Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas fun

Christmas is so much fun with small children. Here are some of my favorite pictures.
Who wants presents when you can eat the Christmas tree?

Putting out the food for the reindeer.

Jeni got this sleeping bag from one of her cousins on Christmas Eve and has slept in it ever since. Thanks Hayden!

Should we go downstairs to see if Santa came?

First we have to wake up the uncles. Tackle time!!!

Opening presents at last! Nathan really got into presents this year. He keeps asking for more and wondering when Santa is going to come again.

Yay!! Look at all that paper to crumple up and eat (and choke on!)

Fun new Christmas pajamas.

When everything is all said and done it's lots of fun to play with new toys. The girls have especially enjoyed their new dollhouse and furniture and Nathan loves his trains.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Getting ready for Christmas

It's been very busy getting ready for Christmas. The kids have all had Christmas programs to attend. First we started with Jeni's very first play at school. She was a choral reader (third from the left - green bow) and did very well learning quite a bit of Luke Chapter 2 and singing all the beautiful songs.
Then we went to Nathan's Joy School Christmas play/party. He made a very cute Joseph. He and his Joy School friends all did a great job.
A few days later we went back to school to see Maddie's grade sing songs and share Christmas traditions from all around the world. For a class project each child had to learn about a different country and make a presentation about their Christmas traditions. Maddie learned all about Uruguay which is where my Mom went on her mission. Then of course, there has been all sorts of shopping, parties and running around. For our neighbor gifts this year I decided to bake a loaf of orange or cinnamon raisin bread for everyone. (The picture shows just over half of the bread I baked.) As things usually do, it turned out to be a bigger project than I expected and kept me very busy for several hours but it was fun to look at all of the loaves sitting on my counter and to visit with our friends as we dropped them off and wished them all a Merry Christmas.
I decided to get a head start on the wrapping and when the girls saw me bring the stuff up they wanted to help. They ended up doing most of the wrapping for me! They were very creative in their wrapping efforts but hey, I didn't have to do it all. Yay!!! Thanks girls!

Then the girls decided they wanted to make a little extra money for Christmas so they decided to set up a Hot Chocolate stand outside and sell cocoa. Since it was pretty cold nobody was out and business was very slow so they decided to go door-to-door. In the end I think they made $3.50. I've got a couple of entrepreneurs there!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Merry Christmas to me!!!!

Tuesday morning I went in for my last regular appointment at the orthodontist. The plan was to take an impression so they could have my retainer ready for the “debanding” appointment next Tuesday. I was really nervous that the orthodontist was going to see something else that needed changing and put the appointment off again (it's happened twice already). But imagine my surprise and delight when they told me they had a cancellation and they were going to take my braces off right then! Yippee!!!! They took a quick impression, he made my permanent retainer right then and off came my braces a week before I was expecting them to. Merry Christmas to me!!!! So here is a before picture...
...the day I got the braces on...
...and an after picture.
I love my new smile! It makes me feel so beautiful and after three long years, what a relief it is to finally have everything all done.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Last Friday we made our annual trek with Grandpa Moultrie up Weber Canyon to a tree farm. We wandered over the hillside until we finally found the perfect tree. It didn't take long since the kids were all freezing and after about 3 minutes they thought every tree looked great! We picked our trees, cut them down and tied them to the top of our car. The rope was so long that Bob tossed the rest of it in the back of the car where the kids were sitting. They held it tight and made sure that the trees didn't fall off on the way home! Thanks kids! We spent the rest of the day on Friday and Saturday decorating the real tree in our Family Room and the artifical tree in the Living Room. The kids all had such a great time decorating.Jeni and Nathan worked really hard and made the paper chains for the real tree and then everyone added the candy canes. As long as they are hanging on the tree the dog leaves them alone.
Later I tried to cut off my thumb with a chisel when I was chopping up white chocolate to make a molded nativity scene. Don't worry though, I saved the chocolate by yanking my hand out of the way before I could bleed on it!
Sunday morning I came downstairs to find the kids making presents to go under the living room tree. They were busy drawing pictures for everyone then they would fold them up, wrap them in blue paper and tie them with some red string they found. What sweethearts!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Congratulations!

