Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 30

Such a hard day at our house! Sick kids, sad kids, tired mommy, daddy at work all night... throw a Pinewood Derby and a diaper blowout in the midst of it all and it was a doozy! Then, while dealing with the diaper, I heard music on my phone. Cal had turned my pictures onto slideshow and "Ordinary Miracle" was the slideshow music. My photos reminded me of the countless ordinary miracles in my life... Such a tender mercy! I know stuff like that doesn't happen by accident... It is a little gift from a loving Heavenly Father just when I needed a reminder that He's there and cares.

 Ashton before the Pinewood Derby when he was so proud of his creative idea- a red brick car that he made all by himself!
 Ashton after the Pinewood Derby when he learned what happens to cars that kids make by themselves. Poor little guy came in last in every race. Jeremy was at work so there wasn't a dad around to help him with graphite on the wheels or anything like that. It was really quite heart-breaking.

Thankfully, Katie handled her loss in the school spelling bee much better. She hadn't planned on winning (and definitely hadn't practiced enough to win), but round after round she kept advancing! She said she would like to try again next year and will practice more next time. :) We'll see... She is SO smart and talented in many areas, but she is also not one to just plug down and practice/study/work hard. I don't know how to teach/motivate her and as a result I spend much of the day nagging her to do her chores and practice the piano. Not fun for either of us!

This is the worst case of pink eye I have every seen! It is really gross and disgusting! To make matters worse he is having an allergic reaction to his ear infection medicine! 

January 29

 Calvin and I were playing the Matterhorn game on the Disneyland app and he kept calling me "Matey." As in, "Good job, Matey!" "It's your turn, Matey!" "You found the monster, Matey!" It cracked me up.
 Katie and Will went to the eye doctor. Will's vision isn't great, but not bad enough to need glasses... He was mad! He wants new glasses so he can look like Jeremy and he sulked the rest of the appointment. Katie will be wearing glasses and an eye patch for the next three weeks.
We had a pink eye outbreak at our house, so Jeremy had to do the Reach for the Stars kick off at Ephraim Elementary by himself. I know it motivated at least 6 kids to read! Early in the afternoon, Will went to my mom's to play with Braxton and Bronson and instead of playing, the read books together... so cute!

January 28

I sold hundreds of this Usborne Luxury-Touchy Feely Fairies book, but when I pulled it our for Sophie I realized that I'd never looked at it closely or even read it all the way through because Katie was almost 4 years old leaving the touchy-feely phase when I started Usborne. It is SO fun to have another girl again! I really appreciate little things like pink bibs and fairy books.

January 27

Church today was... well, hard. It was not a little piece of heaven... quite the opposite, in fact. Jer was at work and the "fun" started the moment we walked in. Calvin did not want to go into the chapel. It took me a minute to realize he wasn't following me, so I went back out into the hall to get him. Instead of continuing on and staying in their seats, all my kids followed me into the hall. And then we had to go back into the chapel... this big line of people going in and out and disrupting everyone.

Cal sat there for a few minutes (and when I say few, I mean a very few), but then required intense attention to keep him from talking loudly, running around the cultural hall, etc. Well, I was so focused on him that I didn't notice that Ashton had snagged my iPad and turned on Angry Birds. Of course the volume was turned up all the way and it was during the sacrament.

By this time Sophie was awake and Matthew didn't really know what to do with her. She was bored, but only wanted me. So, I ended up sending Calvin into the hall with Katie while I stood in the back with Sophie. Of course during all of this chaos, the talk was a lecture on parenting and how mom's shouldn't work, kids don't need to be busy, etc. (I am sorry I am not perfect and don't have all the answers... I am just trying to do what is best for me and my kids!) and let's just say I didn't exactly have the Spirit with me at that particular moment, but that is another story...

