Thursday, July 31, 2008

Day Four

It's day four of the bigs' being back at school and so far today Gabe has poured a bottle of shampoo on the top of his head (after his bath and getting fully dressed), brushed the "mirror" instead of his teeth - yummy - and raided the chocolate chip cookies (previously mentioned). Lest you think this is all just a cry for attention we've also read stories and practiced letters and cuddled for part of the day. This poor kid is bored and I'm pooped. Losing my biggest helpers STINKS!

I have had fun with the littles though, we went shopping the other day and they loved being out and about. It's just SO weird having Josh and Sam gone for ALL day, we all miss them and can't wait for off-track time, just 8 more weeks and one day. Sigh.

Adventures in Mowing...

Awhile ago, maybe as far back as last Fall, I remember talking to my friend Jenna on the phone and asking her how her day was going. She said it was going great and that she just got done mowing the lawn.

"What?! - did you say YOU just got done mowing the lawn?!" I asked in surprise. To which she replied that yes, SHE just got done mowing the lawn. I must have sounded more shocked than I meant to because she went on to tell me that it is something that she chooses to do and that she actually finds it kind of therapeutic. My little brain said "WHATEVER!" in my head and thought about all the times Mark mows the lawn and how hard it looks, it didn't seem very therapeutic to me. But, lately I got to thinking... Jenna has never steered me wrong before. In fact, quite the opposite, she is truly the strongest example of the person I want to be that I've ever had. This is no secret to her, I tell her all the time that I want to be Jenna when I grow up (despite the fact we're nearly the same age). I've yet to talk to her even when things might not be going great for one or both of us that I don't walk away feeling refreshed, energized and like a daughter of God. Plus, she also introduced me to the concept of "toilets and towels on Tuesdays" ....not a hard concept, just a matter of cleaning your bathrooms and washing your towels on Tuesdays - something that has truly stuck with me and sometimes even worked! I've also adopted her idea of everyone in the family owning their own color of towel (thanks to Charlotte buying us all our own color) and having a towel hook in their room. On Tuesdays, you wash the towels and hang them back on everybody's hooks and you're good for a week....or sometimes two or three if - like me, you only remember that it is Tuesday every other week or so. :)

ANYWAY, like I said, lately I got to thinking that Jenna has never steered me wrong before...maybe, just maybe there IS something to this lawn mowing thing. I decided one day to try it out. The timing was perfect, it was the week of Mark's birthday and what better present to give your hubby than the day off from mowing the lawn, right? So, I asked Mark to teach me the ropes and off I went! I mowed while he trimmed, we were the perfect team. I actually had FUN - I liked soaking up the sun and making cool designs in the grass. Not bad, I thought - and definitely worth trying again...someday. Well, "someday" came a little earlier than planned as the very next week on the night before "lawn mowing day" Mark didn't get much sleep. I was sort of responsible since I stayed up talking maybe a little bit too loudly to Charlotte and Mikele who had come to stay for a few days. Since I felt partly responsible I couldn't make Mark who was running on like 3 hours of sleep come home and mow - so I did it again, and this time solo. I enjoyed it the second time almost more than the first. Jenna was RIGHT! (though I never really doubted her) it WAS therapeutic - I could really get used to this! I e-mailed Mark and told him that I mowed again and that he didn't have to come home and do it. He jokingly asked if anyone we knew drove by and saw me and I joked back and told him "only our bishop, stake president and most of the elders quorum, not to worry" :) hee,hee. So, anyway, this morning I woke up and thought "Hey, it's Thursday - time to mow the lawn" and off I went. I really enjoy being able to get into a rhythm and just think and ponder. I think about my cute neighbor across the street when I'm mowing toward her house and I think about my cute neighbor next door to me when I'm mowing on the side of my house - I think about how blessed I am to live in this neighborhood, in this house and in this country. I look at the mountains on both sides of me and realize how beautiful our state is and just feel happy to be alive and I think about how my hard working husband won't have to come home and worry about working even harder and that makes me happy.

BUT, since I AM a girl after all I realized on this third go-around that I do have a few fears ...things that I bet Mark has never thought twice about...for instance:

What if I get a blister in these shoes since I refuse to wear socks with them because it looks too dorky....yeah, it would be worth it, there's NO way I'm wearing socks with these shoes.

What if my shirt looks too tight and shows all my fat.....maybe I should have worn one of Mark's t-shirts instead. Nah, then I would have looked frumpy...this one will have to do.

