Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sleeping like a baby.

Sleeping FOR your growing, in-utero baby is NOT like sleeping like a baby! Of course it's hard to get and stay comfortable and random appendages fall asleep. It's definitely frustrating to have to get up every few hours to go to the bathroom. Then there's heartburn to contend with, and weird, random leg cramps. Speaking of legs, there is also restless leg syndrome that can get pretty darn irritating! But this pregnancy, those things seem like cake to get over compared with the dreaded INSOMNIA!!

I am tired. I am overly tired. I am exhausted. I go to bed and it can take HOURS to actually fall asleep! Then, when I finally get to sleep, I wake up several times a night for NO REASON and then can't fall back asleep right away!! AGH!! I used to find solace and relief in my daily nap, but now INSOMNIA has ruined that too!!

Being pregnant is a wonderful, happy blessing. I love my sweet little unborn. :) I love that my body can nurture and support this new life. I just wish it were easier to get some rest!

6 weeks left and counting!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oh No!

The other day, we actually got enough snow to warrant shoveling. I sent Sebastian, Fiona and Elijah out to get it done. About 10 minutes into it, I saw the above image. Oh no! Has Elijah fainted from over-exertion?
Are we experiencing another round of stomach flu and he is about to throw-up?

Oh...huh...he's just taking a bit of a break to hork down as much snow as possible without actually having to do the work of picking it up and bringing it to his mouth. :)

Sebastian and Fiona, on the other hand, were hard at work making another snow curve to keep kids from going into the street when they sled. Sebastian had most of the sidewalk shovelled and had used a lot of the snow for the wall.

The girls were busy playing while all of this was happening. Then they came out and saw the kids outside and, of course, wanted to join them.
When Elijah saw the above picture of Scarlett, he said "aw, she's so cute!" Elijah is her buddy. He came in shortly after the pigging-out-on-snow feast. Being her buddy, he helped Scarlett get ready to go out into the snow. What a nice big brother! All of the kids are just so sweet and helpful...they impress me every day with their willingness and desire to help one another!
Back to the snow scene outside: Once Sebastian caught onto the fact that, while he was still shoveling, Elijah was taking an extended "break" to eat snow, he came over to "encourage" Elijah to help out some more.

And on a completely different note: I have been letting the kids use the camera pretty much whenever they'd like to. It's getting older and not taking nearly as nice of pictures as it used to, so I am not all that protective of it these days. When I was downloading the snow pictures, the above picture caught my eye. When the boys saw it, they both started giggling. Everyone is so good at playing with Brighton and love to think of different things to make him giggle. I guess Brighton thought it was funny to sit on Elijah's head. :) I'm sure he didn't get *any* encouragement from his big, silly brothers! :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

The kind of day we're having...

Brighton just dumped a nearly full bag of Honey-Nut Cheerios and I don't really fact my first thought was "awesome, they can have a snack and be entertained at the same time!" instead of something more sane like "oh geez, there went $3 and now I have to clean it up!"
That's just the kind of day we're having. Or, more specifically...the kind of day I'M having. There have been some days during this pregnancy where I have been a normal, productive person; doing normal, productive things like cleaning and feeding people. I have to admit, though, that the majority of this pregnancy has consisted of days like today. I'm tired. I don't feel like cleaning. I let kids sleep in late. I'm just sitting around. The house is a pig sty and a half. I am not really "making" kids do chores and clean stuff up. The kids certainly aren't complaining. The dogs (who now get to eat hundreds of cheerios off the floor) are certainly not complaining. But I never really feels good to not be productive day after day. It does feel good to get things done and to have a clean house and yummy, healthy food to eat. The motivation and energy just aren't there most days. Some of my pregnancies have been super productive times....when I was pregnant with Haven, my house was so consistently clean that I ran out of things to clean every day and resorted to washing couch cushions and such! I had a lot of energy and, I think just as importantly, tons of drive to get things done. Not so this time around! I guess I have plenty of years ahead of me of having a clean house.....that's what I am telling myself, anyway! :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Budding composer

Fiona has been taking piano lessons for a few months now from an adorable teenage girl in our ward (our church congregation.) She has been learning a lot and really loves to practice and loves playing the piano. This week, she started writing her own songs. With hand-drawn lines on a blank piece of paper, she meticulously wrote in the notes as she selected and played them. The next day, I printed off some blank sheet music from this site.
She went right to work on some new songs! She really gives a lot of thought to how she wants her song to sound and tries it out several times before writing down the notes.

