Monday, December 14, 2009

Adventures with the 'Family' Photo

My kind cousin-in-law has taken our pictures every year since we moved to Idaho. She is wonderful with the kids and does a fabulous job. But this year I was a little slow to schedule so I agreed to one of the last warmish days left that she had available. When I finally let Greg know when we were doing the pictures he told me he would be out of town. So we decided to just do kid pictures - they're the ones everyone wants to see anyway - right? The plan and would have worked great but Kate got sick the week before the pictures and was still in that less-than-pleasant mood. I had to force her outfit on (a pink dress I assumed she would love, but she still refuses to wear it) and stand in every picture with her or she would just walk away screaming. Even the candy didn't really help (at least it stopped the screaming). But we have some fabulous pictures of the three oldest kids. So much for the 'family' photo this year.
This is the only picture we have of all four kids without me in it - and Kate was trying to exit as quickly as possible.This face is almost happy thanks to M & M's.

Some of you might not have seen Natali in her new specs. She got the glasses the day before the pictures. She was so excited to get glasses that for a while I was worried she would fake her test just to get them, but I sat in on her exam and I'm pretty sure she needs them. I let her pick out the frames - she did pretty good huh?
Now just to contrast Kate, all of Mack's pictures look like he is straight out of an Old Navy ad.
Andrew loves cheese and you can't help but smile back.
Cristi managed to steal this brief smile at the very end of our photo shoot. But don't be deceived into thinking Kate was actually smiling of her own accord - I was holding her while I hid behind a tree and tickled her.

I am so blessed to have these crazy kids.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pirates have green teeth - when they have any teeth at all!

Every year before Halloween the elementary school has their Halloween Parade. All the kids dress up and walk around the school showing each other their costumes. It is such a fun tradition and parents are invited to come watch. Well this year when Mack's teacher saw me she said, "Mack is really taking this pirate thing seriously." Then pirate Mack smiled to reveal a missing tooth. He was just beaming. Then when Natali walked by she freaked out telling me Mack lost his first tooth...I love that she was so excited for him.

Anyway, for the rest of the day he called anyone he could think of to tell them about his tooth. He felt like he had something stuck in his tooth and basically just pulled the tooth out thinking it was a popcorn kernel.
The best part about losing your tooth at school is the fancy necklace you get to put it in!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween

Halloween night the Eastons and Wilfords joined the hoards of kids cruising around our neighborhood. It didn't take long to come to a few conclusions 1- next year we are dividing into groups according to age. Then the kids that want to run door to door can do so without the trail of kids and parents crying behind them to wait up. 2- Review etiquette beyond just saying 'trick or treat' and 'thank you'. Be more specific like telling Andrew it is rude to scream "GIMME SOME" and don't ever say things like "What? Only one?".

After a few streets Val and I started home with Kate and Luke. We were still knocking on doors then I asked Kate what she wanted to do. Her simple answer, "Go home and eat it!". Overwhelmed with her quantity of candy she was happy to sit at home and feast. And she did! I think she ate more than half her candy that night. Natali was so disappointed that Kate chose to be Cinderella again, rather than the pink fairy Natali was when she was two. But Kate was determined to wear her "blue rella" dress and she loved wearing real lipstick.

Natali thought it was great being a witch. I liked that she wore the same witch costume all my sisters and I used as kids. However, the orange wig is a new addition from Aunt Val. Natali got lots of comments about her cool hair, but she removed it by the end of the night because she was too hot (such and nice night). You can't tell from this picture but I really think her favorite part was wearing all the make up she could find.
Mack really loved his mustache - who wouldn't.

Somehow we have no individual photo of Andrew. He was a T-Rex, which he made clear to anyone who mistakenly called him a dragon. Since all the other kids had make-up on he couldn't be left out so he had a speckling of dots on his face and he was happy. He really got into character; at every door he screamed "TRICK OR TREAT". You could hear it from across the street. Gotta love Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Katers says...

My favorite Kate quotes:

Whenever I give Kate a no answer her reply is "Later?". This cracks me up but got even funnier Tuesday when she handed me a DVD as I was picking her up for bed. I said no and was expecting to hear "Later?"but was surprised to hear "Friday?".

The other day Kate was frustrated with Andrew and suddenly yelled, "No, Anrew Reed!". She had never used his middle name before. Andrew and I looked at each other and just started laughing. He kept asking how she knew - she doesn't miss much.

We have been talking a lot about how mommy has a baby in her tummy but lately if you ask Kate, "Who has a baby in their tummy?" she will respond, "me".