Monday night my brother Steve and his girlfriend Sarah came over to make the happy announcement that they are engaged!! They were so cute, bubbling over with excitement and happiness as Steve asked Maddie and Jeni what they would think of having a new aunt.
At first the girls didn't really understand what all the excitement was about but after we explained it to them they got really excited too. They have been playing wedding ever since. Maddie got dressed up in her pretty (but three sizes too small) blue dress, olive green/hot pink argyle socks and a Hawaiian wrap draped over her head like a veil. Then she walked tippy-toe down the "aisle" while Jeni ran ahead of her throwing "flower petals" up in the air to rain down on Maddie. They have been very excited when they found out they will be getting beautiful new dresses and they figured out how they want to do their hair - up in a bun with two roses, except that Maddie's hair isn't long enough to make a bun. Oh darn. They have also been asking if they can start calling Sarah "Aunt Sarah" now or if they have to wait until after the wedding.
So anyway, congratulations guys and welcome to the family Sarah! I can't imagine a better match for Steve or anyone else making him as happy as he has been since he met you!

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm thankful for...

Thanksgiving! It's one of my favorite holidays. We had it at my house this year with my parents and two of my brothers so it was a small group but we had a good time together. Nothing like great food and great company to make an occasion special.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

An eventful weekend

Last weekend was a pretty busy one. It started when I came home from shopping and went to put the Thanksgiving turkey in the freezer. I opened the door and realized that things were on the squishy side. Sigh...the door had not been closed tightly, again. I finally decided to drag in the garbage can and clean out the freezer, a task we've been putting off for at least a year! Since I didn't know what was good and what wasn't it all went into the garbage can. I'm hoping that they will pick it up and not leave us a nasty note that the can is too heavy! Anyway, after I finished emptying it out I spent the rest of Friday afternoon and evening trying to defrost the freezer. I tried steaming it, letting the sun shine into the freezer, chipping it out and finally concluded that the fastest way was to pour hot water in the freezer over and over again until the ice finally melted. What a pain! But I will say this, there is nothing like the feeling of pride you get when you look at a dreaded, difficult job well done! I looked at my nice clean freezer (a fringe benefit of all the water!) with my lonely turkey sitting in it and I wanted to take a picture but I thought that might be going a little to far. Oh well!

Saturday morning was a lot more fun. Bob kept the rest of the kids while Grace and I went with some friends to see Twilight. It was a good show in spite of being low budget and a little bit cheesy! I enjoyed it and except for a few minutes in the middle of the movie, Grace was really good. After the show we went and got some lunch to fuel our analysis of the show and had a great time chatting. So, other than an embarrassing episode of wandering around the parking garage trying to find my car (I guess in our excitement to catch up to the other half of our group and go see this fine movie we forgot to pay attention to where we parked - Oops!) we had a great time! It's always fun to have a girls day out!

Sunday we got up and somehow we made it on time for church, I'm amazed that the building didn't fall down! It turned out it was a good thing we were on time because during the announcements the stake representative got up and made an "announcement of interest" that included announcing Bob was going to be ordained as a High Priest during Priesthood meeting. The bishop had talked to Bob about making him a H.P. several weeks ago (geez, that makes both of us feel OLD!) but there were no detail such as when. So when the first speaker got up Bob skipped out of the rest of Sacrament Meeting to try and track down his Dad to do the ordination. He was successful and it was a very nice ordination. Poor Bob, when the whole things was over with he told me "I guess that I have to get a suit now!". I know he's not looking forward to it, but I have to admit that I am. I think he will look very FINE in a nice suit! Love you Honey!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My baby is growing up!

This week had been a busy one for Gracie. Sunday night she rolled over from her back to her tummy for the first time. Then a few minutes later she rolled the other way, from her tummy to her back! She has also become really interested in things around her. She loves to try and grab toys or whatever she can get hold of and of course they all go straight to her mouth. Then on Thursday she tried her first solid food - rice cereal, yum! She really seems to like it and tries to grab the spoon and shove it in her mouth whenever it gets close to her!I'm not sure I'm ready for my sweet little baby to grow up so fast! But ready or not, here she goes!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Maddie's first piano recital

