Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Baby Dolls

Country Train Ride

On Saturday we took a family excursion up North to Sumpter, Oregon. They have an old steam train that you can ride. I have heard about it forever and have always wanted to do it. Rachel Johnson made plans to go and invited us and a bunch of other friends. Luckily the husbands were able to go too and we had a nice family outing together.

Romans family (yes my hair got chopped on Monday, short, short!)

Kelso family

Johnson family

The kids loved the train ride and we even got robbed by the McCarthy Gang! (We had a few kids that were genuinely frightened by this reenactment.) We stopped for an hour in Sumpter. That was just enough time to checked out the dredge (used for gold panning.) It is a very large and impressive structure especially when you think about the era it was designed and built. Of course Kurt had to check out the mechanics of it all.

We rushed to have lunch at the local cafe and then back onto the train. Spencer slept on the ride back and Austin had a nose and full face in his book while Emma Lynn colored. It was great to spend the day together. There is something magical about trains!

All the kids (minus Ruth)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Party #2

On Friday Emma Lynn had her friend birthday party. I definitely don't do parties every year for the kids but age 5 is one of those special years that gets a party. Due to circumstances and not wanting to exclude anyone she invited her whole class plus Katelynn (who is in kindergarten.) I really worried that I was sending the wrong message as the preschool teacher: this was the first birthday of the school year and the preschooler teacher's daughter is having this big party. Is this the standard? The expectation? Definitely NOT! I hope the parents don't feel that way!

Anyway all 10 kids came (plus Emma Lynn makes 11.) It felt like another day of teaching preschool! But Kurt was home the whole time and HUGE help. I'm glad that he could be there, not just to help me but to be apart of her day and get to see how the kids interact and play. It was great bonding for that class too! We didn't play a single game I had planned because they just wanted to go play in our playroom in between lunch and crafts. Fine by me! They had a blast!

We did: choose our own My Little Pony name and made a name tags, made a pizza and horse shoe bread sticks for lunch, most of the girls colored My Little Pony coloring pages. They decorated their own My Little Pony (they were plastic ponies that were completely white. We used a Sharpie and designed, colored and decorated our own. Pretty cool!) Of course the standard present opening and cake and ice cream. But the special surprise was the visit from a real live little pony. Rachel Johnson let borrow their pony for the afternoon. The Johnson girls had spent the morning grooming it, complete with ribbons and bows. Kurt spent an hour giving rides around our lawn in the heat of the day. They had great fun with the pony, what a great dad!
I'm glad I was able to put off the stress of just one more thing to do and enjoy the party, the time together and the moment of Emma Lynn's 5th birthday party. It was definitely a success!

My Little Pony cupcake tree

opening presents

The birthday crew

The real my little pony visits


I'm getting tired of so many toys and things cluttering up our house. I've decided we really need to scale back. I would rather spend birthday money doing things with the birthday child, creating memories together rather than a load of new toys. We decided to do Build-A-Bear for Emma Lynn's birthday.

On Wednesday we went to the mall in Boise. We looked around and figured out how it all worked. She knew exactly what she wanted, and we got right to work (this is serious business!) She picked out a bunny and named it Magic. Spencer helped her stuff and wash it. I was really proud of him because when we first got there he wanted to do one too (of course) but I explained to him that we were doing it for Emma Lynn's birthday and if he wanted he could come back on his birthday. He said okay and was fine with it. I was very proud of his mature behavior and that he was able to help Emma have a good time.

It was a very cute process and Emma ate it up. She loved it! I definitely want to take Lorna and Emma together for Christmas, they would be so cute in there! Magic has been very welcomed into the family. I will treasure these birthday memories with my kids.

picking out a heart

washing Magic

loving her new buddy

Party #1

Recap of our family birthday party for Emma Lynn on Tuesday, September 22nd.