Mack Is 6

For Mack's Birthday we stayed home and watched conference, but I think he loved it because it was a birthday party all day long. He opened his first present before conference started and spent the whole session drawing on the marker board from Grandma Dame. (She also gave him a large pad of paper that he had filled up less than three weeks later- most pages front and back.) Then after the session was over he opened more presents. He loved his hammer and Bakugans - I can't really figure out what these are but he loves them.
When conference was over we had dinner of his choice - cheese rice - to Greg's horror. Then he decorated his cake. I'm sure his skills with a pencil are better than with a tube of runny frosting but you can still tell it is a football field. But sadly you can't really see the 'Y' or the symbol of the Mountain West Conference that he took great pains to include. He had a great day but it is still so hard to believe that my little Macky is really 6 years old. We love you Mack!

My Office

Before I got sick with this pregnancy we moved the boys room around to make room for their new dresser (with drawers that actually worked). Their room has a totally bizarre long narrow space it it and after moving the furniture we ended up with nothing in this space but an old night stand. Mack looked at it, pulled up a chair, and claimed it at his office. He moved all his prized possessions into the space and it has been his office ever since. He sits back there at night before lights out and draws and draws. In fact I don't think that he can actually get to the desk anymore because the floor space has been filled with drawings. I love how he immerses himself in his drawing. He will get an idea, go to his room, and come back an hour later with little 5 inch football players made with paper and tape dressed in the colors and helmets of different college teams. He is so amazing.Well it came as no surprise that Andrew needed an office of his own. So we brought in the folding table and another chair. He immediately piled his table with books. While Mack draws Andrew makes trip after trip to the bookshelf. (Too bad he hasn't learned how to put them back on the shelf.) Although, he has started to ask Mack to draw him pictures and then he will color them.
Their offices are usually in a state of disaster, but it sure is fun to watch them each at their own desk enjoying themselves so thoroughly and peacefully - it can't last long.

Fall In A Flash

Well fall has almost come and gone and I have spent the best of it indoors. Baby number five has proved to be a little more difficult than the previous four and has sucked most of the energy out of me, along with the usual meals. But thanks to a wonderful mother, sister, and extremely patient husband we have all managed to get through the first trimester. The kids have been somewhat deprived of attention as evidenced from comments from Natali, "Mom, why don't you move anymore?" or from Andrew, "How does the baby tell you that it is going to be sick if you don't eat soon?" We are all grateful to put the last few months behind us.

In the meantime school is off and running. These pictures are a little late in coming but they were actually taken on the first day of school. Natali's 1st grade teacher moved up to 2nd grade with her and that has been good. She is doing great and loving school as usual. She even started reading Harry Potter tonight- I can hardly believe she is old enough. Mack is loving kindergarten. He goes in the afternoon but spends most of the morning asking if he can go to school yet. He doesn't say much in class because he saves it all for me; when he gets home I love to hear all about everything that happened. He is doing wonderful and soaks up anything his teacher offers. She even said that he has started raising his hand in class, a good sign that he is getting comfortable.

Andrew has started preschool and it has proven wonderful. Last year he had no interest in letters, numbers, or writing/drawing or any kind. Suddenly he recognizes letters other than A, tries to make rhymes, and asks what letter words start with--he also tries to count to 100 and can actually be found coloring and trying to write. I guess he just needed more time and I am so excited to see his new interest; but don't be too worried he still corrects everyone in class if they say anything about animals that isn't correct.
Kate in the meantime has learned that with everyone else gone she can usually do whatever she wants, which usually means watch a show. She misses the big kids and is often asking if she can "go too". Since I have been sick she really hasn't bee out much, and misses it-especially the bike rides. Toward the end of summer Mack surprised us all but learning to ride his bike with very little effort from the parents. So I got a bike and trailer for my birthday and we spent the early part of fall enjoying the nice weather and taking a lot of rides. Andrew and Kate loved it. Greg even bought a bike. Now five or so flat tires later we are still loving it. So with baby, school, bikes and football fall has flown by and we are all excited to try and figure out where we will put the baby when we ride next fall.

Monday, August 31, 2009

McCall - One Last Time

Before school started we were able to go to McCall one last time. It was nice to be up there with just my kids. I find such peace up there and I just enjoy my kids. There are no calls to make, no errands to run, and no pressing vacation must-do's, it is just me and my kids doing whatever they want. It is good for all of us.

We got there late Thursday night and the kids played while I chatted with my Aunt Kalleen and Uncle Jed. Most of my memories of McCall have them in it so it was wonderful to spend some time with them. They also took us on a boat ride to Ice Cream Alley, something I could not have accomplished on my own.

We took a walk with our berry picking buckets and in no time found huckleberries. The kids were busy filling up their buckets, all except Kate who ate every berry she found. We soon discovered that only Andrew and Kate even like the berries, so those two feasted (evidenced by Kate's purple tongue).

