Sunday, August 10, 2014

Summer Goals

Charles using a spoon!

Well folks, I hate to tell you, but summer is almost over.

I am not one of those parents that leaps for joy at sending the kids back to school.

I am dreading it.

Why, you ask?

Because, that means I have to drive, drive, drive; come rain, sleet, snow, and freezing wind; and I can't be late.

And before all that, I have to drag all my people out of bed, make them breakfast, and lunch, change diapers, and make sure they are dressed appropriately.

I have to worry about their school work, the school asking for volunteer hours and money.  Always the money. School is a billion times more expensive than homeschool.  That's a scientific fact.

When you have little ones, volunteering is near impossible, unless you want to ask someone else to volunteer to watch your little ones, so you can volunteer to help at the school.

But in addition to regular school, I'll have the two I am homeschooling plus toddler Charles, soccer for three boys, and our callings which take an enormous amount of time.  (All this amongst 20 or so other things.)

Between all the campouts Pat's been on, and the business trips (he just got back from several days in D.C. again) I feel like I've been a single parent this summer just in survival mode.   Me not happy.
I was watching tv and liked this red checked tablecloth and blue tea set, so I took a picture.
Oh, and since I haven't been super happy, Pat's decided that I need to go back to school to have something for me.  This is something that I'm interested in, but thought I'd do it when the kids were all older.  Honestly, I wish I just had time to exercise without being stressed about what the kids are doing.  For the first time, I left Charles in Dallas's care for 45 minutes yesterday to have a run, and when I came home Charles was beyond mad.  There are no words to describe how upset he was that I left him.  Which means, until he grows out of that, I probably won't do that again. 

It's a fight to find time to read my scriptures, and after taking care of the house and kids, I can't seem to find time to do much else.  I was trying to pray this morning and Charles kept ramming his head into my side and growling. Someone always needs something when you're trying to talk to God. Or on the phone.  *smile*  I know I'll miss it someday, so I enjoy it as much as I can now, and say, "Heavenly Father, my child needs me.  I'll get back to you as soon as possible."

Acting all cute and sweet while he sleeps.

  My mom has taught me the art of stressing about everything until you become kind of paralyzed and can't do anything.  We're awesome like that.  I hope adding classes to my work load doesn't do this to me.  When I feel super depressed about not measuring up, I say to myself, "It's not your season for that", or "...but you're doing great at this", or, "we all have different talents, and are born into different circumstances, and until I can learn so-and-so's talents, I'll just admire her for her amazing abilities", or "I am exactly where God wants me to be right now, and I'm doing the best I can", and I get over it.  It's freeing to care less and less about what others think and just be yourself.  I always have taken myself too seriously.  But it's how I am.  I feel things deeply.

Dal and his friend Lar dirtbiking.

Did we accomplish all we set out to do this summer?  Not by a long shot.  I started to type all my goals I'd written down for this summer, and then stopped because there was so much we didn't do.  But we did have a good summer overall, and certainly can't complain.  Mostly this summer, we just played around the house, had lots of friends over, and the three older boys rode their bikes and visited our neighbor Warren, helping him wash his motorcycle and stuff.  We've also been getting to know our new neighbors!  I feel rich.  We live in a wonderful place!!!  I love where I live!  Last night, we took the kids out to pizza to celebrate Dad coming home, and we all laughed so hard through the meal, and had so much fun together, that I knew, without a doubt, that I am rich beyond measure. 

Went to a park after pizza.  This is in Albuquerque.  The mountains are called the Sandias, which means watermelon, because when the sun goes down they look pink.  We live up on the backside of those mountains.
Oh, and after being delayed constantly by other obligations, Sam finally finished 4th grade!!!  Just in time to start 5th!!!!

His final project and report which he presented to us on family night in July.

Afterward he got out all his old piano songs and started relearning them with vigor.  I could tell he was energized and super proud of himself for finishing school!
I have gone through everyone's closets and gotten rid of lots of old clothes and they have their new uniforms ready to go.  I've washed and sanitized their lunch boxes several times and they're ready to go for another year.  We finally had the time to move Charles out of our room, and he slept in a big boy bed for the first time last night with his siblings.  Yea Charles!  (He's almost 18 months old.)  We're cleaning out backpacks and buying the endless lists of school supplies required.  Things are moving forward, and we can't stop school from coming, so I pray that this will be a good year, and that we will be successful in our endeavors.  Oh!  And it's someone's birthday this week!
Glad Pat finally fixed this hand grinder after years.  Freshly ground wheat and other grains are super tasty. 

