Thursday, October 27, 2011

Now THIS is sleepy!

The other night, I was up cleaning late at night--and guess who was up with me?  My little night owl, Jack.  He has such bad habits.  It's like I've just thrown all of the basic rules of parenting out the window, and given up on this 6th child.  He talks back, he is a bully, he sleeps with me--EVERY NIGHT, he stays up late, he wakes up late, he gets his way WAY too much of the time, he is completely spoiled and we all know it!  But I sure love this boy--and I love this age--and I am sure going to miss having these adorable toddler antics around my house all the time.  I keep saying, "Who's going to be cute around here when you all are grown up?"  I feel like I need to just soak his cuteness all in, bottle it up, and remember, since I know all too well how fast it will be gone.  I remember bits and pieces of all of my children's baby/toddler years, but that's just it.  Just bits and pieces.  It makes me sad that I may have been in a real hurry to grow these kids up fast & get them out of the house.  Before we know it, it will be just me and Todd, and what then?  Oh my, it's been so long since it has been just me and Todd.  Actually, that part of it sounds quite lovely! 

Here is my sweet boy, while I was on my cleaning kick.  I actually had the vaccum on, and had moved the bean bag up onto the couch so I could vaccum around it.  Then I proceeded to get out the ShopVac, which was the "quiet" version--but it is SO not quiet.  Gosh, I miss my central vaccum.  Poor little guy zonked right out with his hands over his ears, and you know what?  I just left him up there.  He joined me in my bed a few hours later, he always finds his way to our room before morning, but if there's one rule that hasn't changed in all my years of parenting, it is this one:  "Let a sleeping baby lie!"  Amen.

P.S.  The wallpaper came with the house--isn't it just AWESOME!  ;)  What can I say--renters cannot be choosers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fall Break 2011!...

I seriously can't get caught up right now..geez!  Volleyball gets over this week, which will help some, but I feel like I am always behind, and this blog is no exception.  It seems like every time I have a minute to sit down during the day, I get interrupted by a sweet 3 year old of mine, who has no playmate at home during the day.  So, here I am once again at 2 a.m., editing pictures, and trying to get caught up.  I love the time I have at night to be without interruption--I just long for time during the DAY when it's the same way.  Someday.  2 more years actually--can you believe it? 

Anyway, I wanted to post pictures of our fun little getaway we took for Fall Break.  I was itching to get away from the chaos that is our house!  Moving is so not fun.  I forget how much I HATE it--and how long it takes to get settled, and how hard it is to actually find a home for everything--and then to try to teach your kids where that home is.  Downsizing has been especially difficult--and I have a whole garage full of CRAP to prove it.  We have things we actually need in there--just no place for them.  Oh well--all in good time.

Our neighbors were going to Knotts Berry Farm over Fall Break, and their daughter made the mistake of mentioning it to me one day--so what did I do?  I invited myself, and my family along!  Actually, our neighbors, the Tippetts are the nicest people you will ever meet, and they were kind enough to let us tag along for a few days.  Tonya was my travel agent, and booked my rooms and everything!  Sweet deal!  We happened to run into another family that was at Knotts when we were too, the Skinners, who are in our stake, and have kids that go to our kids school--so it worked out GREAT!  We had such a great time on Monday!  There were so few people there that the longest line was probably 10 minutes!  What a fun day!  Here are a few pictures...The older kids got to go to the Haunt at Knotts--where they have haunted houses & mazes and stuff.  They were out until almost 2 a.m!  Todd was happy to "chaperone" them (since he can't get enough of the rides!)...
First things first--we had to try to BOOST my Ashlie up a few inches (4 to be exact), so I bought her some high boots & we bumped her hair up.  What a cutie!  It worked for some rides--but they were strict on others & pressed her hair flat--DARN!  Oh well, we tried!

