Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Snow Day!

We've had a lot more snow this year than last year. Most of it melts away by the afternoon, so it's not really too bothersome for us. The kids love it - they want to build a snowman every time it snows. Today was great -- it wasn't too cold and the snow was just perfect for rolling snowballs, it was so sticky. Here's our morning in pictures.
Me: Kathryn, you need to put on pants, boots, a hat, gloves, and coat before you go outside.
Kathryn: I don't need pants!
Me: Okay, go ahead and go outside.

Approximately 2 minutes later...
Kathryn: MOM...I need pants!

Now she's ready to play in the snow. She is wearing boots but insisted on having the plastic bags too.

Joseph was also stubborn about wearing a coat. To his credit, it was probably near 40 degrees, so not as cold as it looks. After 20 minutes or so he decided a coat might be nice. He is wearing gloves though.

They are shoveling the backyard. We have to put that snow shovel to use somehow. I bought it in early January because I got tired of having 3 inches of packed snow on my front walk throughout November and December. Then, just as I predicted (Murphy's law!) we haven't had any major snow that lasted more than a few hours since then.

Rolling the snowball. They made this one all on their own.

I helped them stack the top two, then we decorated him. Joseph went inside right before this because his toes were cold and wet. He didn't wear his boots.

Kathryn went in when we started the snowman and found a warm corner where she could read some books. She wore underwear this morning, but it was a disaster. She refuses to actually use the toilet, even though she knows that's what is supposed to happen and that she will be rewarded well for doing it. I did borrow some plastic underwear/diaper covers, so at least she isn't getting our carpet dirty anymore. Today, she told me that she would use the potty "when I am grown up".

Back inside and getting ready for lunch. They wanted carrots for a snack! (How cool is that?) Then Joseph and Sarah wanted to peel and slice them, like they've been doing at school. So, I let them and we used the carrots to make a nice soup.

Less than 2 hours after finishing the snowman, this was the scene in the backyard.
I told you it was a "warm" day.

And what has our baby been up to lately? He was napping during our adventures in the backyard this morning. Yesterday he managed to get into the bathroom and play his favorite game: unroll as much toilet paper as possible before Mom or Sarah finds him. Then, proceed to shred it or eat it.
He is really fast and crawls all around the house. He is very strong and stable on his feet too. I have seen him standing up without holding onto anything for support for a few seconds at a time. He's an extremely curious and determined baby. He wants to explore everything and isn't easily distracted. (If he wants to pull on the laptop cord, putting him in another room with a flashy toy won't help. He crawls right back to the laptop as fast as he can.)
This was the snow yesterday afternoon. I know, it's not much compared to Utah, but I surprised at how it was coming down (hard to tell in the picture) in the afternoon in late February. Last year we had snow fall two times.

Braids and Dinosaurs

Here's a random picture of baby David, whom we've decided to call Davey for a few weeks just to see how it works. Joseph will call him Davey, but Sarah and Kathryn still just call him "Baby", Baby-Boo, or Baby David. Baby is actually fairly close to Davey, especially when Kathryn says it. He will respond to any of the above variations. One of those 4 top teeth that have been teasing us this past month has finally broken through the skin. Hopefully the other 3 are close...teething=cranky baby and nasty diapers.

This is the first time that I braided Kathryn's hair and it turned out much better than I anticipated. She was really excited about it and held very still for me to do it. I wasn't worrying too much about making it look perfect because it was bedtime and I knew it would fall out overnight anyway, but I wanted to see if her hair was long enough--and it was!

She loved how it turned out and wore them all day the next day even though the sides were falling out.

 Of course, Sarah wanted braids too. She has awesome hair - it's thick but still soft. I still can't get over how dark it is now! See that little tuft of hair sticking straight up on the top of her head? That's where she cut her own bangs a few weeks ago. Sigh. She cut them at all different lengths and I had to go back and fix it as well as I could. She looks cute though.