We had our first field trip in preschool that day at the bakery. After preschool we picked up dad and we went out to lunch at Dairy Queen. Right after school got out she had art lessons. She has a new teacher this year (another one of my YW) and last week was her first time with her. When she realized that she would have art on her birthday was more excited for her art lessons than her birthday! Her teacher, Brecca, brought her a present (a horse) and they painted it together.

After Kurt got home the party finally got under way. Emma requested homemade macaroni and cheese and soda pop for dinner. :) We played 2 games after dinner. Emma Pictionary. Since Emma loves to draw I knew this would be a great game. I had a large #5 for our "game board" and then 5 different things about Emma for us to draw and guess. We drew music, books, crayon/paints, my little pony & stuffed animal to sleep with.

Guessing what dad was drawing (crayons/paints. They had some hilarious guesses like rocket, school bus, & submarine.)

The second game was a time line of Emma Lynn's life. I had a picture of each year of her life and we had to put them in the right sequence. It was fun to talk about and remember the other birthdays.

We opened presents and then moved on to cake and ice cream. Since Emma Lynn was so enthralled by all the 5's throughout the day I decided to change up my cake plans and made her a HUGE #5 cake. I pulled the classic cake making technique that my mother always did when I was growing up: sketched the design on cardboard, cut it out (with a knife), make sides all the way around the cake with tin foil, grease the bottom of the "cake pan", and pour in the cake mix. I was so worried the batter would come seeping out all over the counter but we had no disasters! I was very pleased with how it turned out and Emma Lynn was surprised because she didn't know I had changed plans.

It was a fun night of celebrating 5 wonderful years!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Austin up-date

I finally got into Austin's class yesterday. That first month of school when I can't volunteer is torture! I was happy to get in here. It was totally a bad time and completely inconvenient but I didn't want to miss my chance. I just helped with centers, it didn't give me a true sense of his class room. But I still got to meet his classmates and see how Mrs. Camp interacts with the students. A regular schedule volunteer time is set in place for next week, now that makes me happy!

They routinely doing hearing test on all the students at the beginning of the school year. Austin didn't pass the test. When I called to find out more information about it they said it wasn't too uncommon. They would recheck him in 2 weeks. That was yesterday. He didn't pass again. That isn't as common. So now Austin has to go see an audiologist in Ontario. The school will arrange everything, including transportation. I want to go with him so I can ask all my questions and hopefully learn what this all means, what's the next step and what we can do to help/improve.

Austin continues to read like its necessary for survival. He finished up "Holes" (4.7 reading level) a few weeks ago. It was the longest book he had read (233 pages.) He has a reading log at school (they have to read the book 2 times before it can go on the reading log.) Apart from homework we have reading time every day. He continues to take AR tests at school on his reading. He has missed a few, which has really surprised me. Maybe we need to slow down and make sure we are comprehending.

2 things that I've noticed about 1st grade that have made we step back and realize that this is "real" school and my son is really growing up. First he had his first spelling test yesterday (and aced it.) Completely submerged in the world of diapers and nursery rhymes I forgot that spelling tests even existed! And second he writes down every day what his homework is. I love this because he is completely aware of what he is suppose to do and is responsible for his work. But at the same time, whoa! Just so real compared to the preschool/kindergarten world.

Austin is just doing piano for his activity this year. He really does not want to do clogging any more. He is doing so well with the piano and (for now) it is working well to teach him. So we'll keep on. He is a good sight reader and has a great sense of rhythm. It is so fun to hear him practice especially on days when I don't have to ask! :)

Last Saturday the 19th there was a Fun Run in Vale for the 1-5th graders. Austin participated (I love to support running and Austin likes it.) They did some extensive (for their age) stretching and warm-ups followed by each grade running one race. The first grades did the 200 meters. Austin was in last place for the majority of the race but stayed strong and finished 3rd (out of 6.) I was proud of his effort! They had snacks, raffle drawing (and Austin won something!) and finished up with relay races. It was a great morning. I love cheering you on Austin!



My winner!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Fabulous FIVE Year Old

Today is Emma Lynn's 5th birthday. Seriously, five?!!! She is so ready and so excited to be 5. I have never seen any of the kids this excited for a birthday before! It's adorable.

