Wednesday, August 24, 2011

My in-laws rock...

They are so patient. Mya fixed Grandmas hair and Grandpa helped Austin with lots of scout "stuff". In the picture they had carved a bear out of soap. We worked them to the bone when they were here! Blurry pictures...I did find my camera though. I have to start using that instead of my phone! While they were here they also:
-took each of the kids on a date
-built shelves
-hung pictures
-told the kids bedtime stories
-stayed up late talking with Eric and I
-went on a kids-free date with us
-went with us to the kids prep day
-went with us to get the kids school uniforms
-washed ALOT of 97 loads
-washed ALOT of dishes
-helped bury our under ground dog fence
-this list could be never ending...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August B-days

Mya and I had different ideas about her birthday party. I wanted to invite all of my family and kids over for one big party. She wanted a few friends and have a cooking party. Let the pictures tell the story...
Austin's cupcake creation
Ali and Tiana

Happy 7th big girl! I love you!!
(We made little pizzas, assemble fruit kabobs and decorated cupcakes.)

Aliyah is modeling the aprons I made for all the party goers. Austin opted out but would like a army one with orange fire flames on it at some point thankyouverymuch. Notice, NO PINK on these little's all purple and Caribbean blue around here these days.

For my birthday Gabby helped the kids throw a surprise party for me. Cake, party hats and all! Eric then took us all out to Hello Tokyo for some hibachi but only after he SPOILED me! I had asked for bread loaf pans. I got
-loaf pans
-gift card to the outlet mall
-a new stinkin' piano!

Who does that!!!???!! A husband looking to earn some serious good husband points, that's who!

Monday, August 22, 2011

We Have Adopted a Teenager

You may remember Gabby from a previous post about Mya's sixth birthday. Blonde,right. (The other is Maddie, her sister)

She lives with us now. Lots of reasons. She will leave for LDS Business College in January so we only have her for a few months.
This is how she pays rent. This and babysitting. Did I mention I am ok with this arrangement? (She did finish the laundry by the way.)

First day of Preschool.

Poor Aliyah had to wait a whole 1 1/2 weeks after her brother and sister started before she got to go to school. I finally told after the next "church day" you will go to school. On the drive home from church yesterday it finally all clicked! She has been talking about her new friends that she is going to make ever since. She got up at 6:30 and got dressed this morning. We didn't have to leave until 8:45. Poor thing... Right as I was leaving, the dishwasher repairman showed up so I had to send her off with Eric (who luckily was leaving a little late today)! So I hopped in the picture with her. I should do that every year with all the kids I think.

First Day of School

So, as always the first day of school came once again. I was sure it wasn't coming this year, but it did. I love/hate the first day of school. The house becomes eerily calm and quiet during the day. I love that. I begin to regret all the things we didn't get to do during the summer. I hate that.
So sweet and pretty :) Miss Priss had left her booksack (yes that's what we call it in the south) at school when she dropped off her supplies so she only had this box her teacher asked her to bring on the first day to show off. Not nearly as cute as her "not pink because I hate pink, but girly enough for people to know I am a girl" teal, black and white plaid booksack. (And yes, she "hates" pink and her bow and shoes are...PINK! But she picked them out, not me which is totally different.)
Orange is the "cool" color this year. It was an orange bag or bust. But look at the face, how could you say no?
We can do this... I love/hate uniforms. Actually that is a lie. I just love them :)

Next year Liyah-Bear, next year...

One More for the Road

Aliyah waked out to wait for the bus with the older kids, looking super cute for her first day of preschool.

Mya- MOM! Look at Aliyah! You have done a good job raising that kid!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Funny Children...

Austin- Why doesn't the rabbit ever get to have Trix in the commercial?
Me (driving)-mmm uh. (I have always thought the same thing. Such annoying commercials.)
Austin- Really?! What would it hurt? Just let the rabbit have some Trix, yo!

Mya- after eating a few bites of broccoli that she hated- This food mocks me in all sorts of languages.