Sorry this is fuzzy. Kathryn is wearing Wranglers and Justin brand cowboy boots. She is saying "I'm a cowboy girl!" Thanks Grandpa- We love the pants and boots.

Dinosaur Hunt

The older kids started studying dinosaurs at school recently, so they have been obsessed with them. We checked out some books on dinosaurs from the library to learn more. Joseph got some dinosaur stickers from Grandma Carol for Valentine's day. He spent the next two days searching his library books so he could identify each different dino sticker. Then he made a sheet with all the dino stickers and their names underneath. On Saturday, they convinced David to take them to the backyard to search for dinosaur bones. These toothbrushes are their tools for cleaning the bones when they find them.

As you may have guessed, they didn't find any dinosaur bones, so they decided to make their own replica out of rocks. David used my hot glue gun to put this guy together. It's a triceratops, just in case you couldn't tell. =) Joseph took his book out and checked the picture often to make sure everything was exactly right.

He got a little worried when the triceratops only had one horn on the top of his head ("It's a profile!" says David), but Joseph insisted that TRIceratops were supposed to have three horns. In the end, he accepted the idea that the other horn must be "lost" still.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Our Valentine's Day

Today the kids and I made cookies together to share with their preschool class. We made a few extras to share with our friends too.

For lunch we had heart-shaped PB&J sandwiches.

Then we cut Joseph's hair for the first time in months. (Look again at the picture of him with the cookies for a "before" shot). He sure looks a lot more like David with his hair short!

After school we took some cookies to our friends, then we played dinosaurs and the kids hid in their cave (aka under Daddy's desk).

After dinner (left over Lasagna), everyone got to eat a piece of candy from their Valentine's boxes. Sarah shared with Kathryn.

Yummy chocolate!

Hope you had a fun Valentine's day too!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hooray for Baby! Happy Valentine's Day

This week our sweet baby David learned how to clap! He looks so cute and happy when he does it. The other kids like to encourage him by saying "Yay!!" and clapping too. He watched his first episodes of Baby Signing Time, so I'm hoping that he'll start using a little sign language soon. At dinner he signed "milk" when I gave Kathryn a cup of juice. It's a start. =)

Kathryn didn't do anything new this week. She is feeling well again and with the weather warming up, I'm thinking about starting potty training with her. We've talked about it a lot and she can tell me all about what she is supposed to do. She says "If I go poo in the potty, then I'll get a treat!" and "No poo-poo in my diaper, just in the potty." However, she has never really liked or wanted to sit on the toilet. Any ideas?

Joseph is really excited about Valentine's day coming up. At school they made little mailboxes out of half-gallon square milk containers. At home he made valentines for each classmate and is working on a map of Africa to give to his teacher. He wanted to stay up late tonight to finish the map because he's worried he won't have enough time in the morning to finish. He gets his work ethic from his dad, I guess.

Sarah is also very excited about the Valentine's day party that she will have at school. She has been talking about all the candy she might get, but then she tells me that she doesn't want to eat any sugar because it "makes her sick". She has been going to bed on time and sleeping so well at night. She has been really very pleasant recently - happy and helpful, and much more obedient. She has matured a lot recently and I can't believe she is almost 5 years old!

This week we made some cute cards to send to our grandparents. We haven't mailed them yet, but we will tomorrow. Better late than never, right? The kids sure love all their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sarah and Joseph always want to mail their little projects to one or another of them. Sarah wants to move to Utah so she can see her cousins everyday. She is such a social butterfly! Joseph says he wants to live at this house forever, because this is "where our swing set is", and I don't think he likes to move.

We love all of our wonderful family and friends and hope you have a fun Valentine's day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

We're Back!

David and I are both finally feeling well again, but what a week we had!