Kurt and I decorated last night after she was asleep. A few balloons in her room, and more in the dining room. Kurt took different house hold items and arranged them into the number 5 (books in the living room, spoons and bananas on the table, apple juice bottles in the kitchen.) Emma Lynn loved it! "There are 5's everywhere! I am 5 today! I don't think that Santa Claus or the Easter bunny did it. Thanks mom and dad!"

E - excellent helper
M - master organizer
M - marvelous sister
A - artist

L - loving
Y - yearn for knowledge
N - need to be neat
N - nice

2 hours old ~ September 22, 2004

1 year old ~ September 22, 2005

2 years old ~ September 22, 2006

3 years old ~ September 22, 2007

4 years old ~ September 22, 2008

5 years old ~ September 22, 2009

I have been blessed to be your mother for 5 years. You have been glued to my side and I have truly come to love and appreciate your companionship/friendship.
I hope this will continue throughout our lifetime. You are a chosen daughter of God with great potential. I cherish you! I LOVE YOU!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Age Denial

Ruth is 18 months old. She is actually closer to 19 months at this point but apparently I'm not ready to accept it because I keep postponing this post for a later time. My baby is growing up on me. I am completely shocked at how fast it has gone. In my mind she is my little baby but she proves me wrong the minute I think it with her independence and actions. And then I feel a little nauseous that she is nearing 2. We sure love our Rooster girl. She has blessed our lives tremendously. I'm so grateful to have this time with her!

A little bit about Rooster at 18 months:

~ She still drinks out of a bottle! She LOVES her bottle. I have tried (more than once) to wean her from it. She screams and will not sleep so I end up giving it back to get peace and quiet. It is totally a comfort thing at this point. She has had a rash around her mouth (at times up to her nose and down to her chin) that the Dr. said is from her bottle (the constant moisture.) So a little bit more incentive to wean her right? Well...she is currently recovering from ear infections (school has started so she immediately got sick!) I'm committed this soon as she gets better!

~ A recent thing, she carries around a blanket and her rabbit while she is drinking the bottle. She drags around all 3 things when its time for cuddles. Its pretty cute.

~ She is a grunter & a growler. She makes deep bear noises while she is playing and especially when someone is chasing her.

~ She has been trained well by her old sister and loves to color. I think most of it is all about being included with Emma. But she has been known to color/draw all by herself when no one else is around.

~ She loves dolls and purses. Anything she can tote around when she doesn't have the bottle, blanket and rabbit combo. She loves to feed the babies and put treasures in the purses.

~ Doesn't really speak words. She talks a lot I just haven't found the heavenly translator yet. She is constantly jabbering about something and everything. If only I could flip the switch and understand her. She has and knows words but she is beyond stubborn about saying them when you want her too. She will bust out a word or too in the correct context and completely surprise you but refuses to say it again when you ask. Tuesday night the kids and I were making pizza for dinner and she was loving the olives. She kept grunting at me for more. When I withheld them and asked to her say please in order to get one she would, every single time! Maybe I need to stock up on olives to increase her vocab!

~ She demands attention when she wants something. Either with yelling or she will push and tug at your legs until she gets what she wants (usually her bottle.) She is a very strong willed little lady.

~ She loves the preschool room. She has now determined that she is old enough to be involved in everything and thinks she owns the place. She is constantly rearranging the calendar and putting surprises in the mailbox.

~ She doesn't like nursery. Of course she loved it at 16 and 17 months but the minute she was legal, not so much!

~ She loves music. Dancing came almost the same day as walking. She has sat through hundreds of piano lessons (in the womb - present day.) She likes to play right along with them or bop in time to the music. She likes the singing part too. She will jabber along in song while she plays. After Austin plays twinkle little star on the piano she will keeping singing the tune after he's done.

~ She can open the door and loves to go outside and exercise her freedom. We lock the doors. It works for now.

