Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Life With Number Five

So we have taken to calling the baby The Cuteness. Because he is the cuteness.  The whole family is wrapped around his increasingly chubby little finger.  They run in from school yelling "I get to hold him first!!"  They hang on every crooked smile, yawn, stretch, funny face, ticklish feet, crossed eyes and pouty lip. For some reason they don't feel the same way about changing diapers. :) 

These last few weeks have been so sweet and full of snuggling a snoozing babe.  There's nothing better. Of course there have also been adjustments with sleeping and adding a newborn into the carpool schedules, sports events, dinner making, scouts, piano lessons, youth activities, meetings and etc.  I think we shall get the hang of it eventually.  I still can't believe I have FIVE kids!  Sheesh.  Laundry is insane.  And I can't imagine the grocery bill when I have four grown boys to feed.

Friends and family have taken care of us so amazingly well.  We got so many dinners and treats brought in.  Q was beside himself.  He kept saying, "It sure does taste good to have a new baby!"  He loved it.  Friends brought me lunch and came by to visit and hold the baby.  My mom came for a good ten days and ran the household while I napped and hung out with The Cuteness.  We got many texts, phone calls and well wishes.  Miss B is a fabulous helper and I wish I had a 15-year old girl around for my other babies.  Dennis is so patient and sweet.  He holds the baby and feeds him his bottle and talks softly to him even though it takes forever.  Mr. C loves to watch the crazy faces he makes and thinks he is the cutest thing he's ever seen.  Q loves his tiny feet and toes and one day we were talking and I mentioned that the baby was getting so chubby.  Q responded with, "But that's okay, we still like him anyway..."  Ha!

(3 days to 2 weeks)

These are all photos from my phone. It sure is handy to have a smartphone close by for capturing all those little moments.  I wish I would have had one for the other kiddos. 

(a few days old)

(3.5 weeks...he finally decided a bath wasn't the most horrific experience of his life)

(2 weeks and 4 weeks)

(4 weeks- Sunday best)

(5 weeks)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Young Women In Excellence: A Journey

We had Young Women in Excellence (a program for the young women to recognize their accomplishments from the year) at the end of November and I was really excited about it.  I wanted it to be Christ-centered and I put a lot of thought into what we wanted to relay to the girls. The youth theme for 2014 was Come Unto Christ, which is an invitation for a journey to follow Christ's example...and I realized we are all on our own journey, travelling through life.  To prepare for a journey, we typically pack the items we will need to help us on our way, such as food, clothing, water, a map, etc.  Along those lines, we can "pack" spiritual essentials for our journey, items that will help us get where we want to go, find help along the way and stay focused.  The more I thought about this idea, the more excited I became and started brainstorming ideas to carry out the idea with the laurel class.  I've mentioned before my love of all things mini so I had an inspirational mini moment and knew we had to make mini suitcases for the girls filled with spiritual reminders. :)

We decorated with maps, globes, suitcases (that I gathered from home and realized I have quite the collection), lanterns, cameras, scriptures and pictures of Christ to carry out the travel theme.  We made the mini suitcases out of matchboxes and packed them accordingly (more on that later).  Our invitations were personalized boarding passes...which the girls loved.  I did not get many photos (grrr...I missed a lot of the decorations and the food) but it ended up being very simple and hopefully effective.

I talked briefly about our journey through life and how we should prepare ourselves spiritually. I talked about following Christ's example and using the scriptures and prayer as a guide and compass. Then I pulled out one of the little suitcases and explained the contents and encouraged them to add more thoughts, notes and other insights as they see fit. Hopefully when faced with trials or questions, their little suitcase of spiritual essentials can help them weather the storms and adventures of life.

One of the other leaders spoke on Personal Progress and likened each value to a destination as part of our journey. It was very cute. She shared examples of projects that the girls had done that year and made a graph showing how far the girls had come on their Personal Progress. She even renamed the girls after countries in keeping with our travel theme and to keep their progress anonymous.

The little suitcases contained a photo of Christ, a picture of each girl and her family to remind her of her individual worth and that families are forever.  We also added their favorite quote and hymn and a photo of their favorite temple.  Their own testimony as well as testimonies from leaders were added, along with a Spiritual Directory for scriptural help with different trials.  Our Mia Maid adviser made tiny, personalized Personal Progress Passports for each girl, with a stamp for each Value Experience they've completed.  They were adorable.  The laurels helped gather all of the personal information from each girl, made the tiny luggage tags and helped me make the suitcases.  We just wrapped matchboxes in patterned, vintage-type paper, glued two brown strips around and used gold brads to attach the handle. Two laurels even dressed as flight attendants and handed out little cups of snack mix as people came in and found their seats (another leader's cute idea).  It was awesome. :)  We then served cake decorated with a map for refreshments.