Saturday was rough for us. We both felt terrible and wanted to sleep all day, so we had to alternate watching the kids and taking a nap. On Sunday, I felt pretty good and the kids wanted to go to church. David was super sick, so I let him sleep all morning while we went to church. We tried to be nice and not share germs. Kathryn and I just sat at the back of the Primary room. Joseph and Sarah got to go to class. I put baby David down for a nap at home and checked on him every 45 minutes or so (it's so nice to live a block away from the church!)

Monday was the hardest day for me. Aside from having the cold & cough, I also had a fever and was so exhausted. (I am accustomed to being tired -- getting by on 5 hours of sleep on a regular basis -- but I just felt like I'd been hit by a truck, like I had less than 3 hours of sleep, even though I'd gone to bed at 8:30 the night before). Once the baby went down for a nap, I went back to bed and begged the older kids to watch a movie. No such luck -- they're always wanting to watch movies, until I need them to. Instead, they just made huge messes all over the house and I didn't care because I was too sick and tired to get out of bed. I took Sarah and Joseph to school, then put the babies down for a nap and took another nap too. By Monday night the fever was breaking and I was starting to feel human again. David had a rough Monday too. As soon as he finished teaching, he came home and took a nap too.

Tuesday was a little better. I felt like I could function again. I washed a load of dishes for the first time since Friday and did a few loads of laundry. I took a nap while the older kids went to school. Then, I went grocery shopping that night.

The house is also recovering. Yesterday (Wednesday), I felt pretty good and was getting fed up with the messy house so I cleared off our counter tops--including the one where we stash all our junk! Today, I tackled the ever-growing stashes of toys, trash, and "treasures" in Sarah's room, the living room, and the play room. We found the floor again, put everything back in it's proper place, and then tonight I vacuumed the whole house. Life is finally getting back to normal. Now, I just need to unpack those suitcases from our Utah trip. (Don't judge me too harshly!) I was just getting around to that early last week when everyone started to get sick.

Sarah and Joseph are doing great, they've been well all week. Kathryn and little David haven't been well this week--they both had runny noses, a little cough, and occasional fevers. They're getting better now too. I'm still waiting for those baby teeth to break through. I can see them all, they're so close!

Today we had nice weather today, so we went out to enjoy it after the kids came home from school. Sarah and Joseph spent half the morning outside too, which really helped my clean up efforts because they weren't inside making new messes.

We now have 2 infant swings. The yellow one was sent in December because the green one was back-ordered, but it doesn't match the set, so I tried to send it back to get a the green one. The company said to just keep it and they sent me the green one this week finally. It's working out very nicely because Kathryn still prefers the infant swing and Davey sure loves swinging too. Joseph is a pro at getting started, pumping, and swinging really high all on his own. Sarah doesn't want to work that hard to swing high. She likes that little swing that's under the fort - she can stand on it and go side to side. There's also a trapeze bar with rings that she likes to hang from too, but I took them down to hang up the new baby swing. I LOVE having the swing set in the backyard!

In other news, I bought "Go Fish" (the card game, only $2.25) for the kids because they had earned a new game for going to bed 10 days without coming back out or asking for 10 different things before they went to sleep, etc. etc. Sarah has been doing exceptionally well -- she goes straight to her room (she now has her own room), and goes right to sleep when it's time. Can you believe it?! She really wanted to earn a new game, I guess. Each morning, I let her put a check mark on our countdown sheet and she calculates how many more days until she earns the game. They liked playing Go Fish and are now working toward getting another game. This time, they have to go to bed for 20 days. The whole scheme was David's idea, and it's been working like a charm! We've tried similar reward sheets before, without much success, so I was surprised at how motivated the kids were to get the game and how well they remember the rules and to mark off their chart every day. Now, if I can just figure out a way to get them to put away toys and clothes... any ideas?

Thank you to everyone who offered prayers on our behalf! We're also grateful for friends here who made us soup on Saturday and Sunday. We're still eating the leftovers and it's been such a blessing to not have to cook this week.

