Monday, November 19, 2012

Thankful Tree

Thankful tree.  The leaves are decorations I gathered after a youth dance, and the green thing on top with blue tape says, "I'm thankful for..."
I was going through all the kids clothes and discovering yet again that every pair of their pants has gigantic holes in the knees, and a couple of them need coats, shirts, sweaters, and shoes, etc. 

So yesterday Pat asked his carpool buddy, our neighbor Mike, for advice of good thrift stores in Albuquerque, since the ones I frequent up here in the mountains have been bare lately.  And on his lunch break he went and got three bags of clothes for all of us totaling a bit over $60.  Yikes!  Thrift stores are expensive!  But I thought it was really sweet.

When he got home and told me, my first reaction was caution, because HE wouldn't know what to buy!  I mean, he doesn't know their sizes.  I just knew that half of that money would be wasted on clothes that were not right. 

But it turns out he did pretty good!  Evan now has two pairs of pants that fit perfectly.  Sam has one.  Dallas has two and a coat (which we still have yet to decide if it's for a girl or boy, but since we can't figure it out, we hope no one else will).  Leia has two coats that fit her perfectly! And some new shirts, sweaters, and pj's.  Pat has a couple new shirts- I haven't seen them on him, so I don't know if I like them yet.  And he even got me a skirt and two pairs of pants- none of which work- but it was a sweet gesture. I only have one pair of pants that fit, and he was trying to get me more, and I love him for it.  He told me that he was the most nervous picking out stuff for me. It's not his fault that they only had what they had.

Last night for Family Night we made a thankful tree, and the kids all did a wonderful job of naming things they are thankful for and writing them on the leaves.  Pat made only one leaf and it said, Karisa.

Another ultrasound today, and everything is looking great!  I am so happy!  I am frustrated with how many ultrasounds they want me to have since they are so expensive, but they need to make sure that the baby is growing and if not, it's a sign that there's probably a blood clot in the placenta, at which point, I don't know what they would do, nor will I think one more thought about it!  All six of us were there today for the appointment.  The kids got to see their little brother, who really likes to cover his face with his hand, and we went and saw a play afterward.  Pretty good day!   I am very excited to meet this amazing boy!
We were invited to a birthday party for Dallas's friend Micah.  They asked the whole family to come.  And they had invited two other families over.  The funny thing about it was that each of the four families there had had a whole bunch of boys and then a girl at the end.  15 boys between us and 4 girls.  I have seen so many families like ours that I know Heavenly Father has a reason for all these boys. (All kids not pictured.)
Healthy pancakes from my sil Sunny.  They are really good, but made with a lot of egg whites.  I have such a hard time throwing away good egg yolks and wasting food like that.  And the whites are the part I'm more allergic to, darnit!

Turkeys from Grandma. Sam helped Leia with hers.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Funny things from last weekend

I don't get to blog a lot but there were a couple of tiny conversations this weekend that had me busting up inside and I thought I'd share:

While doing our scripture study on Sunday we were reading the part where Captain Moroni and Ammaron are exchanging letters and Moroni says that he'll keep fighting the Lamanites until they sue for peace.  Karisa asked the boys if they knew what "sue" meant in this context.  No one did so Karisa explained that it meant to beg or plead.  Then the following was said:

Karisa:  You guys have a vocabulary word this week that means something similar, does anyone remember what it is?
Evan: Megabeg!

If you were curious the word was grovel.  Of course Evan had to shout Megabeg while hopping around on his knees like some kind of bug that helped show off his excitement that he knew the answer.

After the boys were in bed Karisa was doing something on the couch, I don't remember exactly but Leia was sitting next to her.  Lei looked up from the book she was reading and this conversation took place:

Leia:  ME!!!!!!!
Karisa, a puzzled look on her face:  You?
Leia:  Yes!

At that point Leia looked back down at her book, apparently having said everything she needed to.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Everthing is turning brown(er) and yesterday we had our first snow of the year!  Beautiful fresh air and white everywhere!

Sam begs me to get this cereal every time we go to the store.  He also has been begging his dad for months.  Which one of us caved?  Pat.  He's such a softie.  I told him I thought it would have been a great Christmas present and now he ruined it since he's such a pushover!  Sam's happy though.  He was convinced he would like these, and he was right.

I FINALLY got a couple of ponytails out of Leia's hair.  Now how do you keep her from pulling them out after 5 minutes?