Maddie had her first piano recital last night. She started taking lessons from Isabelle Stringham in September after school had started. I'm amazed how quickly she is learning and it's wonderful to see her learning to play on the same piano that I did.
Maddie played a piece called Black Cats Waltzing. It had a duet that went with it that she had me play with her. It was fun to do. She quickly had the piece memorized but I can't say the same. Oh well. She did a great job and really got a kick out of playing on the yellow piano. Way to go Maddie!

video

Honesty

Tonight Grace and I took Maddie to the store to get a new coat. When we got to the store I put my wallet and Grace in her car seat in the cart and away we went. We didn't have any luck finding a coat so we put the cart away and went to another store. When we got there my heart fell when I went to get my wallet and realized that I had left it in the cart at the first store. We drove back as fast as we could, it had only been about 15 minutes but my wallet was nowhere to be seen. I checked with the cashiers but nobody had turned it in. All I could do was leave my name and phone number and go home and wait. I was so nervous and worried. Not only did I have some cash in my wallet, but my driver license, a credit and debit card, a Costco cash card with two weeks of gas money on it and all of our insurance cards. I was worried about the cash but I was much more worried about my driver license and the possibility of ID theft. What a world we live in! Maddie and I said a prayer as soon as we were back in the car that whoever found the wallet would be honest and turn it in. We went home and waited for a while before Bob and I decided to call the bank and had them put a hold on our cards. It was scary to think that in that moment all of our assets were locked up. We can't use our credit or debit cards and I couldn't even go to the bank and withdraw any cash because I had no ID! I never realized how much of my life I carry in my wallet! I couldn't even go to the library and get a book! It was such a helpless feeling topped off with fears of what future ramifications there might be if we didn't get it back.

We worried and stewed but thankfully it wasn't too long before a knock came at the door. There was a stranger who said his name was Carlos and he asked for me. When I came he reached into his coat and pulled out my wallet! He had found it at the store and since he works for Comcast and is familiar with the area he decided to return it to our home instead of the store. He gave it back to me with everything still inside of it, undisturbed. I was so relieved I could have kissed him. I tried to give him some cash for his help but he refused. Instead he shook all of our hands very warmly and disappeared into the night. I didn't realize how much worry I was really carrying until it was lifted and I could breathe again. We said a prayer of thanksgiving for an answered prayer and life got back to normal.

This experience has really made me stop and think about honesty and how important it really is. When we first realized that my wallet was missing Maddie was worried that somebody would accidentally buy it. It was kind of sad for me to explain to her that there are people who would take it and keep it instead of returning it. She is so innocent that I don't think that idea had occurred to her. Once it had she was so worried that she cried all the way home and off and on until it was returned. Honesty is necessary for a good community and I believe that most people are honest. It's sad that a few dishonest people have to make the rest of us wonder wether we can trust each other or not. It made me stop and wonder how honest I am and if there is room for improvement, I think there always is. I think that honesty in the little things we do and say, as well as the big things make a difference, even if nobody else knows. We do and that's what is important. So thank you Carlos, wherever you are for being honest, an answer to a prayer and a reminder to me and my family that honesty is truly important.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Results

Tuesday night was kind of a tense one. I went to vote that morning and then Bob went after he got home from work. After the polls closed at 8:00 he went out to collect all of his lawn signs while I watched the results come in on the internet (I just watched the local stuff on the internet, I couldn't take the presidential stuff all over the TV). He would call every few minutes for an update. In the end Bob got 573 votes or 4.5% of all votes cast. When he ran two years ago he got just over 3%. It was kind of sad, we were hoping for more because of all the work and money that went into his campaign this time around. Bob has been quite down about losing because he is so passionate about politics and he really wants to make a difference. I guess he'll have to figure out a different way to do it, but if anyone can do that, it's Bob!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Halloween was such a fun day. The kids looked really cute in their costumes. Maddie’s costume started out as a vampire. She had a long black wig to go with it but it was itchy so she decided to be a “Fair Maiden” instead. Jeni was a witch again, no big surprise since she has been a witch 4 out of the 6 Halloweens she has been around for. I was able to fix Nathan’s costume so he enjoyed being the Dragon and Grace was really cute as a little Jack-O-Lantern.