Anyway, we somehow survived sacrament meeting without being asked to leave and it was time for classes. Katie took Calvin into Primary and when he seemed excited about the pictures on the wall I had hope. I stood outside the door with Sophie and kept giving her her binky (she was hungry, but would not take the bottle I brought for her) for several minutes until it seemed like he was going to stay in there just fine. Then, I went to the mother's lounge to feed the patient little babe.

Sophie was eating and I was just starting to relax and feel like things were going okay when in ran Calvin followed by a Primary worker. He was done. She left him with me and he sat in the other rocking chair for... oh, maybe two minutes... before darting out of the room. I stopped feeding as quickly as I could and ran out of the room after him. I was chasing him down when I saw my mom in the hall. She went to a baby blessing earlier and was just getting to church. She took Sophie so I could grab Calvin.

The next 1 1/2 hours were spent with him screaming in the hall about how he wasn't going to class, me trying to give him choices, bribes, etc. (it was pathetic parenting... really), me going with him to class (with snacks provided by my friend), him sitting in class for about 25 minutes and even participating a little (so I thought I could leave and he did fine until the class all had to go to the bathroom and after he went potty he wouldn't go back in and was running around the halls), etc.  It really did keep getting worse and worse! I was covered in bruises and my body hurt from trying to carry, manhandle, etc. him.

I took this picture of Calvin throwing a tantrum in the hall, because sometimes if you take a picture of something horrid, it ends up funny. And then, right next to him was Sophie peacefully sleeping in her carseat. The contrast was pretty humorous. We didn't plan on having six kids, but Heavenly Father knew I needed her! She is the calm after the storm right now. :) Hopefully that won't change too much. (Other than the storm being calmed!)

I wish I knew what to do with Calvin... he is exhausting! You would think after four older kids I would have it down, but none of my tricks work! I wonder how much of it is bad parenting on my part (I was very permissive when he was a baby because I was so grateful he was alive and I have been exhausted for the last year); how much is a high energy, very stubborn spirit; and how much is the result of the complications at his birth when he was oxygen deprived during delivery. He is SO loving, thoughtful and polite! And such a little stinker!

My friend suggested we let him bring something (like a toy) to Primary next week. It is definitely worth a try! I will try just about anything at this point! <Sigh>

January 26

Me and Randall White, the CEO. He said to me, "I know it's not easy, but we are proud of you and all you've accomplished. We really are." It's nice to hear. :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

January 25

 This picture is Becky and Jim Bob Pipes sharing their experience in Usborne Books & More and how it has blessed their family. They mentioned that they prayed about whether they should promote or not and felt like not only was the answer "yes," but there were lots of little miracles along the way. Becky mentioned that an encouraging email I sent her gave her the courage to try. I was really touched by the presentations of the new leaders on my team at the Usborne Regional Training on Friday and Saturday. It was nice to see that I introduced them to something that was blessing their lives. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own goals that I forget that I can make a difference to someone. Jeremy has given me blessings in the past that told me the Lord was using me in Usborne for his purposes. So, I know that whatever measure of success I achieve has much more to do with that than with me. I also know that my success on a national level has given some of the people I work with a more open mind about Mormons.

Randall White (the CEO) said repeatedly on Friday and Saturday, that he loves coming to Utah, there is something special here, we have such strong families and there is something special about our team... I know what it is. I think he kind of already knows what it is... he just doesn't realize the significance of it. :)

January 24

We have been sick all fall and winter. The latest round started when Sophie got RSV a couple of days before Christmas. Calvin got it next. Several of our other kids got sick with what seemed like RSV only since they were older it wasn't so bad. Then, Calvin got sick AGAIN. He had a fever and said repeatedly that his ear was "broken." He put himself to bed TWICE before lunch! The second time was so sad! He was sitting on the couch with me and suddenly jumped off and ran down the hall crying. I followed him and watch as he ran right into his room, climbed in bed and pulled up the covers. It was pretty cute! (In a sad way!)

 I took him to the doctor and he did have an ear infection... in fact, it was about ready to burst! As a baby/toddler he only had 1 ear infection, but in the last five months he has had a few. I am not sure what to think about that! He started antibiotics and pain killers in the afternoon, by the evening he was doing well.