Aliyah- to Austin when he had to wash the car for a punishment, in the sassiest voice she could muster- Get it right homeboy, get it wrong homeboy!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New House

Wow, I am so tired. We have been packing and moving and unpacking and purging and putting together stuff and on and on. Lest I sound like I am complaining, I am not! I love my new house, but a new house does not come with alot of stuff an "already lived in" house does. Like...grass, shelving, underground dog fence. It does some with alot of other stuff though like trash the construction guys left, more projects to complete, construction grit etc. I'll take it though :) Eric's parent's (fortunately for us and not so fortunately for them) flew in to visit on the day we moved in. We worked them to the bone with our unpacking. Chrisie washed every cloth item and every dish that were in storage and kept up on the laundry all week. Walt put away everything he could get his hands on and assembled several bookcases, tool chests, cabinets, etc. The kids were so well behaved through the whole process and found that there were lots and lots of children in this neighborhood. They would ride down the street as a pack of three and come back with at least 4 or 5 extra everytime. The neighborhood seems so very kind! Whew!

Here are a few photos for you. These were all taken a few days before we moved in. Maybe I'll add more later, maybe not. You would probably get bored with all the pictures and my decorating skills are nothing to boast. :)
The front
Eric's shower
Entry way and stairs. The door to the left is the office.
Office doors
Parts I love:
- a walk in pantry
- large porch off of the back that I can sit on and see the kids riding their bikes for a very far stretch
- a loft upstairs for the kiddos right outside of their bedrooms
- lots of extra closets

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"I like to ride my bicycle. I like to ride my bike."

****Nasty picture alert!!

But I hate crashing...
I texted Eric the first picture asking if he thought it needed stitches. He called and said, "What happened to what body part to what person???" Yeah, that would be me. I slipped on a rock on my bike and got a gear in the ankle. Not pretty. After getting stitched and resting the tendon I bruised, I think the worst part was the tetanus shot. I have felt sick all day!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Goodbyes are bittersweet

My grandpa passed last night. He had a rough few final hours from what I hear but I am sure he was not aware of it. Father took one of valiant sons home. My Grandpa was reunited with the love of his life. I will miss him and his caring, loving, frank and honest self.

Remember this post?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blog - o - sphere sociology

I had been thinking about this for a little while and a friend posted about reading other people's blogs and how she liked to read blogs of people she didn't know and I really got to thinking about it more.

I like to read others people's blogs. People I know, people I don't. Blogs about baking, crafting, healthy eating, health issues, photography, home organization, decorating, food storage, sewing, etc. You get the idea. I think we as a society view the world so differently today because we know such much about what others are up to and we get caught up in it!

Things I have noticed about blogging:
1. Sometimes I feel better knowing someone else is having a hard time, sick kid, dirty house, whatever because I know they can empathize with me.
2. Sometimes I worry too much about having to catch other's up on my life. "Oops! I didn't take a picture! How am I gonna blog about it?"
3. Sometimes people don't have boundaries when it comes to what they will blog about. I won't expound but sufficeth to say that you shouldn't blog about things you wouldn't want told to 1,876 of your closets friends.
4. I know so much more about what is going on in my extended family and far away friends lives. Makes me feel so connected to them.
5. I have such a wonderful record of my family's history and am able to increase my writing skills when I probably wouldn't otherwise.
6. This is a big one for me and probably the entire reason I wrote the post: We compare ourselves so much to what others have posted about.

We feel so much pressure to live our lives the way that others have photoed, filtered, edited, and composed theirs to look in a blog! I am 100% for making the blog look wonderful and keeping it positive. (See #3) However, we who read them so quickly forget that these are snap shots of lives, not perfect lives. So let's not change the blogs. Let's change they way we view them and get rid of our stinkin' thinkin' so we can celebrate each others' lives!!