 Had a FABULOUS fried chicken dinner at the park, and they gave us this WHOLE boysenberry pie to take back to our room.  I waited until the kids were asleep--then I pretty much devoured the rest of that thing.  Oh my, and I wonder how I look so fat in these photos.  Oh well, you only live once right?  :)
Tuesday morning we headed down to San Diego and went to this neat place by the ocean where they have cute little shops and a Navy ship that you can tour.  The USS Midway was built during WWII, and was just retired about 10 years ago.  It served for almost 50 years!  This was one of the largest aircraft carriers ever built, and on a normal day, over 100 planes would take off or land on this ship during wartime.  AMAZING!  They even had WWII vets that were working on the ship explaining how everything worked.  I was fascinated (more than I thought I would be--HA!)  Little Ashlie was so cute--she answered questions in a pamphlet (over 20) to earn her "pilot wings", and she was so proud!  It was so much fun!  We went from there to Old Town San Diego to have some authentic Mexican food at an old Mexican restaurant there.  It was YUMMY!  What a fun day!


Finally, what trip to San Diego could be complete without a trip to the BEACH?  Our kids made sure that was in our plans on Wednesday morning, and boy was it a fabulous day to hit the beach, with temperatures in the high 80's!  We went to Mission Beach, since it was only a mile from our hotel, and it was a beautiful beach.  Josh didn't waste any time, and jumped in the water to start body surfing.  Ashlie & Jack built sand castles.  Erin suntanned.  Abby and her friend Marley shopped and played volleyball with Emie and her friend Taylor.  Todd and I just relaxed!  Funniest thing?  There was a camera crew and reporter on the beach from a local news channel who came over to interview our group.  You can see from the picture who stole the show!  Jack, of course.  Who can resist that sweet face?  Too bad we didn't make the cut & they put some boring family from Utah on the news that night.  What???  Oh well!

Our vacation was just what I needed--just a quick, fun getaway where I could breathe deeply, and clear my head and take a little rest from the chaos that is my life!  Thanks so much to the Tippetts for letting us tag along with all of our crew.  We love you guys!

P.S.  We had someone in our house turn 16 this week!  AAAAAAAGH!  More on that later...I am planning what will be hopefully a super fun party for her this week--we'll see how it turns out!  Pics to come!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Birthday JOSH!...

On Saturday, this handsome, wild, crazy, adorable guy turned 9!
Can you believe it?  This picture is pretty much how you find Josh these days.  Always without a shirt on.  Showing off his glorious male figure I guess.  What is it about boys that you can't keep clothes on them?  The only boy in my house growing up was my dad.  And he always wore a shirt--his garment top--but still.  The first thing Josh does when he gets home from school is strip down to a shirt & hang out shorts.  He sleeps in his underwear half the time.  He is driving all of us girls in the house (including 3 older sisters) a little crazy, running around half-naked, leaving the toilet seat up, (or unflushed).  But c'mon--isn't he the most handsome boy?  Takes after his handsome dad--in more ways than one.  I think Todd would run around this house in his underwear if he could get away with it, that guy is ALWAYS hot (He's HAWT too).  Boys...still not sure what I'm doing in that department! Oy...

Josh had a soccer game in the morning, so we got all the kids up early to sing Happy Birthday to Josh with his QT donut cake.  Todd got the trick candles--which always crack me up because we ended up with spit from not one, but 3 different kids all over the donuts!  Good things germs don't really faze my kids because of my poor housekeeping skills, so I don't worry much about them getting sick from a little (or a ton of) spit on their donut! I think Josh's wishes will come true in about...oh, 100 years or so!  Hope he didn't wish for anything important...  On a side note, I am DEFINITELY buying those candles for Emie tomorrow for her Sweet 16...I KNOW what she'll be wishing for--and I'm not sure I EVER want those wishes to come true!  Oh my...that is a post for tomorrow.

 Josh got an awesome BMX bike for his birthday (since he had an awesome BMX bike, that Grandpa fixed up for him, that MOM ran over with her suburban--and there was no saving that thing since the pegs got stuck in my undercarriage and I had to drive back and forth over it 12 times to get it detached from my car).  OOPS!  There's nothing like the grin on a boys face at the sight of a new bike!  He was SO happy!

 There's nothing like the grin on an old dad's face as he rides his sons new bike and remembers the glory days when HE was the 9 year old with the new bike either!  Boys never do quite grow up, do they?  I mean, look at that face!  Have I mentioned that I love this guy.  He sure keeps things interesting over here at this house!  I love ALL of my boys over here.  Sure glad God gave me a few boys anyway, although glad also that he knew I'd do better with my girls & gave me more of them!  :)

Happy Birthday, JOSH!  We love you SO much!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crazy Hair???...