This particular afternoon, Brighton was having a hard time taking his nap, so she voluntarily played a few octaves higher and pressed the keys very lightly. :) I love seeing her play the piano and hope that she will continue to love it and achieve a comfortable level of proficiency as she gets older.
My Dad taught me how to play the piano when I was little. I practiced very little and had whole years at a time when I hardly played. I did manage to continue learning, though I never tried very hard. I really enjoy playing the piano now, but am sad I never took the time to reach a more serviceable level of proficiency; I play only a few songs well enough for myself or anyone else to sing along to and I do not play well enough to be an accompanist at church...both things I hope to accomplish one day! I guess I should follow Fiona's example and practice more!

Happy Valentines Day!

Err, or was that Happy Chinese New Year? Or wait...I guess it was both, but at our house, we sort of only paid attention to the Chinese New Year part. :) Dave brought back the girls some lovely Chinese dressed last time he went to China, so the girls wore those to church on Sunday. Above is Fiona in her dress, with a Chinese shawl and even holding a Shitzu! (we were doggy sitting...)
All three girls (and Brighton.) Dave wore a Chinese tie, I wore a skirt he brought me back, Elijah wore a Chinese vest, and Sebastian wore a silk Chinese jacket type thing.

I put chopsticks in all three girls' hair. It was pretty darn adorable...though Scarlett and Haven's kept falling out at church, so we just left them out. I guess they need more hair...or less slippery chopsticks!

Out of pure desperation...

No, that is not a picture of one of the girls when they were is poor Brighton! I have been soooooo neglectful of the laundry that tonight after his bath, all I had to put on him that would be warm for bed was a purple "Big Sister's Rock!" shirt. At least he had some "manly" sweatpants with fighter planes on them to balance it out. Now to go tackle the mountain of laundry...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

true to form

True to form, I have procrastinated the kid's valentines until the very last minute! Tomorrow is their school day and their valentines class parties. I've known about it for weeks, but, like usual, I didn't help them do anything about it until this afternoon. I didn't feel like going to the store to buy valentines, so I used this idea from Family Fun magazine. Now, I knew our version would not turn out as dainty and cute as the's the thought (and the process of making them) that counts!
Above and below is what it looked like in our kitchen while everyone was hard at work cutting out all the little hearts...we cut out a LOT of little hearts!
You may have noticed the bench and all the chairs tipped over on their sides and people standing up or sitting on the table rather than on said bench or chairs....this is all for a very good reason named BRIGHTON. Except at mealtimes, we have to keep the bench and chairs lying down to prevent Brighton from climbing on them and using them to climb onto even higher things. He is very adept at moving the chairs to a desired location and then climbing up to get into things or to sit on the table...all not too safe things for him to be doing. The little kids don't take up enough room on a chair to prevent him from climbing up on it with them, so they can't sit on a chair unless Brighton is busy or in his highchair (which he also can climb out of...) It will be nice in a few months when we can all sit down again...and not have a bunch of chairs lying around!

Here is our finished valentine. All the kids worked together to cut out the hearts and assemble the valentines, then they all split them according to their class sizes. They used the petals to write "From..." I think they are pretty adorable...and the kids really enjoyed making them!
So have I learned my lesson about waiting until the last minute? Probably not...I think that's just how I function best, actually. Even though it would more than likely be less stressful and maybe even more enjoyable, I am a procrastinator...I get some of my best ideas and inspirations at the last minute...I get the drive and motivation to get things done at the last possible second...I'm not good at planning ahead; it's just who I am and I guess it works for me! Well, most of the time it works...