I have some future spies in my house.  Why are they all sitting in my bed laughing?  Because Sam figured out the password to my ipad again!  He's got quick eyes! 
Some of our favorite games to play as a family are:
1)Chasing each other around the park- Tag- like it's life or death.
2)Playing 'Don't wake the Lion'
3)Playing Hide and Seek, especially in the dark with a flashlight
4)Playing Duck, Duck, Goose
5)Having Dance contests.  Whenever a good song comes on at home or in the car then two or more of us will have a dance contest.  Whichever boy isn't dancing, does points.  I have no idea what their judging criteria is, or how the points are awarded, all I can say is that I'm awesome and usually win.  Mostly though, that's probably due to the fact that they don't want Dad to win, or one of their brothers.
6)Making burritos.  This is pictured below.  Dad wraps the kids up as tight as he can, tucking the blanket as much as he can and then they have to get out of it.  It's funniest when he picks them up and sticks them between a wall and a couch so that they can't unroll easily.  They have to inch worm out of the tight spot first.

This week was somehow busier than last, and though I won't go into the gory details, I'll just say I spent at least 30 hours on my calling.  Temple, phone calls, emails, meetings, shopping, making crafty stuff, multi-stake dance, making invitations to the stake auxiliary meeting, and here I am making cookies for the ward conference in town yesterday, for the young women and their leaders.  After this month I hardly have anything for the next two months, so that's good.  I did have fun talking with everyone while we chaperoned the dance.  It was like finally we weren't in a meeting and could just chat.  I really admire the ladies I get to work with!

For the record, we would all like getting a cute crafty, 'scrapbooky' handout attached to a delicious cookie, right?  But I dislike wasting time on stuff like this.  I just think it's unnecessary.  A waste of time and church money when it's the Spirit that matters. And giving out sugar is evil- even though I eat it- it's so bad for us, so the less temptation the better! But I wasn't at the meeting when I was assigned this, and since I wasn't doing anything else...  I gave in... but oh despair!  I've now eaten too too many of these cookies!  They are so delicious!  And I feel like crap.
Pat was just released as eq President, I think he had that calling for about 5 years, and called into the young men's presidency.  We were hoping that would wait a couple years until Dallas was in there, but no.  This calling is much busier since it involves campouts, scouting, Sunday lessons and weekday evenings.  I think he'll do great.  He's taught kids this age before, and I think Pat is a great teacher.  He never judges anyone, or gets offended, and I can see that it will be good.  Just a little worried about having him for even less time, when I already feel like I miss him all the time.
Lastly, want to say how proud I am of all my kids.  We had a parent teacher conference with Evan's teacher Ms. Wilson, and she told me how amazed she is that he's picking up everything so well even though he started the school year almost 2 months late.  Evan recited a poem too, one he memorized at home, called The Puffin, and was able to say it in front of half the school at flag ceremony.  He did terrific, and felt very proud since it's one that Pat recited when he was young and it's kind of long.  Anyway, Ms. Wilson sat and talked with us for an HOUR, and I kept expecting another appointment to arrive, or for her to start pushing us out, but we genuinely enjoyed each other and just had a great talk, and she was happy to answer all our questions.  She was a kindred spirit, and I'm so glad Evan got her.    When Dallas was in school for first grade it was never like that.  I think the difference is the school.  This charter school is a blessing.  I often wonder why I put him in school just because it's one more thing to do each day, but I felt so grateful after that meeting.  I think things happened the way they did for a reason, and next year my other two boys will be caught up, so that if we feel led to put all three in next year, it will work.

Yesterday the boys also participated in the primary program at church.  My three boys sang a verse of a song together (they volunteered to do it!), and did well on their speaking parts, sang well, (Dallas gets the award for loudest person in the building again and he had a sty on his eye that was really bothering him so he had that eye pinched shut and looked like a pirate while he sang), and Dallas even played a song for the other kids to sing along to- Stand for the Right.  During one song I noticed that Evan's eyes were closed the whole time.  After church he told me, "Mom, I know Nephi's Courage so well I can even sing it with my eyes shut!"
Our primary tried to use the talents of several children, and it was a great program!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

All in a weeks work!

Sometimes I feel the need to write down what I did in a week.  I don't know why... I don't think I'm any busier than other mom's out there.  I may perhaps be much less busy.  But sometimes I think, when all my kids are gone, will I even remember anymore what it was like?  And you know how they say that sometimes we are so busy with good things that we don't make time for the most important things?  Yeah, that's true.  I wouldn't have wanted to cut out anything I did this week, but I do wish I'd had made more time to focus on school work, scriptures, exercise, and my husband.  Not necessarily in that order.  Oh, and you can't do this much, and be busy growing a baby, without something suffering.  For weeks it's been my house.  I don't need a bigger house for my family!  I need a bigger house for a live in maid!

