I am; and amazing and beautiful.  He kind of stalks me. *smile* 

Meet the newly licensed foster care parents
He waters my plants that are way too high for me to reach, even though he hates it, because he knows I love them.  He changes the oil in my car.  He wants to buy me whatever I want, even if it is out of our budget (which is actually a flaw- but lucky for him he married a pretty frugal person!)  He is as excited (and maybe scared) as I am about becoming foster parents, an idea that he knew I was always interested in, but now that it's time, he has embraced wholeheartedly.  What I like best about him is that he lets me be who I want to be and supports me and has never been embarrassed or ashamed of something I tried to do, even if it did turn out badly.  Like when I make strange dinners or when I broke into song right in the middle of a sacrament talk, or started a music group, or had to fit the food for Girl's Camp into a too-small mini-van , or signed us up for crazy amounts of things, or wanted to start a business, or participate in shenanigans with friends, or how I want to move to Chile...  He just supports.  He doesn't talk bad about people.  (Maybe this isn't hard for him since he doesn't talk much. Ha).

I came into this marriage with a lot of baggage from my life growing up.  It didn't seem like it.  I felt fine.  In fact when we were married I was WAY more outgoing than him.  In our singles ward I saw him as kind of a nerd.  He didn't get along with the guys I hung out with.  He's just so different.  But after losing our first daughter before we'd been married even a year, I plunged into depression and anxiety and suddenly he was the one handling anything social because I just couldn't.  I've never fully recovered from that, because you never recover from having lost a child.  Plus so many other miscarriages at different stages of gestation.  Having kids has been my greatest joy but also greatest pain.  Opposition in all things perhaps.  It has brought up so much hurt as I realized for the first time in my life the things that I had missed out on in my childhood as I watched Pat with the kids.  I thank God for my upbringing and know that He worked everything together for my good in the end; but that doesn't mean it never hurt.  I always wished I had an amazing dad who just adored me and was my best friend.  Perhaps that's why some of us girls love dumb books like Twilight.  I'm so glad my kids have such a wonderful dad and hope they will live lives of gratitude and make the most of their lives.  I lived with a lot of fear, timidness, and anger growing up which I understand now looking back at my circumstances.  Nevertheless I know in whom I have trusted.  I grieve the loss of youth and innocence.  You can't be carefree when you have to be grown up from a very young age.  Nevertheless I have been enormously blessed in my life and Pat is foremost in those blessings.  I hope my kids will adopt the happy, easy going, caring attitude of their father, and the determination of both their parents to rely on the Lord.  The world needs more of that.

At Pat's work they just did a detailed Personality/Strength finder test and they told Pat he was the first one at his place of employment to ever score high in Positivity as one of his strengths.  This place has thousands of wonderful employees!  (His lack of worrying and positivity sometimes annoys me when he can't understand why I'm so worried about something, but at least it makes for a nice balance).  Happy Birthday you handsome awesome dude!  I love you.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Chickpea omelete with zucchini, salsa, and tomatoes.  This has been a favorite breakfast of mine for 2 years.
Starts out looking like this.
And before that, this.

We had this baby deer stuck in our yard for around five hours.  Whenever we thought the mother had abandoned it, she'd make a reappearance but was unable to help.  We spent a lot of time trying to herd it out the gate but it would just go crazy and start crashing it's face into the fence.  Eventually, after trying lots of things, we charged at it and in it's fear it got over and it took off running through the neighborhood (no where near it's mother).  Hope it finds its way home.  We've had a ton of deer for the last two years, but have not seen the coyotes in most of that time.  Now the coyotes are making a reappearance; we see and hear them all the time.

Charles finished his first set of preschool books!  He's a super smart dude and if very proud of himself.  His brothers helped him a lot.  They call each other 'dude'.  He's also been talking more and even says his part in the primary program!  Everyone says that he's a totally different person.  He sang all the songs too with all his heart.  I think it's helped having me focusing on him more.  He certainly is growing up!  I can tell he's ready for music lessons, but what instrument, and with what time?
He renames everything, which I find to be hilarious.  Our cat George was called Cecil, Skittles, Boar, Codrick, etc.  Martha has been Mardue, Marblah, etc.  He calls the chickens Pips.  "You're a good pip!", he tells them.