~ She loves to "clean." She pulls out baby wipes (the whole box if you'd let her!) and wipes down every surface at her height.

~ She is a good eater. She loves to feed herself and has been eating at the table with us for a long time. She doesn't like ice cream. Never really has. Big fan of candy though.

~ She is hilarious! She can make all her siblings laugh and loves the attention it brings. She is giving Spence a run for his money on being "the funny one."

~ She is the center of our lives, the baby of the family (as if you couldn't tell by now! As the oldest child I am completely doing the things I said I'd never do with the baby of the family! Oh well.) The older siblings dote on her, shower her with affection and attention and do just about anything for her. She does live up to her nickname - the house rises and sets around our Rooster girl. Thank you for blessing us with your shining life. WE LOVE YOU!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rooster's Siblings

Emma Lynn is a fabulous big sister. She is always helping me with Rooster and everything else for that matter. She is so proud that she has even put hRooster down for her nap a few times. I'm blessed with such a good, willing helper. She rarely complains about her chores and does them without being asked most of the time. She likes to have things cleaned up. She has become my right hand, working along with me in preschool and Young Women stuff. I'm grateful for such a good friend and daughter.

Spencer is doing well in preschool. Its fun to see him in this setting and excited to be apart of it. I am impressed with how much he knows. I know that sounds funny but he has always been such a tease! He would never answer correctly when I asked him a question b/c he's always trying to be the funny guy. In the the school setting I've been able to observe a little and I've really enjoyed that. The other day he was sniffling while we were driving and asked for a Kleenex (miracle in and of itself!) I didn't have any with me but before I could respond there a big SNIFF from the back seat. "Hey, I just sneezed it back in! Mom, I don't need a Kleenex any more! I sneezed it back in!"

Austin has been learning that he can't hang out with everyone in first grade. Sometimes his friends or classmates make bad choices and that might mean he shouldn't play with them (although we are stressing that we should still be kind to them.) 2 friends had a plan that involved kissing older girls (he wouldn't tell us the details of the plan because he knew it was bad.) He told this friend that the only girl he would ever kiss was his mom! Aaahhhh, so sweet. I'm glad that he didn't want to join in with the bad plan and had the courage to say something about it. I hope I'm the only girl he kisses for a very, very, very long time!

Time Out

Last weekend (Friday 09/11 and Saturday 09/12) I went to Time Out for Women in Boise. It is a women's conference sponsored by Deseret Book. This was my first time going. It was such a FABULOUS weekend! It was so rejuvenating and energizing. It gave me the fuel to keep going (in the right direction) and double check my priorities.

Krystal and I drove over together and spent the night at her friend Amy's house. Jamie met us Saturday morning in Nampa. I was so glad she could come. There was a group of ladies from our ward and we all sat together and had lunch together. It was fun to share that with them.

I picked up a few books too. After every speaker I wanted to buy their book! I think they do it on purpose!;) Krystal, Jamie and I are all sharing what we read each week with each other (time out commitment encouragement program!)

At the beginning of the conference they encouraged us to write down ONE thing that we KNOW for sure. Without a doubt.
"I know that Jesus is my Savior. That is lives today and He is at the head of this church."

And then during the conference through the talks and impression from the Holy Ghost share another "I know" statement that you learned this weekend. I really don't want to share my "I know" statement but I do want to (need to) record it. So here is goes,
"I know that I'm not done having children."

This was witnessed to me both Friday and Saturday (and I bawled both times.) I have felt so done with 4 children that apparently the Lord has to hit me over the head before I can get it. And I also know that it's not happening any time soon. I need time to let it all sink in. I don't feel ill about it if I don't think about it.

I am grateful to Kurt for helping me get to this conference and the support he gives me to become the best I can be. I definitely think a new Time Out tradition is born. They have them all over - if you want to meet up and go together I'm always up for a road trip!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Saucy Date

Last weekend I went to Time Out for Women (more about that to come) but it seems like ever since I got home things got extra crazy and busy. Hanging onto the edge of spinning out of control. Nothing short of a normal week. I did get 2 cavities filled on Monday plus a YW leader BBQ and took Rooster to the Dr. Tuesday (ear infections.)