What if the Wasps resting happily in the nest that Joshua just found under the mailbox decide to initiate war on me while mowing and attack me from behind.

Speaking of bugs, what if ALL the bugs that I disturb while traipsing through the bushes (and there are a LOT of them) decide to join the wasps in their declaration of War and attack me from all sides. ....ewwww!

What if I do it wrong and Mark has to do it all over again.

What if I break the lawn mower and we have to buy a new stupid lawn mower instead of the flat screen tv that I really want instead.

What if the blower thing that Mark uses to blow all the grass clippings back on the lawn, that seems to weigh 10 times what I weigh (though realistically probably weighs less than ten pounds) suddenly switches to sucking power instead and sucks me and Gabe in. ACK!

What if the poisonous mushrooms that Gabe has scattered all over the lawn turn airborne when mowed/crunched up and I fall to my death on my freshly clipped grass and the lawn mower mows over me. Double ACK!

Okay, so I didn't really worry about the last two things...just needed some more items to make my point. :)

Thankfully, none of the above happened I didn't get a blister after all, and maybe after a good summers' worth of mowing I'll burn off all my fat and not have to worry about my shirt. Yeah, I'll go with that.

I also kind of wanted to try to mow a heart shape into the front but was too afraid I'd mess it up...I bet Mark's never had that thought either. :)

AND, I've decided the blower thing hates me. Oh, and it's stupid. And heavy. And stupid. And if it's secretly alive I bet it laughs at me while I try to use it, I can't blame it, I would laugh at me too because it's heavy and I can't hold it right and end up blowing all the grass INTO the garage and have to go deeper inside to blow it back out and it's stupid. (and if Gabe could read he'd be telling me right now "mommy, don't say too-pid")
Oh, and this is what happens when you send your 3 year old to his room for having a chocolate chip cookie party while you were mowing the lawn (when you've told him ALL morning that he can't have a cookie because he didn't eat his eggs) and then you sort of forget about him because you needed to take a picture of the lawn that you are so proud of to e-mail to your husband. oops. Sorry sweetheart, I will make it up to you when you wake up, I promise! (and in my defense, he fell asleep in less than 5 minutes...that's only 2 minutes longer than his normal time-out time so he must have really needed a nap today...right?)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

First day of school!

The big boys started school on Monday. I can't believe it is school time already. We've been on D-track pretty much every year until now and D-track doesn't start until the end of August but this year we switched tracks so they got jipped out of 3 whole weeks of their normal summer. I think I'm more upset about this than they are though because they were so excited to start 4th and 1st grade!

Sam had a bit of a rough start on his very first day by getting on the wrong bus and worrying me to death. The school had to call the bus dispatch to find out where my scared little 6 year old was! They found out that he was in fact on another bus and would be coming back to the school to drop him off to me. Whew! His cute teacher was worried too, poor lady! What a way to start your first day! He got off the bus and looked like he was about to cry so I just hugged him and asked him how his little adventure was and that I was so happy he was safe. Joshua however couldn't hold back (apparently big brother was scared too) and said "SAM! YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR ME WHEN YOU GET OUT OF SCHOOL, YOU HAVE TO GET ON THE RIGHT BUS, I WILL SHOW YOU WHICH BUS TO GET ON TOMORROW, YOU CAN'T DO THAT SAMUEL!!" I had to chuckle before telling him to chill and that Sam had been through enough as it was. Poor kid.

We are going to miss these big boys. I'm not sure who will miss them more, Gabe who will miss his playmates or me who will miss the help with Gabe. They've had such a fun week so far, they both love their teachers and Sam LOVES getting to have lunch in the cafeteria. Here's to a great year!!!

Oh just an FYI...the pictures above are what happens when you throw your boys in front of the house (not realizing it's in total sun and they are closing their eyes) because the bus is nearly at the bus stop and you really don't want to drive them, but also can't fathom not getting their picture on this special day. Sigh. Maybe I'll take more and pretend they were on the first day of school - they'll never remember, right?!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Today was such a wonderful Sunday. We started out the day by helping Joshua prepare for a talk he was supposed to give in Primary. Mark is such a wonderful speaker/teacher and he helped Josh by giving him some tips and pointers. Our little 9 year old ended up going up to the front of the room without a single look back and giving an incredible talk about the importance of missionary work and what even kids can do to help bring others to the Gospel - he didn't even use his notes! I just missed it and was so disapointed, but Mark was there and he and others told me what a great job he did with tears in their eyes. The amazing thing about it is that with Joshua, something even as simple as a 2 minute primary talk prepared the morning before it is supposed to be given can turn into an incredible spiritual event. I have no doubt in my mind that this boy is meant for great things. Just the fact that he was chosen to be the leader of 3 younger brothers tells me that his work on this earth is just beginning. I am so lucky to be his mom.