So these are some of my activities this week, kind of from the beginning of the week to the end:

1)Finished up this season of soccer.  Must remember that although playing soccer is pretty cheap compared to every other sport, once you add in the gas and time and snacks and gifts for the coaches, etc, it still adds up and we are always so glad when it's finished!  None of the other parents were putting anything together this year to thank the coaches (maybe they just didn't know) so I felt it fall on me.  Otherwise the coaches volunteer all of that time and don't get recognized or thanked for it at all.  So I got cards, and got everyone to sign, and got everyone to pitch in $5, for a gift card so the coach could go out to dinner or something, and got the gift cards!  Whew!  Done again with soccer!
I only got a good picture of Sam this year.  Evan was on his same team, and Dal was on the yellow team.
2)Carpool:This week it was my turn to carpool Evan and some friends to school.  It's about a 1 hour round trip, twice a day for drop off and pick up.  Whew!  One week down!

Sam's gruesome accident where he got his leg sucked into a running golf cart.  It's got to have been a couple months and it's still trying to regrow skin.  Poor Sam!
3)Piano practice and lessons.

4) Birthday gifts: Two of the members of my presidency had birthdays this week and I had a small window of time one day, so I went to Costco and got some flowers and me and the other presidency member, Sharon, made some spooky bouquets of flowers and candy and dropped them off.  (I bought the stuff and then showed up at Sharon's house and luckily she's crafty and put them together in a cute way.  I'm not good at that stuff.)   

I tried snapping my fingers like Mary Poppins, but Leia's room stayed the same.

5)Got all the kids haircuts since we are taking family pictures this Saturday, and picked up some stuff needed for Halloween costumes.  So much work coming up with ideas!

6)I made it to my doctor appointment, and so far so good!  Doctor said he's going to try to deliver me 2 weeks early because of my lupis inhibitor(sp?) blood clotting issue that comes and goes.  So another February baby!

7)I even did some hasty arranging to be able to go to the temple with Pat in the morning before my doctor appointment.  It was my New Years resolution to go each month, and so far haven't missed.  It was so worth it.  And it wouldn't be possible if nice people at church didn't help with watching the kids.  To make it happen, I had to wake up at 5am to make breakfast's and lunches for everyone and then drop Evan off an hour early at Chantelle's for school and drop the rest off at Liz's house with their food at 7am, to make it to the temple to meet Pat by 8am, and then to my doctor appointment by 10:30am and then back home to pick up the kids by about 1pm. 

I hate it when there are so many dishes, you don't even know where to start!

8)Tuesday night I attended a special night for the young women in one of the congregations (wards) in Albuquerque.  It was lovely.  Have another one this Sunday!  I love these!  While I was gone Pat and the kids carved pumpkins and when I got home I toasted the seeds.  I love toasted pumpkin seeds!

9 -10)Homeschooling/Sewing: Schooling is just an everyday given for us.  But this Wednesday I did homeschooling while simultaneously sewing a witch dress for Leia.  I didn't measure anything I just cut out the shape of a witch dress out of two pieces of material and sewed around the edges by hand and when Leia woke up from her nap, we tried it on, and thankfully it fit!

Training her up to be my Cinderella!
11)Cleaned out Leia's clothes that she's grown out of and washed all the rest of her clothes and organized them.  Got out clothes I'd bought at a thrift store a couple years ago for her since they fit now.  Went through all my clothes and stored away all my non-pregnancy ones, and hung up and organized all the pregnancy clothes. 

12) Took family pictures.  Had to go to Walmart and get clothes so we could "go together", and so that they didn't have to wear stained old clothes.  Luckily Walmart had a sale and we got all the shirst for $1-4 dollars!  The  pants cost more.  Then getting everyone's fingernails clipped, ears cleaned, showered and shampooed, and ironed and dressed.  By the time everything was said and done it was a full days work, taking family pictures.

14)One night was spent at a 4-H meeting that we had to prepare stuff for.  Pat went while I stayed home with two sick ones.  We were also supposed to go to a meeting this week with the President of Hillsdale College and hear him speak at the ribbon cutting for Evan's school, but we just had too much to do!

15)Building a gate.  We put in a fence when we moved in, but it's never had a gate, so if you wanted to get to the back yard you had to go through the house, and our dog would often escape.  So we're finally making a gate!