The kids built forts which became cages while we pretended Zoo. We swam in the pool, built sand castles and interesting water ways, and the kids all swam from the shore to the end of the dock over and over (with life jackets) but as usual I took no pictures.

Greg came up Friday night and enjoyed a day of vacation, played some tennis with the kids and took the boys hiking. It was such a nice way to end the summer. I love that place..

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Mack played on his first basketball team this summer. Watching a bunch of 5 year olds learn to dribble can be pretty amusing. Greg and I were out of town for his first game but my sister took him. After the game he told them exactly what the score had been (the coaches and ref don't keep track). Is he Greg's son or what? Then he said that he thought he was going to have fun playing basketball because the boys on his team had "nice faces". So cute.

Well he never touched the ball the first game and rarely did so in the games after that. I started getting ready to sign him up for fall soccer but he said he wanted to do B-ball again- I'm thinking why? He just didn't seam to be catching on - until the last game. I guess he had just been observing before to make sure he understood what to do. He stole the ball once and played good defence. Then he actually shot and made his first two baskets! Afterwards he was so excited and told me, "I made 2 baskets. That's why I want to do basketball again."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


We wanted to go to Glacier National Park this year but as the summer came to a close 10 hours in the van didn't sound very exciting to anyone, so off to Yellowstone. We all love Yellowstone, though most of us call it Lellowstone.

On the drive there the tire pressure light kept coming on but we managed to make it to our campground where I ran the battery dry shinning lights so we could set up our tent in the dark. Luckily, after a few minutes, we got the van to start again. After a cold but decent nights sleep we woke to a flat tire. It didn't slow us down much though. It was patched and we were ready to see some carnivores.

The kids were so excited to see wolfs and bears. We saw tons of bison. So many that after the first day even Kate could spot them. I will spare you the pictures.

But, we did take an amazing hike. The kids managed to go for three hours all through bear territory. I'm not kidding the trail head said don't go with less than four people (I don't think they meant kids). No bears, but the sights were so beautiful and Natali did spot a weasel (the only carnivore they saw in Yellowstone).
The kids did great on the kike but their favorite was the geysers. So much so that in every picture we tried to take in front of one Andrew wouldn't look at the camera because, "I just want to see the geyser".

We tried to see Old Faithful, but happened to arrive at the same time as The President, so we found ourselves a nice little stream to explore. The grass was super long so the kids hid and I tried to find them before they jumped out and ate me (they were usually some kind of carnivore - big shock). We had such fun, even after Natali put both feet in a hidden fork of the stream.
Don't you love Kate's outfit. She insisted on wearing her favorite dress over her pants and turtleneck. And the red jacket was the perfect touch.

We all had such fun exploring Yellowstone, but the kids were disappointed not to see the big carnivores again (we didn't see any last year either). However, we drove through Grand Teton National Park on the way home and a grizzly bear ran across the road just a few cars in front of us. All the kids watched it run across the meadow. We couldn't have asked for a better end to the trip.

Another Summer Come and Gone

It has been a while because I have been enjoying summer. I'm not even going to try to catch up but here is a list of some important firsts from the past three months. Sadly, most of them have no picture. I enjoy the moments and usually let someone else take the pictures. Which works great when there is someone else around...

Mack learned to ride a bike. One day he wasn't close--the next day he was riding. He taught himself how to get started and ride over the curb. Nothing stops that kid once he's decided to do something. He also learned to swim (cousin pressure)!

Kate learned to float on her back. A skill she rarely uses because she usually just walks around the pool looking cute. A baby sitter painted Kate's nails pink, and they have been pink ever since. She loves it and shows everyone her "pink".

After a summer playing Rock Band with Uncle Spencer and the cousins my kids can sing every word to "Eye of the Tiger" and "Livin' on a Prayer". Andrew does sing "we're naked I swear" instead of "we'll make it I swear", but close enough right?

Natali learned the breast stroke, loved the big rides at Roaring Springs, and misses all of the cousin sleepovers.

I loved spending time with our families. Watching the kids play with their cousins. Swimming everyday and playing hard. I'm sad it's over but it will probably be good for all of us to back on schedule. Good bye summer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Turning 4 at the Zoo

Andrew requested to go to the Zoo for his birthday. No big surprise since tigers, or animals in general, take leading roles in 90% of the library books, bed time stories, and games Andrew picks out. His favorite shirt (he is wearing it in the pictures) is an 18 month shirt (yes he is turning 4) but it has a tiger on it so he really won't let me take it away. We ended up spending about 6 hours at the zoo and he loved it.Some family joined us and I forgot my camera, but luckily Aunt Kerri acted as photographer. We played 'Candle, Candle, who's got the Candle' and 'Simon Says' . Aunt Val would do everything Simon said and the kids thought it was so funny. This picture is great because it catches Val pretending to be bugged that she messed up again, and shows Andrew cracking up. I brought candles but forgot fire, so he pretended to blow the candles out. I love Kate's cupcake face. All the kids needed a good wash down by the end.Well Andrew loved the zoo. Seeing real Tigers, Snow Leopards, Lions, and Bald Eagles is pretty cool for your birthday. His Grandma Dame even gave him a whole family of Tigers, which made it onto his birthday cake later that night, along with the snow leopard from his cousins.All but one of his gifts had tigers on it in some form. He can tell you which tigers are the biggest, what they eat, where they live, and that they have the biggest canines...he even corrected my brother when he tried to convince the boys that only dogs had canines, hence the name canines.