Friday, February 4, 2011

*Cough-Cough* Everyone is Sick Here!

This week has been rough. Everyone has been sick (except Kathryn) to a certain degree at some point this week.

Sarah was down early in the week. She was feverish and wanted to lie on the couch or sleep all day. If you know Sarah, this has never happened! We took Joseph to school, then after napping all morning, she couldn't wait to get back into bed fast enough for an afternoon nap. I thought for sure she would be up all night after all that sleeping during day. Nope--by 6:30pm she was sound asleep again and didn't make a peep until 7am or so the next morning. She took another nap that morning and has been doing well since, aside from the cough. Sarah is prone to coughs and they last a long time whenever she gets one. Too much coughing causes her to gag and vomit, which she did once this week, on the couch.

Joseph has "the" cough too, a runny nose, and slight fever. He has good days and tired days. Twice this week he has fallen asleep around 5pm, woken up around 7pm to nibble a few bites of food, then gone back to bed for the rest of the night.

Baby David is cutting teeth, at least 4 of them to be exact. He has had a fever too. Last night he woke up every 2 hours starting at 8pm until 6am. He decided he didn't want to nurse anymore and will only take a bottle, which was the only thing that got him back to sleep those 6 times he woke up. All day today he would wake up for 30 minutes for so, then sleep for 2+ hours. David put him to bed at 5 pm and he hasn't made a peep yet (it's 11pm now as I write this--I did check on him, he's still alive). Maybe he's getting better too?

David is really sick too -- coughing (sounds like a deep, dry, hacking cough), fever, achy muscles, dizzy. He looks worse than ever. He's probably down to his lowest weight since we've been married. Finishing that dissertation really took it out of him (waking up at 5am, going to bed at 11pm or later every night). Getting him to eat 3 square meals is almost impossible. He frequently eats only dinner, with maybe a small piece of fruit for lunch. He is starting to look like a holocaust survivor--and I'm not being trite or exaggerating! He must be under 130 lbs now. Anyway, he's totally swamped with work still and we both feel like we're trying to dig out of a huge hole. We finally called the home teachers around 9pm and they came to give him a blessing. I was thinking the whole family needed one.

Me, I'm not feeling too great either. Between his coughing and the baby crying last night, I didn't hardly sleep at all. I've got the cough and runny nose, etc. too, but thankfully I'm well enough to be able to take care of everyone else. Why am I awake at 11pm? I've been busy taking kids "potty", changing wet bedding, and administering medicine to all the sickies.

On the bright side, it's been nice and toasty warm here this week, compared to the rest of the country. I'm grateful that we didn't have rolling blackouts or frozen pipes.
We set up the tent inside and had a pretend camp-out.

Joseph & I built this "house" for his trains.
(Sorry, no other pictures this week.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Some pictures from our trip to Utah

5 Days (Thursday-Monday), 1500 miles, and lots of family. We wish that we could have stayed longer and spent more time with all of our family in Utah. It was great to see some of David's cousins and all of his siblings (except for Krista) all together again.

Sunday, after church, Kathryn wasn't happy about the picture.

Friday, at Grandma LouAnn & Max's house.

We stopped here first thing when we got into SLC.

Saturday, Grandma's children (from left to right): Kent, Craig,
Annette, Gail, Don, Doug, Kim, and Keri.

With their spouses: Kent & LaVerne, Craig & Karen, Annette & Bob(?),
Gail & Ron, Don, Kim, Keri & Paul, Brenda & Doug.

Kathryn with Grandpa Kent

David's siblings: Jennifer, John, Jeffrey, David, Stephanie, and Laura
(with Sarah streaking across the front)

Joseph makes a guest appearance in this one. =)
More pictures and boring travel details to come. Although, I have to say that I think I hit the jack-pot -- David is a handsome guy with a head full of hair -- he takes after his Dad. His brothers are awesome too, but they seem to take after uncle Craig. =)