For example: I will on occasion allow myself to think anyone of the following, "Oh gosh, I don't allow my kids to go outside and explore enough." Then read the next blog, "Oh wow, my kids always look a mess, not like so and so's children who are always perfectly put together." Next, "So and so has read how many books? I can't sit still enough to read a magazine article!" Next, "They are so grateful and positive. My family probably thinks I am so grumpy." Next, "Oh no, they fed their children all organic food for a month and have found the cure to cancer through spinach leaves. My kids just downed 3 popsicles! They are going to die tomorrow!" Next, "She's is so in shape after her baby and never seemed to miss a beat! I was a mess for a year after my last!" Next, "I don't have a reward system that includes fancy certificates for my children. I don't have a theme of the week for summer. They are never going to learn anything." Next, "She has her children in 3 extra activities and my kids are only allowed one at a time. They are going to be hermits and completely not well rounded!" Next "I didn't sew my curtains, refinish my table, start on my daughters' hand stitched wedding dresses yet!" Next, "I dress like a slob and she is fashionable!" See my point?

Please do not mistake this as fishing for compliments. I am not. As a matter of fact I don't want you to leave a comment trying to build me up. I am fine. The truth is my kids are fine. My husband's happy. I am happy. Life is actually great! My point: I am not the only one who does this, I happen to know I am not. Why do we as women in general do this to ourselves?? We need to stop comparing ourselves to each other and just celebrate our uniqueness!!

What are your thoughts?

Why do we do this to ourselves and how can we stop it so as to allow others to post happy things without feeling overwhelmed ourselves?

Pet Cemetary

I knew the day was coming. I guess learning about death through pets is a sad but inevitable event in a child's life. But twice in one week? Come on!

The fish named Wanda (that's a movie I think, or something like that, but it really was the fish's name) died on Monday. Our sweet rat Dumbo passed on Tuesday. Of course in some of the pictures the kids are wearing their summer uniforms...swimsuits.

Mya marking Wanda's plot.

The tiny pall bearers and Dumbo in her Capri Sun box/casket. Aren't they pitiful looking?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Rats For Dinner

When Eric and I were first married and still in college, we decided we wanted a pet. This little creature who would live with us would have to meet a few very certain criteria:

1. Be easy to take care. We were very busy students, new parents and not completely responsible at this point in our lives
2. Be hide-able. While we had never been told "no", we had also never been told "yes" to having pets at the house we lived in. (It turned out to be OK once the landlord found out.)
3. Be CHEAP. We didn't have money for a pack of gum much less a pet!

So off we went to the pet store in hopes of finding that dream pet. I am not sure what we thought we could get that would meet all of those demands, but we were hopeful for sure.

We saw:
Dogs- didn't meet any of the above!
Cats- see above and I am not a cat lover, fortunately neither was Eric
Chinchilla- too much work, too big
Lizard- didn't fit the snuggly feeling we were going for. Plus needed lights, rocks, etc.

The store clerk took pity on our plight and offered to show us a rat. A what??? That's right, a rat. We conceded and looked. The little thing was white and blonde (cute), tiny(hide-able), a self entertainer (easy to care for), self cleaner (liking it more), and 4 DOLLARS! Um, excuse me? Did you say $4? Yep! Now a cage... the store worker happened to have a used one that she needed to get rid of so we got our new fur-ball a little food and for about $10 we were out of the door with our pet.

We named her Lucy. Eric and Lucy watched TV together while he feed her Cheerios. I snuggled her and taught Austin to play nicely with her. "Yucy" and Austin were buddies. When we graduated and decided to move, we flew to Louisiana while Walt and Chrisie drove our car. For fear our snuggle bug would eat her, Chrisie asked that we find another way to get Lucy to Louisiana besides in the back of the car. We knew if they did take her, they would have to take her in and out of the hotels they stayed in on the way and feed her, etc. I get it, not everyone likes rats and we would rather keep Grandma happy. We knew when we bought her that we probably wouldn't able to take her if we moved far away and that was alot to ask of someone anyway. We regretfully returned her to the store and they took her back right before we drove out of Provo.