I'm happy with how it turned out and I hope the girls will keep their little suitcases and remember to look at them now and again if they need a little boost.  Also, I have soooooo many matches.  I need to come up with some way to use them! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Christmas Tree Fell Over

Christmas 2014 has come and gone.  It was a very relaxed holiday with a new babe around.  We spent Christmas Eve eating our traditional clam chowder, looking at Christmas lights, reading the Christmas story in the scriptures and a couple other Christmas stories.  It was a bit of a chore getting the over-hyper and excited Dennis and Q to bed...they were beside themselves.  The rest of us couldn't believe it was actually Christmas Eve already.

One of the highlights included the little boys knocking the tree over whilst rummaging for gifts...their faces were priceless! It halted the gift opening for a few minutes while we righted the tree, picked up fallen ornaments and rescued the last of the gifts.  It was pretty epic!  And the tree never quite looked the same after.

I love what the kids get for each other every year and this year was no different.  Q and Miss B had one another.  Miss B made Q a bank for saving, spending and tithing.  Q bought Miss B a pocket mirror for her makeup bag and made her a bicycle out of pipe cleaners (truly an uncanny representation).  Dennis wrote and illustrated an original book for Mr. C and got him some Warhead candy canes.  Mr. C made Dennis a Pokemon Organizer and added new Pokemon cards.  He bought a binder and some baseball card sleeves to organize all of the cards.

Q wanted photos with most of his gifts including his Rock Crawler remote control, bow and arrow and awesome tree house Lego set that has kept him occupied for hours.

Mr. C's favorite gifts were books (sequels that he has been waiting for)...he was ecstatic and has read them already... as well as books that Dennis got. :)  

Miss B was in heaven with her new tablet.  We didn't see her for hours after. My personal favorite gift was the sweet new baby boy.  He is the best gift...so sweet and snuggly. Goodness, I could snuggle him all day and pretty much do.  The house may be messy for some time.  And I don't really care.  :)

The baby got a giant Curious George sock monkey to snuggle with.  I'm sure he was overjoyed with it.

I finally got everyone (all seven of us) a stocking this year. We've only had a total of four for years and years. And even though we use wooden shoes instead of stockings, I love the stockings for decoration. So I got three more this year and we are complete.  For Dad and the babe, I bought some awesome, plain linen stockings from Etsy and embellished them to match.  On Dad's stocking, we added some burlap ribbon and a couple of flies he tied himself.  He is so proud.  I added two big wooden buttons to the babe's along with some plaid ribbon.  I used a red paisley one for me that I made many years ago.

Dennis has become an expert helicopter pilot and manages all sorts of fancy tricks.

It was a lovely day.  I had a nap and Dad made a special Christmas dinner.  Perfection.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lucky Number Seven: A New Babe

I had the baby 2 weeks early (which is why I haven't been on here much lately).  It was a complete shock as my babies never come early!  Craziness.  My water broke late one night after a busy day of Christmas parties and a baby shower (just for him).  We woke up Miss B to watch the kiddos and headed to the hospital around 1 am.  He came at 11:30 am with a perfect delivery.  I was very worried about delivery with the blood thinners I am on and I really wanted an epidural.  I was supposed to be induced so we could control everything better, but it ended up working out just perfectly in spite of everything.  I was able to get an epidural and it was seriously a wonderful experience. I had an exceptional nurse and doctor who were both angels and took great care of me.  

So he is dreamy and the kids love him and fight over him.  We are trying to adjust to the newborn sleeping schedule, but I think we are getting the hang of it...or just used to less sleep.  We feel so blessed for this little miracle and to have him join our family during Christmas.

I took some photos of him at 6 days old.  I actually tried the day before but he wasn't feeling his best, and I only got the Santa hat photo.  The next day was much better and we got a few I really love.  I must say it is quite difficult taking your own newborn's photos and I think I probably worked myself too hard, but I'm glad I got some to document his extreme sweetness.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


For Thanksgiving, we had my parents come visit from out of town.  It was a nice relaxed affair with a lot of baking involved!  I do love Thanksgiving leftovers though, so it's okay.  On Saturday, we took my parents to one of our favorite places: Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  And this year we were able to go during the Fall Festival, which was awesome because we saw colors!  We don't get much fall foliage here in the desert so it was a treat.  Speaking of treats, they had some beautiful music playing under a glorious tree and were selling donuts for $.50.  It was a dream.  And Q didn't want to kiss the statue this time...they're just friends now apparently. :)

Q learned how to make Thanksgiving pies with Grammy.  They made five pies and he did all the pie crust edges.  He LOVED every bit of it and was so proud of his work.  They made pecan, chocolate, peach, coconut cream and pumpkin.  

All four kids wanted a turkey leg and we were in a bit of a pickle because turkeys typically only come with two legs (in my experience).  Q and Mr. C graciously traded theirs for wings.  Sheesh.  On Black Friday, I had an NST at the hospital, so Miss B and my mom came with me and then we hit up a couple of stores for fun and got lunch at a fabulous Greek place.  I had the best gyro I've had in years.  It was seriously tasty business.

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