January 23

 She is such a sweet little thing!
We watched the show Tin Tin on Netflix a few days ago. Will and Ashton looked so much like Tin Tin to us! We laughed about it and ever since then Will has been doing his hair like Tin Tins. Haha! He and Katie care so much about "image." Right now it is funny. Hopefully, they won't carry that trait into their teenage years... but they have orange personalities so I am a little worried.

January 22

This was my bed at 4 am. Since I could not get a restful sleep I decided to just wake up and start working on my presentations for the Usborne Books & More regional training. It made for a VERY long day!

January 21

The kids didn't have school because of MLK Jr. Day. Since we had worked so hard on Saturday putting away Christmas and cleaning we pretty much had a play day!

 The little boys built cars out of some Discovery Toys blocks and had their own little pinewood derby. Haha! Ashton's car *looked* awesome, but didn't win. I was VERY impressed with him. He was such a good sport! He congratulated Will and even made him a little trophy!
When Jeremy got home from work he decided it was time for Sophia to try rice cereal. She did pretty well! She is very interested in food and tries to grab ours when we eat. I am just nervous about allergies.

January 20

After we got the Christmas decorations put away, we worked on Sophie's room. It is so nice for her (and her stuff) to have a place to go!

Janurary 19

It was a little embarrassing having our Christmas decorations up on January 19th! We finally took them down. Ironically, getting Christmas fully cleared out of the way really lifted my spirits.

I was sad to have to box up my Christmas book collection though.

The nice thing was when I put the "regular" books back on the shelf, Calvin re-discovered many that we hadn't read in a year or more! It was kind of like getting new books. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

January 18

Because I was gone to Vegas and then had a book fair and had sick kids, the laundry was REALLY needing some attention. Will also needed to read his book (after missing a week of school I didn't want him to get too far behind). I could not convince Will to stop cooing at and talking to Sophie. He is a very devoted big brother! So, I asked him to read to her. She loved it, he got his homework done, and I could fold the laundry. WIN-WIN-WIN! I loved how he was holding the book so she could see the pictures... so cute.

January 17

I was at a book fair today and Kiersten dressed Sophie up in this cute outfit. I don't know what I am going to do when Kiersten leaves on her mission next month. It has been so nice having her home! It is going to be especially hard on Katie and Calvin to not have their friend around.

January 16

Sophie is starting to love to be read to. She kicks he fit and waves her hands excitedly and try to feel and turn the pages. It is pretty darn cute!

January 15

This picture is poor little Will sleeping on the couch and it represents the last 8 days. While I was in Vegas, Katie got a fever and a new kid got sick every couple of days after that. Their fevers last SO long... Ashton was sick for a full week!

January 14

Jeremy's mom was in charge of the entertainment for a Senior Citizen's dinner in Manti and she asked Katie and Jeremy to do the program. Katie sang two songs and Jeremy sang one song. I had planned on attending, but Ashton and William both had fevers. :( Listening to Jeremy and Katie sing in the shower or while they are cleaning or whenever makes my soul happy.

January 13

When we got home from Vegas, Sophie was SO happy to see her siblings! She immediately got a huge grin on face and started talking and cooing. She must have missed them.

January 12

Okay... this is SO not a good picture, but I love these ladies! I am so grateful for the friendships I have in Usborne Books & More. I have known many of my Usborne Friends for 6 1/2 years now (Crystal and Kaylynn for over 20 years) and they have blessed my life in SO many ways.

January 11

Sophie was the star of ALR! Seriously... everyone loved her and commented on her beauty, good nature, sweet voice, etc. She was SUCH a good baby the whole time we were gone. Sadly, I learned that red vines have gluten... the hard way. She had such an upset tummy when I ate them. Poor girl.

January 10

Sophie rolled over! I laid her on her tummy on our bed at the resort and she rolled over! The days of leaving her on beds unattended for even a moment are over!