This girl never stops reading!  She told me, "Mom, I'm done with this section of the library because the books are too little for me."  Now she's book-shopping in the same section as her older brothers.  I feel kind of sad about this.  And whenever we get books for her, I want to read them with her first, but when I get to it, she's already read them :(  We did recently finish the first three Betsy-Tacy books.

Preparing for her violin recital

She's such a bossy girl.  She'll tell her teacher, "I'm already good at my rhythms so we don't need to practice them anymore", or "this is the last thing we have to practice".

After her surgery, as the doctor was saying goodbye to her where she lay, and she bossed him by interrupting and saying, "You forgot to take off all this"- meaning her IV and all the tape.  He just smiled and left because the nurses do that.  I'm always saying, "Leia!" kind of like a groan because it embarrassing.  Part of why I wanted to homeschool her is to get to know her way of thinking and see if I can correct any missed connections.  She is so completely different from me and I really don't understand the things she does sometimes.

It's sunflower time in New Mexico!!!  And chili roasting time!  And corn.  And beans.  And the pumpkin patch and haunted corn maze!  Yes, it's that time of year.  And the primary program!

Pat has been gone A LOT and sometimes these two go to sleep in my bed.  When Pat gets home and moves them to their bed she always talks in her sleep and says things like, "Dallas, stop pushing me!", or "Sam, stop!", or "Evan no!".  You think her brothers annoy her?  She always uses such big words like, "The brothers are disturbing me", which sounds cute in her high voice.

Even though she reads all the time, she doesn't always get the words right.  The other day I told her not to fold down the pages in her new book and she said, "I know what I'll do!  I'll go get a question mark!"  (she meant a bookmark).

She came to me talking about a book she just read, "The value of Tennessee".  I was so confused that there would be a book with that title!  Then we figured it out:

She can say anything correctly if she slows down, but most of the time she talks so fast and her tongue gets in the way and she is hard to understand.

Here she is playing her first song at her recital!  This was a hard day for me.  I'm glad she did well.

Leia's first song at a recital

Leia's hair is getting so long and beautiful!  She wants to cut it because of the tangles so we've been keeping it braided while I think if I can handle cutting it.  This leave-in conditioner saves us from lots of pain and tears while combing her hair. (a tip from my friend Julie).

Sadly her spiral curls have gone away as it's gotten thicker.  Now it's just wavy- not as much as mine- but a little.  I don't think her hair will ever be thick like mine.  I'm curious to see how long it will grow.  I've always wondered why mine only gets to a certain length and then stops growing.  I thought maybe it was split ends, but even when I trim regularly it doesn't help much.  Then a friend was telling me that everyone's hair has different lengths of life before it falls out.  So some people can grow hair to their feet and others only to their ears.  Interesting.  I wonder what hers will do.  Grandma Brenda's hair grows really long!

More XC- this meet was in Belen.

Their most recent meet was at the fancy schmancy Academy school in Albuquerque.  A school so big I couldn't even find the runners.  That school seriously has everything.  I'd only need $10,000 per kid per year to go there.  Sam's pretty fast.  They all did okay.  Dallas's old shoes finally died.  They made it almost a whole year! The top completely tore off and he got a foot full of dirt while he was running.

After church Dallas said, "Mom, can I put on a conference?"
I said, "Sure.  Maybe the Sunday afternoon from the last conference?"
He said, "How about the Women's Conference Session from yesterday?"

Oh yeah!  I had forgotten I'd missed it because I had to go to Leia's recital.  I'm so thankful for him always inspiring me to be better. 

Last of all, after the primary program, Bishop got to speak and then he came in to tell the kids what a wonderful job they did.  They really did great.  They wrote their own parts and really sang with their hearts.  However, betrayed by his own son (Evan), it was made known that his birthday is coming up and since it's General Conference next week, he got sung to!  Surprise!

Leia had a chapter on table manners in her Health book.  You can guess she took this seriously.  It was good advice like pausing before saying Amen and pausing before eating.  Also no elbows, chew with mouth closed, pass to the left, etc.  But the funny one was to dress for dinner.  I told them our ancestors used to do that!  Come out all dapper with their hair combed and suits on and such. 

Then the next night it happened.  Pat was still in his suit for church, and the rest of the boys ran and got dressed for dinner. 
Notice the napkins, the dabbing of the mouth, the pinky finger up while drinking tea.  Uh oh!  Evan's elbows are on the table!
They tried to do it again the next night but I don't want them to ruin their suits!
Off to the primary program!

Sam took these and it was way too sunny!