Fast forward about 5 years. We had a little inside dog but the kids were asking for a cute little rodent of some kind. We looked at pet stores and after the hamster I was trying to love on bit me I said NO HAMSTERS! Eric started researching online for the best type of furry little "thing" we could find. I reminded him about Lucy. Yep, a rat it was then! So we looked at about 3 pets stores before we found a domestic rat. We found one that was a Fancy Rat, just like Lucy, and was white and blonde, just like Lucy. That rat was coming home with me! We also found a Dumbo Eared rat that was brown and white. So we got them out of the cage, made sure they were both female, (we like rats in small numbers!) and since rats like company, we took them both home. We paid about $21 for our new "Dumbo" and "Lucy". Plus we had to buy a cage this time.

These rats have been part of the family for about 3 years now. They have yet to bite anyone, well, anyone who didn't have peanut butter on the end of his or her finger. They get frequent baths, pushed in strollers, carried in purses, and made to do acrobatics. They go on field trips to preschool on "R" week and are the first thing kids want to see when they come to play. They watch TV, snuggle sick kids, eat crusts of bread, and come when you call them. We love them. Sadly rats only live about 4-5 years so they are aging for sure. We think Lucy has cancer and Dumbo is deaf. They are both losing hair and getting skinnier despite being fed well. But they remain cheerful and easy to please, so as long as they seem to not be suffering, they keep playing a role in the family. (I recently had a nightmare that I found Dumbo had passed away in the night. I am not looking forward to that day.)

Earlier this week Mya and Aliyah had a special dinner for them. On the menu for a rat you ask? Goldfish crackers, grapes and carrots.


Sunday, July 03, 2011

Miss Me?

Well hello there blog-o-sphere! Long time no talk! I'm back. I reread some previous posts the other day and realized I wasn't so bad at this and that I loved looking back at the memories! So, while there is so much to catch up on, I will give you the quick and dirty run down. I lost my camera in the move so alot of these pictures were taken on the iphone with sub-par quality. I knew I would find it when I moved again (which I did the other day) so I didn't buy a new one but I still wanted to keep documenting.

-Sold our house and moved into my parents to house sit while they are in Africa

-Austin began his first season of baseball

-Got a new puppy name Bella
- Eric and I went on a trip to Southern California for work.

- Chrisie Grandma came to watch kids while we were gone.
- Halloween: We had a Harry Potter (Austin), a Nerd (Mya) and a Ballerina (Aliyah) I just realized I never got any pictures of that but Grandma did so I will have to get them from her.

- Aliyah was admitted to the hospital for asthma, croup and pneumonia

-Sadie was attacked by another dog and only wanted Grandma to hold her. She bit everyone else that touched her.

-Eric had his tooth knocked out in a rough game of church ball which had to be replaced within an hour to save it. With braces being the only way to hold it in place. Oh how he hated that! The ladies here were sweating when they were done because they had to work so fast to save that tooth!

-We celebrated Eric's birthday, him with a stitched together mouth and braced teeth.
-Thanksgiving was celebrated with just our little family complete with a meal that we ordered in! I didn't feel nearly as guilty as I thought I would. It was wonderful. Instead I spent the time letting the kids decorate the table.

-Aliyah made another trip to the ER for asthma the night before Austin had surgery to have his 8th set of tubes put in his ears.

-Mya finished up her 4th season of gym and decided to take a break to start piano.
-Aliyah finished her first season of gym.

- Aliyah slipped in the tub 2 days before Christmas and had two stitches put in her chin.

-We went to a nursing home with my brothers and their families. We spread a little cheer through song, presents and kids running and giggling through the halls.
- Christmas eve we ate a dinner at my brother Shane's new home and exchanged cousin and sibling gifts.
- Surprised the kids with a go-cart Christmas morning. Eric surprised me with a new wedding ring.

- Eric hosted the first ever Baton Rouge Stake Camp Helaman, which is a missionary training camp for boys ages 16-18, at our cabin in Mississippi. This was done in an effort to increase the number of missionaries leaving from our stake.

- We celebrated a wet and rainy New Year's Eve with an nontraditional family gathering of my brothers who live around here and my brother from Dallas. I say nontraditional because we usually have a crowd of over 100 people gather at my parents for a bonfire, jambalaya and fireworks. This year it was just too wet and rainy. We hosted that because we are living at my parents.