Then we had the opportunity to go and listen to Brandon give a talk in Sacrament meeting. He is preparing to go on his mission and his spirit and countenance is visibly changing and getting stronger right before our eyes. I had trouble fighting the tears as I listened to his words and felt the Spirit surrounding me. He is such a wonderful young man and I'm so proud of him. It may or may not have also helped that other than Will sleeping peacefully in my lap I was pretty much childless. My boys were all sitting next to or on the laps of their cousins and Aunt and Mark and I heard every word spoken in Sacrament meeting for quite possibly the first time in 9 years! It was bliss to say the least! :)

During Scripture study tonight we were reading in 1st Nephi chapter 17 about Nephi giving his brothers a speech about listening to our God and following his commandments. One of the examples Nephi gives is of Moses freeing the people from bondage. As soon as Gabe heard the word Moses he piped up "Hey! I know dat! We did yearn (learn) about dat in MY class!" I just said "yeah, you know him huh!" and tried to keep going thinking that he didn't REALLY know what he was talking about until he said "Uh-huh! And him did go in a basket in the water, we did read about him in my class" Mark and I couldn't believe that he really knew the story of baby Moses and could recount it just by hearing his name. Thank you thank you nursery leaders! We LOVE you!

What a wonderful day. We love Sundays. We are so thankful for our family and all of our blessings.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Birthday Fun!

I love our spring and summer birthdays. When we had Joshua in June it made our birthdays all in the summer. June, July and August. I really wanted my next baby in May and was so excited when Sam was due on May 5th. Well, he had other ideas and decided to come a week early on April 28th. SO CLOSE! Then when we found out that Gabriel was due May 25th I was elated! This would be perfect - April, May, June, July and August!! I thought even if he was 2 full weeks early he'd still make his debut in May. I didn't plan on him being a MONTH early!! Little stinker! He decided he wanted the first birthday of the year and came a day before Sam on April 27th. So... though we skip May we do have all of our birthdays in the spring and summer which is so much fun. I posted about everyone's birthdays but never posted about the accompanying birthday parties that we had for their special day. Joshua wanted to take some of his friends to Wall-E on opening day so we had to wait for that to come out on June 27th. He took 7 friends and with Sam, Gabe, Mark and I we took up an ENTIRE row in the theatre. Every seat! Will chose to stay home and nap with our babysitter Jessica, which worked out SO nice for us. :) We bought 3 giant tubs of popcorn and every party goer got their own little drink. Then, when we turned in our tickets the guy gave all the kids a Wall-E watch! They were so excited! It was such a fun party, the boys all had a great time. We're so thankful that Joshua has such a cute and fun group of friends!

We also had a little family birthday party on his actual birthday. He requested brownies instead of cake and pizza (of course) for dinner. It was yummy!

We spent Mark's birthday at Ruby River for yummy steak with great friends and family. There wasn't really a movie playing that Mark was dying to see so we thought we'd play games or go bowling instead - we ended up just going home and playing RockBand for a little while and calling it a night since most everyone had a long drive home. For the record, Jeff TOTALLY rocked the microphone and got 98% on his first try! Shar and Dave were brave and sang too. I still haven't tried it, I'm too afraid I'd break the TV! :) Good job guys!

We had so much fun at Sam's birthday party too! He ended up inviting all the boys in his class and all his friends in the neighborhood and all in all there were over 15 kids (I can't remember the exact count but there were A LOT!) He wanted a Ben10 party and we played "Ben, Ben, TEN" (like Duck, Duck, Goose) and played pin the watch on Ben10. Everyone played outside for awhile and we had cake and ice cream. We bought Sam a new Ben10 watch and put it on his cake. He was SOOOO excited when he saw it. The highlight for the boys I think though was painting Ben10 shirts. We've had so much fun lately painting shirts (I'll post more details about that later) and the boys did SUCH a great job painting theirs. I went to take something to Sam at school the next school day and 3 of the boys in his class were proudly wearing their shirts. I was really nervous to attempt painting shirts with 15 six year olds but Mark came home to help and it went surprisingly well! We had such a fun day celebrating the new Mr. Six in our family!!

