Sunday, November 30, 2008

So I'm Not a Professional

Yesterday I got myself into the Christmas mood by decorating the outside of the house. (Thanks, Aunt Shelley, for the bows and lighted garland--it's beautiful!) The flash kind of took some of the magic out of the picture. It's lovely when it's dark outside and you've just got the small lights on.
Here's the tree. We moved the ottoman/toybox to Ella's already-crowded bedroom. I love not having it in the living room!! Less toys scattered about. The kids were so excited to put up the tree. And, you know, the boys actually made decorating easier this year! You know, when they're so little they want to 'help' and in your mind you're thinking, "Yes, but I don't need more of that kind of help!" But they were great. We had Christmas music going, everyone was involved, and no one cried!! Success.
I know I'm pretty lame when it comes to decorations. This is the extent of it. But, honestly, I don't want anything else to put in this house. I can see when we are in a larger one, I would enjoy filling spaces with things...but there's no more space here!

When not listening to Bob Lonsberry (for those of you in Utah who are familiar) on the radio, we're full-throttle Christmas music. I looove it. Colin and Micah sing along when they can. We love the songs about the Savior. There are many times the kids will ask what a song is about, and I get to explain to them the story and about Jesus. Besides those, of course they get so excited about songs having to do with Santa, reindeer, snow, etc. I think one of my absolute favorite fun Christmas songs is the campy "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" song. The kids want to learn the words. I've printed them up. I've got to get this song on CD or something. It's great.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving '08

I had the opportunity yesterday to dust off all the beautiful china my mother gave me. We had Thanksgiving at our place yesterday. My parents, Chad's parents and sister came. It's a wonder that we all fit in our kitchen. It was cozy and we managed. I remember, as a kid, being able to have seconds and thirds at Thanksgiving. Those days are over. My favorite dish was one that Mom made from Rachel's recipe: a sweet potato dish. It was yummy! Everyone took home leftovers, which is great. I'm going to have to go out and buy another turkey. We had the remainder of our turkey today for lunch, and I'm just not ready to be done with leftovers!
This year Thanksgiving happened to fall on Mira Catherine's 2nd birthday. We interrupted her nap in order to watch her open presents. She had a lot of fun. Here's the adorable outfit Mom got her:
It (above) came with the sunglasses and purse (below). We got her Elmo, whom she adores.
'Grandpa Barnett' refinished this cradle and they gave her a baby for it. She is having fun taking care of the baby.
However, the first present she opened had a bottle of bubbles. She was interested in nothing else for some time. Isn't it great only $2 can bring such glee?
This is a video from several days ago. The kids just finished watching some ninja movie and are reacting in typical fashion. Someone always ends up crying at some point, but mostly they laugh and burn energy. Someday we'll have a home with more room in which to do it!!

I like this video because it shows Mira Catherine saying some things. She's starting to speak more words, which is really good. She still does her imaginary babble (which is hilarious), but is trying out real words more. If you listen closely, you'll hear us prompting her to say 'Colin', but she just says, "Yeah." She doesn't even try to say Colin or Micah's names.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dry Mornings

You know how much laundry there is with a family of six. But add to that the bedding of an unnamed someone who is wet every morning she wakes up!! If I let her get up on her own, I can guarantee she'll be soaking wet. I'm worn out with washing sheets every single day.

I enforce the 'no-drinks-after-7pm' rule, but that doesn't seem to eliminate the problem. I tried getting her to wear 'nighttime underwear' (i.e. pullups), but she balked at that. Who can blame her, after a year of wearing big girl underwear? So a few days ago I took her to the dollar store and let her choose 5 items. I told her if she was dry the next morning she'd get to pick one. I knew I couldn't let her fail, so I woke her up a little earlier than normal and we all said, "Hooray!! You did it! Dry all night. What a big girl. Aren't you awesome? Now you get to pick one prize! Wow, wow..." and all that stuff. Then she has to stay dry for TWO nights to get the next prize. And this is a big deal. We'll extend the length of dry days required each time. I'm hoping this helps. "Now, sweetie, what do you do if you feel like you need to go potty when you're in bed?" Says she, "I hop right out and run to the bathroom!"

I've packed up a ton of baby/children's clothes to take to Kid to Kid (a children's consignment shop). We have so much and I'm tired of having the closet jam packed with them. There are lots of nice clothes and part of me hates to get rid of them. But it's not like my grandchildren will one day wear them. I kept (at Maren's request) a few girl items--holiday dresses. But everything else is going. If I think about it too much I'm torn and want to go through them again and keep some things. I can get store credit and use it on purchases I make. Today I bought several items for the kids there. I absolutely loooove second-hand children's clothing. Under the age of 7 or so, it's not like they usually get destroyed. They grow out of them so quickly they're still in great shape. I am not ashamed to admit I'll shop the DI and find Gymboree outfits!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Reunited (And It Feels So Goooood...)

I was thinking what to title this entry. I started typing and that popped out. I haven't heard it in a long time...I love that song!!