-Austin and Mya began piano lessons
-Austin started basketball
Coach Lance Peytavin
- We learned Aliyah was allergic to dogs and cockroaches. We said a tearful goodbye to Sadie (our inside dog) and we gave her away to a very nice lady we know through business.

-We learned Austin was allergic to dogs and that his PREVNAR vaccine did not take as a baby and therefore had no strep immunity. We was given a booster shot and 6 weeks later he had increased immunity 18 fold

- I accidentally amputated Aliyah's finger by rolling it up in the car window. It was extremely traumatic for the whole family. It miraculously grew back in a matter of about 6 weeks.

- More figuring out how to control Aliyah's asthma
- I flew out to St. George to attend the wedding of some friends I set up.

-Eric and I were the King and Queen at the annual Rotary Club's Mardi Gras Ball.

-The Legacy group was awarded "Agents of the Year" for the Baton Rouge area for production.
Eric, Cristin (their right hand assistant), and Seth
-Eric and I took Austin down to New Orleans with my brothers' families to watch the BYU March Madness finals.
BYU cheerleaders, Annabelle, Merrick and Mya

- We closed on our house and FINALLY started construction!!!!

-Progress on the house
- Eric and Austin attended the Father Son Campout
-We celebrated a very low key Easter here at home

- Aliyah turned 4 and had her first birthday party complete with swimming and a water slide!

- Austin and Mya participated in their first piano recital and both made honor roll
Mrs. Gwen
- Austin learned he scored super high on the iLeap test with an Advance (highest) score in all core courses.
- Aliyah came down with pneumonia
-Austin and Mya started competitive swimming

- School got out and I no longer had to drive back and forth between Gonzales and Prairieville several times a day!!!

-Austin turned 9 and took some friends to play lazer tag after some cake and ice cream at home
Chase Masten, Austin, Merrick, Dillon Harden
- Eric and I celebrated 10 years of marriage!
- Our new niece Reece was born. Her big brothers stayed here while she was coming!
Mya, Jack, Rush and Aliyah
- Kids swam and Austin had a great season. Mya learned to compete and got a 1st place in one of her backstroke heats.
- Kids swam in the Baton Rouge city meet. Mya took 5th place in back stroke when she was seeded 30th! She shaved 11 seconds off of her time!!!

- Austin was seeded 1st in breaststroke and took second. He was seeded 4th in backstroke and took 5th. His relay team took first in both the freestyle and medley relays.
- Aliyah got pneumonia. Dr. West suggested we get a bronchoscopy done to get some answers as to what was going on.
- Went to Girls Camp as a chaperon

- Eric hosted the second Camp Helaman at the cabin.

- We anticipate moving in about 1 1/2 weeks into our new home.
- We will have about 10 youth stay overnight approximately the same day we move in for youth Conference.
- Walt and Chrisie will come to visit on the 19th to help us unpack ?! I am sure that's what they bargained for!

It has been a wild few months for us. Things I did not include field trips, cub scout events, field days etc. Here are a few more picture of such to wet your appetite :)
Mya and Mom at the New Orleans Zoo
Austin and Buddies at the State Capital
Aliyah sitting on the overly patient Bella
Told ya- overly patient!!
Mya and Cousin Merrick- not a front tooth between the two of 'em!
YEs that was Austin's first ever Pine Wood Derby car. 100% his idea!
Austin and his Wolf leader, Bro. Jimmy
So cute!!
That was one pricey nap!
Ready for church
Cristin (again, the one who keeps them organized), Seth and Eric
I am sure I was the only one wearing hoop earrings that worked on my house that day :)
Spending her birthday money
Stake Day of Service- fixing up some schools in West Baton Rouge- Mya, Jack, Austin, Merrick and Cameron Hughes literally replaced the border around this playground all on their own. When the adults came back to check on the progress they were almost done. Amazing what the Lord can work with!