January 9

Sophie's first limo ride! Sophie and I left the morning of January 9 for Usborne Books & More Advanced Leadership Retreat in Vegas. It was a long day for a little girl. After a 7 hour drive (including a stop for lunch) we arrived in Vegas. She did awesome the whole way down. We had a couple of hours of down time, then I needed to get ready to leave for Cirque du Soleil~ Ka. (A gift from the Usborne Home Office for making President's Club.) They don't allow children under 5 at the show, so my friends Bobbi and Suzanne and Suzanne's sister Crystal brought Sophie to the theater and entertained her and then we switched off. Watching and interacting with Sophie led Crystal to decide to pursue the adoption of a soon to be born baby girl the state offered her family. :) On the way home from the show we strapped Sophie into the limos we rode in. FYI... you know you are in Vegas when the limo has a pole for pole dancing... I'm glad she won't remember anything she saw on this little trip.

January 8

Jeremy decided it was time for the kids to start participating in the reading during family scripture study. We are little surprised with how well they read the scriptures out loud! I have listened to so many adults read aloud at church with less fluency and expression than even Ashton. We are very pleased.

January 7

Calvin got a Lightening McQueen potty for Christmas from Santa. Let's just say it was the best money Santa could have spent. We could not motivate him to even try potting training, but this did the trick. He has mastered #1 and still working on #2. :) The crazy thing is he is already waking up from naps and waking up in the morning to go potty. Yay... FINALLY!

January 6

 Jeremy bought "Insanity" work out videos. It is killer! Will and Calvin were doing it with us. Will actually had the best endurance of us all. After a few minutes, Cal was exhausted, but didn't want to admit it. He said, "I'm too busy to exercise right now." And then he went off and played with his trains. ;)

January 5

Bronson dressed up as Santa... yes those are underwear he is using for a beard. HAHAHAHA!

January 4

Katie and her friend Tamyra play dress up EVERY SINGLE TIME they get together. Today they even dressed up Kit to match! I took this picture because for a few hours Katie was actually acting like a little girl... not the teenager she *thinks* she is.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

January 3

 Today William brought home his Gingerbread House he made in school. I am glad we got a picture right away because it was devoured within minutes. :)

Katie and Kiersten also got haircuts. They are donating their hair to locks of love. They turned out really cute!

 Tonight at Pack Meeting, both Ashton and Matthew received some awards. Ashton earned some belt loops and Matthew received the highest award in Cub Scouting... the Arrow of Light. He worked really hard in Cub Scouts and had a wonderful experience. He is so excited to move on to Boy Scouts and start working on his Eagle. I am really not ready for that! Arghhh!... one more thing for me to deal with! We are SUPER proud of him though!

January 2

January 2, 2012 was the first time Matthew and Katie had to go to school on their birthday. When they were younger they thought it was horrible that they didn't *get* to go to school on their special day. This year they realized they preferred a day off.
Matthew and Katie's present from Kiersten was a coupon book filled with things like a trip to Sip It, Harry Potter craft night, Psych marathon, etc. They LOVED it!
 Jeremy took the kids (minus Calvin and Sophia) and Keenan and Tamyra skating at Ephraim's new ice rink. It was SUPER cold (like 10 degrees) and they all fell a lot! Once when Katie fell her pants split from the calf to the knee! Hilarious!
This is my favorite picture of my birthday kids. We were getting family pictures taken 5 years ago and were struggling to get the littlest two (Ashton and Will) to cooperate. Matthew and Katie were tired and the photographer captured this candid shot of them snuggling. I LOVE this picture. Back then they were simply best friends. They rarely fought. Now, they can be so competitive and contentious. It makes me so sad when they fight. Although the other day I did overhear Katie, Matthew and Ashton talking and they were discussing why they fight when they are really best friends. :) Oh... that made me happy!

January 1

Calvin sat on his new potty for 6 hours... yes SIX hours... before finally "going." I really need him to be potty trained, but I wonder if changing diapers is just easier!