Today we had some friends come up from Orem. They came with us to church and we ate and visited. It was really nice to see them. Kathleen (or Sister Eschler as I first knew her) was my companion about halfway through my mission in Bangor, N. Ireland. She was so fun to serve with. We got lost a lot, we had coins chucked at us (and not to pay us for our services!), rocks hurled, she was spat on, and more thrilling adventures. But she was a terrific companion. She was bold but kind, and has a great sense of humor. She helped me learn to plan and set goals better.
Here she is with her husband, Bret, and their 5 kids. Bret was also a missionary in the IDM (No, it didn't happen the way you're thinking), and was my District Leader in one area...we can't seem to remember which one, though! Hey, Bret, I'm thinking it was Dublin...? He was cheerful and fun, a great missionary. Together they make a great pair. It was wonderful to have their kids come over. No stress. They just blend right in with the chaos naturally occurring in our household. The kids had a blast playing. Thanks for taking the time to drive up and spend the day with us, Gundersens.

And here's a photo of Micah and me. I just love it. My snuggle-bug.
Micah is our videographer-in-training. He's always wanting to shoot things. I told him I'd post it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And for Dinner...

Okay, all you mothers who have this mothering-thing down: how do you fit it all in? School, homework, extracurricular activities, dinner, exercise, prayer and scriptures... Somehow we manage, but it's like we barely squeak by some days! Take today for example: wake up, scriptures, get ready, school and exercise, run errands, snacks, homework, piano practice, tennis, rush-home-and-throw-some-grilled-cheese-sandwiches-together...Colin to basketball, kids in bed. WHEW!! Honestly, it's a good life. Some days, if I were to make a list of what the day would hold, I might want to just roll over in bed and stay there! But we "get 'er done".

I think one of the most important things of the day is mealtime. They say (you know, 'they') that mealtime should be relaxing, enjoyable, and a time without criticism and irritation. Now that is something I could work on. By the time I'm getting dinner on the table, every one's starved and I can't make everyone happy. Then we sit down and it's "Ella, you're going to spill your milk!", "Micah, leave her alone," "Colin, would you stop banging the plate with your fork?", and "Mira Catherine, you definitely need a bath now!" I'd love some tips on how I can cool it and make it more relaxing for everyone (maybe mostly me!!).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Friends

We have a great family who moved in across the street this summer. Their son, Finn, is the cutest thing. Anyway, my kids have fallen in love with him, Lindy, and Jesse. They try to go over there all the time. They come home with goodies, toys, etc. Lindy's lent us High School Musical and HSMII, burned us the CD's, and now we're hooked. Yesterday Micah saw Lindy out raking and wanted to go 'help'. I said sure. Well, a bit later I go out to check on them, and Micah's out there without a shirt of shoes! Hey, it's November. I must look like an incompetent mother.
Micah, Ella, and Finn inspecting what I can only guess is an insect.
Here's Micah mooching something else from our kind neighbors.
Play time!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

boys breakdance

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Colin and Ella

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Micah and Mira Catherine singin'

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'I Voted'

I wonder if anyone twenty years ago would've guessed that we'd have a black president by the name of Barrack Obama. Yesterday, history was made. Pretty amazing, no matter which way you voted. The people spoke, and the choice is obvious. I was listening to talk radio yesterday, and the host made a good point we should keep in mind. No matter who wins, we need to square our shoulders and be ready to back this man as our next President of the greatest nation in the world.

I can't say I was surprised Senator Obama won. And it was no surpise which way Utah was going. (And not that Utah has a lot of sway in the election!) I hadn't felt enthusiastic about either candidate, but when I went to vote, I caught the excitement of the process. It is amazing. Chad says that in Chile (where he served an LDS mission), voting is mandatory. You either vote or you pay the government a hefty fine. I am thankful for the opportunity to have my voice be heard, regardless of who wins.

It will be interesting (?) to see where our country is in 4 years...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

More Halloween

My friend, Jennette, was kind enough to take these pictures and send them to me. Here is Colin at his school parade. I realized (too late) that I should've been there. "All the other moms were at the party!", or so I was told by both Colin and Micah. I didn't think I should go with Ella and Mira Catherine tagging along, but I guess that's a non-issue on party days. So I'm left feeling guilty. I won't make the same mistake next year!
Colin and Micah were invited to a Halloween party at Jennette's house. She had a house full of 20 kids. Pretty amazing, huh? They had a fabulous time. Colin's sitting on the wall, 3rd from the left, Micah's on the grass on the left. Those are some cute kids in that picture!
Here we are tonight in the kitchen. Bowie (our snake) has pretty much been left alone except for the weekly feeding. Mira Catherine wanted to get him out and pay him some attention. I was surprised that she actually held him herself. We went to the pet store to get some more frozen pinkies (mice). While there, I saw a woman with a 5+ foot snake draped over her shoulder. We got to talking and she let the kids see him and feel him. I was curious as to how long it took for him to get that size (about 2 years) and how much it cost her to feed him. Bowie won't get quite that big, but it was amazing to think he won't be this small forever. I don't mind if he takes years and years to get that big!!