Sam and Evan both gave talks today at church, and they were both so smiley (whoa Sam!) and confident that I knew we must be doing something right.  Most things I'm probably doing wrong.  Like my refusal to organize the silverware drawer.

 But something must be right.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Leia says the funniest things.

"Evan was bothering me this week and he was like putting a fly on me!  And then we couldn't watch a show."

"Mom when we get home you will play with me, OKAY?!!!"   She says it so brightly it's nearly impossible to refuse.  But sometimes I just can't play with her right then, so then she'll make crazy faces, and get nose to nose with me and say, in gorilla voice, "Yes you can!"

"Dad is this five?" (trying to get the right amount of forks for dinner)

I don't know.  You have to count them and tell me.

"1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, yep, that's 5!"

(There really were five.)

"Dad, my life is mean and naughty, because it always takes away my dreams."

We have new LDS members who moved into the house right in front of ours.  (Imagine you hear me squealing with joy!)  They have two kids, a girl just a year older than Leia, and a boy about 2-3 years old.  They are fantastic!!!  They also have three beautiful horses!  Anyway, no matter how many times we tell Leia that the little girl's name is ______, she always insists that it's Erin.  We've been with them on three separate occasions and Leia still doesn't call her by her real name.  They were over swinging and chatting in our back yard, and then we walked them home, and afterward, Leia said, I'm really going to miss my friend Erin.  Sigh.  She always makes up names for people, and once she gets it, it sticks.
 Charlie's mouth is full of erupting teeth that have been super painful.  He's had a fever for three days, poor guy.
 A child of the meadow.  She loves to pick flowers for me.
We just finished the Book of Mormon as a family and it was awesome.  So inspiring and hopeful, yet so sad. I don't know how to express how much I know it's true. 

Speaking of that...

Leia's mother has decided firmly to never bear her testimony in church again.  It doesn't matter how strongly I feel what I'm saying, or how in normal conversation it would come out right and make sense, when I stand up at the pulpit in front of the congregation it always comes out wrong and I feel really retarded.  Makes me sad, because I know how important it is to testify.  In the future, however, my testimony should be written out, if it's ever to be shared in public.  Of course part of it was about my wonderful kids, who by the time I sat back down were all fighting and really mean to me in front of everyone, mostly because they were fasting and grumpy so every little thing made them more angry than they'd normally be.  (Just the older boys, and I don't even make them fast!)  It's weird to feel love one second, and the next want to violently drag out your kids in front of everyone.  Oh and the stake presidency was visiting for an extra measure of humiliation.   

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Zoo 2014

It's been a long time since we went to the zoo in Albuquerque.  Our ward campout got cancelled due to rain and we were so looking forward to that, so rather than sit around at home, we went to the zoo, mostly for Charlie and Leia's sake.  The older boys weren't interested.
But they ended up liking it a lot, and they didn't even remember half the stuff the zoo had!  It had been too long and they had forgotten.  We had a fabulous time!
Charlie loves lions and tigers.
Dad holding up L and C so they can see.
Sam's faces.
Me and Charles waving goodby to the elephants.
They had a zipline set up, so the three big boys got to ride it.
Dallas above was all enjoyment.  Sam below, a bit nervous.
Evan had fun because he got to watch them go first, so he wasn't scared anymore.
Snack time at a random table in the middle of the zoo.
Three hippos at feeding time. 
We had a great day at the zoo, and were so glad to have our dad there with us.  He had been gone for a week again for work which is no fun.
The thing about Evan turning 8 is he has now entered scouts like his bros.  He didn't want to pose for this picture though.  It's been fun, teaching him to play catch, run for 5 minutes, do a frog leap, etc.  It's been good for us to spend time doing stuff together I wouldn't have thought of to do otherwise.  He is working away!
Sam's friend Tyler over to visit and they did this whole puzzle!  300 pieces.
These three loved playing racetrack together.  James, Evan and Leia were laughing so hard! They had a great time swinging too.  We have exchanged kids lots this summer with various friends.
Some of D's projects I forgot to photograph during the school year.