Last week was Crazy Hair Day at the girls' elementary school. We decided to go for the afro look and put Abby and Ashlie's hair in tight small foam rollers the night before. When we took them out and poufed out their hair the kids were cracking up laughing. Me? Not so much. Do they really look THAT hilarious?
What the girls didn't understand was, when I was taking those rollers out, I was having flashbacks of my former life--that is, life before my flat iron!  Oh man, did I have BIG hair.  Sometimes it wouldn't even fit in the picture.  My friends may have tried--but they couldn't get their hair as BIG as mine! Maybe this will give you an idea:
 P.S. Can we go back to turtlenecks & cardigans--PLEASE??  Such a fashion statement! 
And the big, thick silver chain?  Wow.
How high could you Aqua Net your bangs??
 Highlighting the BIG hair with a big GLOW! 
And look at the one below--I was the Girl's Dance royalty--
but my hair is so big you can't even see the crown!

Yeah, I meant BIG!  On a good note, I never realized how much my Abby looks like me, until now:

Ha!  Poor thing!  Have I mentioned how grateful I am for my flat iron?  Well, now I have!  Oh, and how about those bushy Brooke Shields eyebrows?  Unibrow much?  Man, I'm so lucky to have landed a husband!  (And quite a handsome one too...must have been my killer personality--there's a post on that HERE).  Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

General Conference Picnic...

In Todd's family, our General Conference Tradition is to get together as a family following the Sunday afternoon session, and talk about our favorite talks of the day.  Each person comes prepared (most with their notes), to share something they learned during Conference.  If you share something, you get your choice of candy bar!  Now that there are so many of us, over 60 when we all get together, this is no small undertaking!  We work in groups, from youngest (some as young as 1), to oldest, and each person takes a minute or two to share a thought.  I have LOVED watching my kids progress from age 1, when they say, "I love Jesus", or "I love the prophet", with great fanfare and applause, to the thoughts they give as they get older. These teenagers are just so amazing to me.  Many of them even write down questions they are wondering about, or things that they would like to learn before conference, and listen for answers to their prayers as the prophet and apostles speak. We truly have amazing leaders, who speak to the problems that our children and youth face, and I am so relieved to know that they are listening, and paying attention! (Most of the time...)  I have to tell you, Saturday conference was on in my house, but I was busy all morning doing laundry, unpacking boxes, and I was in and out of the room all morning.  Emie was at volleyball, Todd at work, Erin at an orchestra festival, and the other kids were in and out playing with friends, but my little Ashlie (6) sat there on the couch all alone,  with her little conference notebook that Grandma gave her, and dutifully took notes on EACH TALK.  On Sunday, she did it again, and even went to the bathroom one time, and came out saying, "I know what to write!" and wrote down a thought the speaker had shared while she was in the bathroom!  So if you think your little one is too young to get something out of conference, and can't sit still, think again!  A candy bar from Grandma and Grandpa was just the motivation that little girl needed!

It is always awesome to me how every conference,  different talks speak directly to me.  My favorite talk this year, just because of our circumstances, and trials we have faced was THIS ONE, by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.  He touched me with the tender way he talked about waiting upon the Lord.  Patience is something that I am not good at, but something I need to learn nonetheless if I am going to become like my Savior. I also loved THIS ONE, by Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, which talked about how important we are to our Heavenly Father, and how aware he is of us, and how much he loves us each individually.  He truly is in the details of our lives, and when we stop and look, we can see His tender mercies daily in our behalf.  Another GREAT talk was by Elaine Dalton, the President of the Young Women, THIS ONE, where she talked to the fathers of the church about how they can help their daughters to reach their potential as Daughters of God.  It was an amazing talk, even better when I reread it!

We had a great picnic, and shared so many testimonies.  I am so grateful for this tradition.  I love hearing our family members, especially our children, bear testimony of the truthfulness of the messages shared during General Conference.  I love that they get to hear their cousins, aunts, uncles, Grandma and Grandpa as they bear testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel.  I am so grateful to belong to a church where we can know what the Lord would have us do in our time, in our day, to raise faithful families, and make it back to live with Him someday.  What a wonderful blessing!  Here are some pictures of all the festivities! 

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