This is the video of Sam when he saw his cake and watch for the first time. We had to take it all inside to sing and blow out candles because the wind kept blowing the candles out for us!

I was excited to give Gabe his first real party this year and he was so excited too! He had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse party and invited all of his cute little friends. It was only an hour and a half, but WHEW, that was long enough for nine 3 year olds. I made a mental note to myself that 3 is perhaps just a titch too little for a birthday party. I have some priceless pictures though of the little ones crying their eyes out when they had to surrender their presents to the birthday boy. Poor little guys! We had fun Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cupcakes and played some cute games. For the gift bags we did fun little buckets with shovels and treats inside.

Here is a video of us singing Happy Birthday to Gabe (please ignore the completely off-key singing on my part...I usually try to get out of singing when I'm taping, but since I was practically the only one there that knew all the words I had no choice.)

I think that about wraps up the birthdays so far. Will hasn't had a single birthday yet, but that will change on Aug. 24th when he will be ONE - holy cow, I really can't believe he's almost one, WHERE DID THAT YEAR GO?!!

Happy 4th of July!

With the 24th of July just around the corner you may be thinking I mean the 24th of July, but nope - I really mean the 4th of July. We had such a fun day and I've been in a blogging rut so I haven't written about it until now. ANYWAY - here is the gist of our day. :)

We woke up early to participate in our neighborhood 's 7th annual 4th of July parade. We dressed in our red white and blue's and put streamers on our bikes, scooters and stroller. We walked around the neighborhood by the park and met at the church afterward for a yummy pancake breakfast. The boys had such a good time, we were really happy we went and didn't sleep in (which ALSO sounded like lots of fun).

Sam on his scooter:

Josh on his bike:

Me and the littles:

We went home and rested for a minute and happened to catch the Nathan's hot dog eating contest on tv while flipping channels. Sam was with us and insisted on watching it even though he was just as disgusted with it as Mark and I were. Bleck! We were however, hoping (who knows why) that the mustard belt would stay on American soil. Hooray for Joey Chestnut for winning the match in the Nathan's hot dog eating contests' version of "overtime"! :)
Then we filled up the little swimming pool in the backyard and Mark and I surprised the boys by filling up some water balloons and starting and impromptu water fight. They are GOOD little water fighters and even though we totally drenched them and kept control of the water hose for most of the time they still managed to get us completely soaked with their super soakers and balloons. The funniest thing was when Gabe woke up and decided he needed to be in charge of the water hose. He took absolutely no prisoners and just turned it loose on all of us!

We decided this year to go and watch fireworks at a park, which is something we don't usually do. We've had lots of fun in the past by just putting on our own little firework show on our driveway but this time we thought the boys would enjoy seeing them light up the sky. We loaded up our blankets and snacks and stopped on our way to get a little Ceasars pizza and a big drink (Mark's idea and SUCH a good one!) and headed to the park. The only problem is, that there was a rodeo going on also and we didn't realize it would go SOOOO late and since they didn't start the firework show until after the rodeo we seemed to wait FOREVER after it turned dark for them to start. We were happy though that we got to hear our little neighbor across the street do the Mutton Bust at the rodeo. The boys loved hearing his name on the speakers when it was his turn to ride!
It was SUCH a fun family day, we all had a blast and slept good and hard that night. We're so thankful to live in this wonderful and free country and so thankful for all the selfless people that make our freedom possible. Happy Birthday America!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Daddy!!

Today our best friend, husband and daddy turned 34! We are so thankful to have him in our lives! He had to work today which stinks but we celebrated when he got home with a yummy dinner, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and 34 melting candles (I had to change the batteries in my camera at the last minute – which didn’t help the melting candles much), and mint chocolate chip ice cream, some of his favorite things. We bought him a new watch - which he really needed - and the big boys made him a card and Sam gave him a dollar from his bank, they also got him “Rockband” for the Wii. I say got “him” but they pretty much used the excuse of his birthday to beg for Rockband for us - and I couldn’t help it…I caved. We’ve had lots of fun lately with Guitar Hero so we thought this would be a fun way for the whole family to join in on the fun. The boys just loved singing Happy Birthday and eating Daddy’s yummy cake. Will ESPECIALLY loved eating the chocolate cake and was BEGGING for more more more! He was covered in chocolate - it was so cute. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful husband and father, we thank our Heavenly Father for him every single day. Happy Happy Birthday Sweetheart!! We LOVE you!!