Me gearing up for lunches as school is soon to start- revising things a little.
I love turkey burgers.  They are so versatile and so good and don't make me gross out like other meat.  Here's a leftover burger, cut in half, and put on a tortilla with avocado for lunch.
We have had some serious storms here lately.  Mostly this last week.  It's never been so green here.  My trees are so happy!
We love these cuties!  Pat calls this a Harry Potter photo, where the people are alive.
We had a great youth conference where we took over a high school that was across the street from a Stake Center.  Lots of space, but for almost 1000 people, so it was needed!  I love the youth.  They are so neat.

Of course I invited the missionaries over to dinner on the same night, and forgot until they called, so it was crazy making dinner and leaving it for Pat to serve, while preparing for this big event!  We have this joke that no matter what, we always sign up for the missionaries on the worst possible day, no matter how much we try to plan well, something like this always happens.

I don't understand why this highschool looks so much like a college though.  I mean they have an entire building dedicated to Engineering and Technology, one for Scimatics (which I'm guessing is Science and Math), one for Fine Arts, Business and Entrepreneurship and Humanities. It looks just like CSUS when I went there! 
On Saturday the kids have to lay out their clothes for church including their shoes so we don't spend and hour finding (or not finding) everyone's clothes on Sunday. 
Sam added the sunglasses to top off his outfit.  He cracks me up.
And they put a tie on Charles after he was dressed.
Some great thrift store finds lately.  These books, along with several pairs of new shoes for me!  No desk still for Evan though.
We read this book recently and the kids loved it.  I liked reading it and doing the voices. 
Also loved these Crispin books we listened to while driving since we have long drives everywhere.

Just some of the books we love.  Some that are missing are Caddie Woodlawn, My Father's Dragon, Shiloh, Island of the Blue Dolphin, Bridge to Terabathia, etc.
I love this super easy hamburger bun recipe.  Start to finish: 30 min-1hr depending on how long you let it rise.
Hamburger Buns
2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 c. plus 2 Tbsp warm water
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp salt
3-3 1/2 c. flour

Dissolve yeast in water.  Add oil and sugar and let sit 5 min.  Add egg, salt, and enough flour to form a soft dough.  Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).

Shape into 12 balls on greased baking sheet.  Cover and let rest for 10 minutes while you preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden.  Cool on wire racks.  If they last until you can prepare a hamburger on them, great!  If not, use them for snacks for friends who are visiting your kids!  Everyone likes getting their own little bun of bread.

Pat has become a master at sourdough lately.  I have never liked waffles until I had sourdough ones.  They don't taste sour, but their texture is like heaven.  How do you explain it?  We use King Arthur Flour's website for all our sourdough recipes and they are all great.  I have never tried a King Arthur Flour recipe for anything that has not been fantastic.  Sourdough or not.

I looked back and said, "Charles, you're sooo handsome!", and he held up his hands!

Summer Fun

Everyone watching our car get washed.  Leia loves her backpack and fills it up with crazy stuff for each outing we go on.  She has to bring it everywhere.
Sam, bored, and out of video game time did this Clue puzzle.  Then you have to look through the special glass to reveal the secret.
He found it!  He is good at the psycho face.

We have had 8 power outages in July totaling almost 10 hours.  The worst was on the 4th of July, and there was no bad weather at all!  The power just goes out for no reason.

We actually splurged and bought nice bacon to eat for breakfast before going out to the parade.  Then halfway though cooking it, the power went out.  Since I have an electric stove we just let the bacon sit and hoped the power would come back on.  After an hour, I gave up and called the electric company.  "Yes we know your power is out.  Someone should be there in 2 hours to fix it."  Outrageous!!! 
So the bacon was all ruined, along with the rest of our breakfast, we had missed the parade, and I was very angry.  The only thing we could eat was bread since we couldn't open the fridge- and I have 5 kids!  The power was out from 8am-12:30 and finally came back on after we got back from buying McDonalds for breakfast/lunch.

I marched myself down to their offices the following week, and with all the kindness I could muster, I showed them my receipts for the bacon and McDonalds and asked to be reimbursed.  They eventually told me they don't guarantee continuous service and can't be held responsible for "acts of God".  (The perfectly calm sunny weather, I suppose).   Now after enduring several more power outages throughout this month, I am beyond frustrated.  My neighbors are beyond frustrated.  It's ridiculous.
All 5 watching a show.
Another call to the doctor.  D woke up with his eyelid swollen shut.  We still have no idea why.  It wasn't a sty, he had no sting or bite, no help from the Benadryl, and it lasted 3 days.  This is the third day when it had gone down significantly.
Leia loves the cupcake game.  That's all.
And Charles knows where is belly button is.