16)Finally, I really needed to get some groceries and a food menu planned, but that never happened so we'll be heading out Monday!  We did vote though!  Also, I really need a date!  Week after week keeps going by with no chance for one!

Someone in our house is addicted to band-aids, and swears she and everything else needs them.  No matter what I do she finds them.  She is also STILL potty training so when you need to use the bathroom, you have to wade through a sea of toilet paper scraps that she just threw on the floor for fun, and be careful not to trip over her stool and potty seat.
Well that was fun. If you actually read all of that, I'm sure you're wondering why.  Hey, sometimes I just gotta get it out.  It helps me to evaluate what I should cut out, or do differently, and it's like telling a friend, and releasing some stress.  Thanks friend!  And for the record, we aren't the neatest people, but I can't stand it when my house is that messy.  It's just with Pat being out of town so much lately, and me feeling ready for bed by 7pm... only so much happens.  We actually got A LOT of work done on it this weekend. Still, I need a double weekend.  Glad at least that we got an extra hour of sleep last night!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween Fun

Every year our homeschool group goes to the pumpkin patch for the school discount prices.  McCall's is a great pumpkin patch!
Some of the Hooper boys and my boys
First we have a hay ride to go pick out pumpkins!

Dal got a cool one with warts all over it.  Sam has a very orange face and long nose.

Forts, slides, mazes, and dozens of other things to do here.  Leia and Pat in the corn box.
As far as costumes go, Sam had to be Darth Maul this year and spent his own money (that people had given him on his baptism) to do it.  Face paint, light saber, and cape.  Total $25.00.  He wore his own black clothes underneath.  Seems pretty perfect fit for him!
Dallas wanted to be something dead, and had a great time in this costume.  I was lucky to find it for $15 dollars on sale the day before Halloween.  We had looked at three different thrift stores, and never found anything useful.  Just a lot of junk.  Bad luck this year with thrift stores!  He mentioned maybe being a zombie or something, but I was glad he was something fun.  I'm not really into the gruesome stuff, and Dallas is such a happy kid, it fit his personality better.  'Dem bones, 'dem bones, gonna walk around!
The Witch!  We had a witches hat and the tights, and I hastily cut out and sewed the dress- luckily I had black material!  She had to have her black cat, and cauldron (which we luckily already had too).  She was so stinkin' CUTE!  Such a tiny little witch!

Evan was a smooth criminal- like from the Michael Jackson song.  He wanted that white hat, and this last summer Aunt Steph got it for him for his birthday.  We already had the leather jacket as a hand-me-down too!

We had a trunk or treat at church, and Leia didn't get very far before she plopped down for her favorite part of Halloween.  The candy!  Otherwise, she thought trick or treating pretty weird.  We did go to a couple houses, and after opening the door, she'd walk right in, thinking, "We're here!"
I was lucky to make it through another Halloween. Getting four kids taken care of is crazy.  As they get older, I don't think I'd really care whether or not they had a costume, and I'd let them come up with their own, but when they're so young it seems sad not to help them enjoy dressing up.  Unless you're in theatre, it's kind of the only time you get to do it!  And it's always fun to see them all!  My friend Becky writes so well, and I thought her Halloween post a good description of the times and asked her if she wouldn't mind me copying part of her post.  So I leave you with that:

As I watched the Costume parade at the elementary school, I was struck at the difference between this year and years past. There were no fancy costumes and very few store bought. Nearly all were homemade and cobbled together from odds and ends. Some had seen a lot of wear. It was obvious that everyone else was ‘making do’ with what they had, just like we were. 

 Even the office staff at the school forego-ed their usual elaborate decorating theme. This year they cleared out the office of every single thing, until it was completely bare and they all wore plain white t-shirts which said, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. It looked like a lot of work. And while the kids were less than impressed, I don’t think the irony of it all was lost on the adults. 

 It’s been a tough year… for everyone. Still, I was surprised that it showed. Groceries, utilities and gasoline are sky high. Jobs are scarce and unstable. Every family I know is living so tight they squeak. Most of us have never been so worried about being able to take care of our families. I don’t think that this is unique to __________, New Mexico. I think the whole country is nervous and fearful of the future, whether that is next week, next month or next year. I wonder what next Halloween will be like. I wonder if we, as a people, will be feeling more hopeful and less worried or if anxieties will still be running high. I wonder what things will be like for our family. I wonder what kind of costumes my kids will dream up next, and be glad, that no matter what, they continue to dream.