It just seems like I'm being thrown a curve ball this week since I was all rejuivnated and reengerized from my uplifting weekend. Satan is shouting out me, "You will never master your time management skills!"

Whoah I can feel it!

But anyways my husband deserves a major shout out b/c he is always so supportive and helpful of everything I try to do. I wouldn't accomplish anything without his help. And I need to be better in recogizing and telling him that.

Tonight after I got home from mutual (@ 9:50 pm) we started canning applesauce together. It was a first for both of us. It was messy and saucy but it went faster working together and we actually got to talk and the apples are finally done. Definitely a great date in my book! I'm not so sure Kurt agrees. ;) Thanks for your help, you are amazing! I heart you forever.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I dream of an immaculate, organized life. No paper cluttering every counter, random little toys under foot and out seasoned clothes spilling out of the closets.

I'm not sure I'll ever get there! We run too much on survival mode. But I try to take small steps that'll help things run more smoothly.

These chore charts are one such idea. They were a long time in the making but they finally got hung early this week. I'm lovin' them! Of course the novelty of a new idea/system is still very much in full effect. Hopefully we can stick through it even after the newness wears off.

The kids and I made magnets together and after they complete the chore they place a magnet by that item.

I found some good ideas and printables from What are your favorite organization tips and sources?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bully Creek BBQ

Originally I planned to do my last camping trip of the season over Labor Day weekend. After preschool started I realized that I had better stick close to home and get some things done (surely I'd played enough during the summer!)

I still wanted to do something fun since we had a long weekend. So Monday for FHE we invited the family and went out to Bully Creek (with the plans for the kids to go fishing. After a few fish were caught they were satisfied even though no one in our family actually caught one. That works, glad they're happy.)

It was a nice evening. We definitely need to do that more often!

The biggest, coolest Cheetos EVER!

The Annual Bob

It seems like every year (well for the past 3 anyhow) right before or after Emma Lynn's birthday we chop off her hair and go for the timeless bob. It happened on Saturday this year. I think it's the shortest cut yet and I did quite a bit more stacking in the back than usual. It turned out cute. Mainly because she is so cute! I love the bob for the fact that it is fast and easy. Emma Lynn isn't a huge fan of me brushing her hair which can be a problem with long hair! So when the battle of the brush begins we pull out the scissors. It always seems to be in September...interesting. Maybe next year before she starts kindergarten we'll splurge and take her to a salon instead of the ol' ma hack job.



After back view

Friday, September 4, 2009


When I moved to Vale 3 years ago I tried to embrace country life in an effort to love my new home. One of those embracing activities was canning. My friend Marji introduced me to the world of canning jars, gleaning fruit & veggies, and finding joy in kitchen sweat during the harvest season.

I was so surprised to discover that I truly did find joy in canning. Yes it is a lot of work. But the process of finding or growing produce, preparing and storing is enjoyable. There is nothing like a row was gleaming jars straight from the canner! You know what was put in there, it is healthier, most times cheaper and you cannot beat the satisfaction of knowing you are preparing and providing for your family's future.

I've been pretty basic in my canning adventures. A friend said she was going to make some salsa (which I had never done before) so I thought I should make some too. Another friend let us come glean from her massive garden yesterday and this morning we got to work. All the kids helped me make the salsa. Later we snipped the ends off 2 buckets of green beans (we cleaned some scissors and cut the ends off. So fun!) We made a great team and had lots of fun together! Thanks for all your hard work today!

Austin blanching tomatoes

Spencer running the Bosch (dicing peppers and onions)

Emma Lynn stirring everything

I can't wait to try it!

Home Again

June 3 - 9, 2018 Sunday, 06.03 Monday, 06.04   Tuesday, 06.05 Wednesday, 06.06 Happy 2nd Birthday to sweet Eleanor!! ...