Andrew is such a fun, energetic kid, but he also loves to snuggle up on my lap and be read to, especially if the book as to do with tigers. He keeps me on my toes, and keeps us all laughing, we love this guy.

I'm Grateful

Last night as I was saying prayers with Kate I realized that my prayer was laking in "We're thankful for...". As I said my own prayers that night I asked for nothing; I just expressed thanks. I felt such peace when I was done. All the things that weighed on my mind seamed lighter. So in an attempt to continue to show more gratitude here are a few things I have been grateful for this spring.

I am grateful that my kids have enjoyed soccer. Natali and Mack have improved a lot. Mack has lived for practice and games. He plays soccer in the backyard, at his practice, with Natali's team practice, and at his games. He really loves it and is getting pretty good. I will miss watching his passion for it. However, as much as I am grateful they loved it, I am more grateful it is over. We have our Saturday's back (not to mention Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights).

I am grateful for the celebration of Easter. I know that Christ truly lives, that it was He who created all the vibrant colors and new life of spring. I can't comprehend His love for us, but when I think of the love I have for my own children I am overwhelmed with how much greater His perfect love must be. I am so grateful for His sacrifice and His infinite love.
I am grateful that after writing this post I may have finally cemented in my brain the the correct spelling of grateful (that is the correct spelling right?)

I am grateful for Mother's Day and the chance to reflect on the powerful example of so many mothers in my life. My mother's patience and soft, gentle voice. My mother-in-law's passion for learning. My Grandma's faith and determination. My sisters teaching me through their experiences. Friends letting me know I'm not the only one who has rough days.

Thank you.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

When I got in the shower last week the boys were playing happily in the sand box (clothed I might add). This is what greeted me when I got out. They filled each others underwear with sand and eventually took the undies off as well. Hilarious.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Natali is 7!

It is so hard to believe that my little girl is 7. So here are 7 random things about my wonderful 7 year old (accompanied by some random B-day photos).

  • Books: Natali reads every night in bed. She usually reads a book a night, meticulously keeping track of how long she read so she can report the time and the plot to me, her teacher, Greg, or anyone else who will listen. She loves to read, but I think her favorite part is having an excuse to stay up late.

  • Nat: When she was born I thought maybe we would call her "Nat" or "Natty", but we never did. She has always been Natali--till first grade. When I go to help out at school most of the kids and the teacher call her Nat. So suddenly she has a nickname. Kind of weird, but I don't mind.
  • Soccer: She is playing her second year of soccer. It is an all girls team with only 5 girls (most teams have 8) so it has really forced her to step up, and she has. Each game she looks better and better. However, I still think her favorite part is just being with the other girls on the team.

  • Singing: Natali continues to love to sing. She has joined the ward choir and she still enjoys Childrens Choir as well. She came home from choir the other night, put her face right in mine and said, "See!" I noticed her already big eyes were especially huge, but was missing the point until she explained that she had her eye brows up, "Like you should when you are singing".

  • Big Sister: Natali loves being the oldest. She runs and gets this and that, keeps her eyes on the little ones, and keeps everyone in line. They all can't wait till she gets home from school. She shares her treats from soccer or birthday parties, and goes out of her way to try and make everyone happy.

  • Social Butterfly: Natali continues to amaze us with her love to anyone...especially new people. She has no fear; she strikes up conversations with anyone, anywhere. For instance--on her birthday she was telling our neighbor all about the purple dress her grandma gave her and how she was going to be baby-sat that night. She told him Greg and I were going to a church thing and then asked him if he ever went to church. No fear!

  • Big Kid Talk: Suddenly, we have moments where we can talk to Natali about big kid stuff. Example--the other night she started asking me questions about the Great Depression (she had just finished a fictional story about a girl in the 30's). We talked about what it was like then and how some similar things are going on today, on a smaller scale. She talked about how lucky she was to have enough to eat, and how glad she was that her dad had a job. I loved it! It was so rewarding to see her connecting the dots and seeing the bigger picture, if only for a moment.

I am so excited to watch her continue to grow and learn. It is such fun. We love you Natali!