Monday, February 8, 2010

A new take on the homeschool Workbox system

Using the workbox system has really revolutionized our homeschool. But the original system is not a keeper. We used to do it this way, and it was great for awhile. It helped me to organize our day better and get a whole lot more accomplished in our homeschool. I think it also helped the kids get more "into" doing school work each day. There were a couple of problems with the original workbox system, though. The plastic bins, even though we used way less than the actual workbox system suggests, turned out to be a waste of that was sorely needed to store actual stuff, not just bins that were empty most of the time. Taking 30-45 minutes EVERY night to fill the bins turned out to not be my thing...way too time consuming! The kids would get out their bins out to do their work, and suddenly the table was a mess of bins and papers and very little room for kids to work. It's taken me a few weeks, but I finally figured out how to solve our storage problem and adapt the workbox system to fit our needs. TA-DA! The workbox crate! (see above picture) Each child has 4 hanging file folders; one for each of the 4 days that we homeschool a week. All the kid's file folders fit nicely in one much less space than all the plastic bins! PLUS, I can load up a whole weeks worth of work in one night! YAY! :)
At the front of each of the sets of file folders, there is an expandable folder with the child's name on it so they know which section is theirs. This expandable folder is also where they put their finished work so I can check it/look it over at my leisure. I haven't figured out exactly how to integrate the funner, hands-on activities that I used to put in their bins (larger, bulkier things, etc) but I'm sure the solution will come to me soon!

Another "new" system I have implemented in our house is the individual white board. Why does each kid need their own white board? Several reasons, actually: first, my kids LOVE drawing on my white board and most of the time it is full of kids pictures and a cause of contention in that we have 5 kids who want to use it and only one small white board; second, kids have been REALLY dragging about getting their stuff done very day! While at the school supply store doing our shopping for the semester on Saturday, I purchased some super cool white board stickers that turn any surface into a white board! Later that day when I went to Wal-mart to finish up my shopping, I bought 5 clipboards for 98 cents each. Viola! 5 individual white boards! What does this have to do with helping motivate kids to get their stuff done every day? Well, I thought I'd try and tie in the love my kids have for their white board to help them see what needs to be done every day and see when it is completed.

On each child's white board, I made a list of all the things I expect them to get done in the morning...things I usually have to remind/nag about until after lunch. Each child can see exactly what they need to accomplish before they have free-time, and they get the added bonus of getting to wipe each task off after it is completed! Today was our first morning using the white boards and it went sooooooo well!! It's just after 10am and I have one child who is minutes away from completing his whole list! Wow, what a difference a white board makes!

Now that we don't have all those empty bins lying around, I have so much more storage! I also bought a few pieces of cheapy furniture from Wal-mart to complete our organization (see the very blurry picture above.)
And here is what Brighton did for his "school" this morning. :) This is our one cabinet that we can't seem to baby-proof all the way...he knows how to open it anyway! So he has lots of fun getting the pots and pans out a.l.l. d.a.y. l.o.n.g.! He's cute, though, so we don't mind. :) I usually let my toddlers get into a few cabinets and drawers in the kitchen, it's fun and educational for them even if it does make a bit more mess.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

'Cuz you're a Pregnant

In our house, being pregnant is not just a temporary state of's a whole new species. Scarlett and Haven say things like "...and she's a Pregnant..." or " and you be the Pregnant, okay Mom...since you are a Pregnant" or "and this horse will be the Pregnant..." and "only Pregnants give birth to babies" or "if you are a Pregnant, you can sit down..." :) I'm not sure how I feel, being elevated to a whole new species...but I do like that at the tender ages of 4 and 5, they understand that Pregnants need to rest, take naps, drink lots of water, and get extra help from their kids and husbands every now and then. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Elijah's Blue and Gold Cub Scout Banquet

Last night was the annual cub scout Blue and Gold Banquet. In this ward, they have a tradition of the boys making cakes every year. Last year, Sebastian and Elijah (and Dave) made this dino dig cake. This year, Sebastian is no longer a cub scout (he's an 11-year old scout), so the cake project was all Elijah's...and Dave's. :) Well, and I baked the cakes and made the frosting.
Here is Elijah spreading the red "lava" frosting on the cake that has already been frosted with chocolate frosting and surrounded by smashed oreo "rubble." Basically the whole hollow center of the cake ended up being filled with "lava"....that's a LOT of frosting!

Here is Elijah with his almost completed cake. We wanted to wait until we got to the church building before adding the exploding lava candy pieces (candy made by Dave) so there wouldn't be a chance of them falling off in the car. Of course, right as we were about to get out of the car, Elijah accidentally let some pieces slide off the cookie sheet onto the dirty floor, but most were still on the sheet, so no harm done.

Here is the finished cake. Dave got the plan off of the Family Fun website. I think it turned out pretty cool! In past years, the kids have all just eaten the cakes at the Blue and Gold Banquet. This year they did something a bit different. For the past two weeks the boys have had the opportunity to earn points by meeting different scouting requirements. Every boy had the same opportunity of earning points; it was up to them to full-fill requirements. They then got to use their points last night in an auction to bid on the cake they wanted to take home. Elijah ended up with a lot of points and got the very cake he wanted: a cake decorated like an X-Box and controller.

Here is how Brighton and I spent most of the time before the banquet actually started (we got there a bit early and they started a good 30 minutes or so.) He had LOTS of fun wandering around the gym trying to get into fun stuff and just letting his little legs move and move and move! Scarlett helped follow him around. At one point, she turned to me and said "it's okay, Mom, I will take care of him and you can go find a place to sit down." :) Sweet girl. But I didn't take her up on that offer. I'm thinking 4 years old isn't quite old enough to watch a baby all by yourself. :) She is good at it, though.

Everyone always has a good time running around the gym. These two cute little girls did their fair share of running around with friends and having a good fun! Here they are settled at the table, waiting for it to start.

Here are Fiona, Sebastian and Elijah waiting patiently. Just as Sebastian has stopped pulling weird faces (and thumbs up) when I snap a picture, Elijah has started....he really was having a good time! :)
Here he is getting a few awards (he got his Bear and some arrow points and a belt loop.) After each boy received his awards, there was clapping, of course. Brighton thought the clapping was so fun...though he didn't actually do any clapping until about 30 seconds after everyone else was done clapping. :) He also, instinctively I guess, rolled his arms after every clapping how when you play patty-cake you clap and then roll your arms. It was super cute. :)
I love the scouting program! It has given the boys lots of cool educational opportunities, amusement opportunities, character-building opportunities, and lots and lots of opportunities to have fun with friends! I have a very busy brain, so Dave has done an awesome job of being the main parent who helps the boys keep track of and accomplish their scouting requirements. When the boys recieve a big award (like Elijah earining his Bear,) they have the mom come up to recieve a special pin in honor of all the work the mom does to help the boy earn his award. I always feel a tinge of guilt at this point, since Dave is really the one who did all the work to help! But oh well...I did give birth to him and nurse him for almost 2 years and wash his clothes and cook most of his meals and clean up his barf....I guess those things count too! :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's in a name?

Our usual baby name picking routine is that we make a list. We usually come up with a good 4-5 names that we both agree upon and feel good about for our impending arrival. The list is handy right after the baby is born and we decide who we think this baby is. It worked well for Sebastian, Elijah, Fiona, Haven and Scarlett. Brighton was a name we had picked out for a boy before Haven was even born. We still had a list of back-up names, though, in case he came out and wasn't Brighton...but he was. :) This pregnancy has been a bit different, though, as far as names go. I had several girl names that Dave liked. Then we found out we were having a boy, so obviously the girl names were out! I would suggest boy names to Dave every few days and he didn't like any of them. He would suggest names to me and I didn't like any of them. I was beginning to think our baby would just be called "Baby" for the rest of his life. Then, one day, I suggested a name and Dave said he loved it. I loved it. We came up with a middle name right away that fit perfectly. We knew our baby's name and no other alternatives were necessary. Weird. This has never really happened before. It's cool, though. It's made the baby like an "official" member of our family already. The kids talk to him and call him by name. He is included, by name, in our Family Home Evening song. :) Sometimes, it's like he's already here...just quite.

I always thought it was sort of strange how people had their baby's name picked out months before the baby was born, but now I understand. Of course I am open to the possibility that he may come out and not be who we think he is and then he will be known as "Baby," but I'm pretty sure he is.....well....I'm not going to say until he's born! :)