Friday turned out to be one big Halloween party! It started early when Maddie and Jeni got up and put on their costumes and away they went to school. We got Nathan dressed up in his Dragon costume and then we met the girls at school for the Halloween Parade and Carnival that the 7th and 8th grades put on. They had all sorts of game booths, treats and prizes. It was lots of fun.
After the carnival we brought the kids home and had a couple of hours before we started with trick-or-treating. The weather has been so nice and warm (mid 70’s) so I sent the kids out to play with their friends until it was time to go. This is the first Halloween I can remember where we took sweaters with us just in case it got cold but we didn’t need them. I love it! Anyway, first we went to all the Grandma’s and Grandpa’s and then to a couple of friends.
Then we took the kids around the neighborhood and ward and finally finished up at the Wright’s where we enjoyed popcorn balls and wassail, good company and “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”. After that we took our grumpy, sugar-high kids home and collapsed into bed. All in all it was a very fine day. Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Third times the charm...I hope

I had an orthodontist appointment this morning and for the third time I set up an appointment to get my braces off. The first appointment was way back in February but due to a broken bracket it got put off until April. When April rolled around we decided to go for another six months to see if I could get a permanent retainer on my top teeth. Dr. Luddington wasn't sure it would work but we decided it would be worth the extra time (no extra charge thanks to a contract I signed before I even started this odyssey). It seems that the extra effort was worth it because there is now room for the retainer, yeah!! So my fingers are crossed that nothing else will happen and come December 16th I will have a brand new smile to show the world!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch

Last Friday we went on a Joy School field trip to a local pumpkin patch. Maddie and Jeni were very excited to be able to go as well since they were out of school on Fall Break.
First we let the kids run around in a hay maze. They had so much fun!
Then we got a cart and picked out the perfect pumpkin, which was hard to find in 8 acres of pumpkins!
Then we found some really scary witches...
sat with some scarecrows...
and spooked some ghosts!
It was a lot of fun and now we have lots of pumpkins on our front steps. When we got home the kids had so much fun painting the small pumpkins. They are really looking forward to carving the rest of the pumpkins except for a white one we found that we are planning on cooking up in a pie after it's done it's tour of duty as a Halloween decoration. Yeah for multi-taskers!

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Poke in the Eye

A few months ago, Bob and Nathan were playing when Nathan accidentally poked Bob in the eye. Bob responded in typical fashion when something startles or hurts him, meaning he let out a very loud yell of surprise. It scared poor Nathan half to death and reduced him to tears, but from this experience came two things. First of all came a great new game between the two of them where Nathan will sneak up on Bob and gently poke him (anywhere but the eyes!), then he shouts “Poke!” and runs away laughing knowing that Bob will chase after him and tickle him when he’s caught. It is so funny to watch the two of them poking each other.

The other thing that came from this is Nathans belief that the ultimate insult is a poke in the eye. He often comes to me claiming that Grace has poked him in the eye. I’m not really sure what he wants me to do about it other than give him a hug, explain again that Grace can’t control her hands and arms yet and then pretend to say sorry in Graces voice. Then he’s happy and away he goes. His funniest expression of a poke in the eye came last week when we were driving the kids out to school. The sun was just coming up over the mountains and was shining in our eyes. It was really frustrating Nathan who kept complaining about the sun. I guess I wasn’t making the sun go away like he thought I was suppose to because finally in a fit of anger he proclaimed “Mama, the sun poked me in the eyes!”

Monday, October 13, 2008

The First Snow

We had our first snowfall of the season Saturday night and we woke up Sunday morning to find that winter had come. At first the kids were upset by this, they seemed to think that snow cannot come until after Halloween. They were very concerned that we were going to have to skip Halloween this year and it was especially traumatic since we just bought new costumes on Saturday and they haven’t quit wearing them since. When we reassured them that this was not the case they decided the snow was lots of fun. As soon as they got home from church they found snow clothes for everyone and out they headed to throw snowballs and make a snowman.

I went outside to watch the fun and take some pictures and I was struck by how pretty our roses were and how strange they looked against the snow. The two just don’t seem to go together! I guess I’d better enjoy the roses while I still can.

By the way, you can see one of Bob's official signs in the picture. I'm surprised how far 50 of them went and how often I see them as I'm driving around town. Go Bob!

Signs

Bob has decided to run for House of Representatives for the Constitution Party again this year. He ran two years ago and in an effort to get more votes this time than last he decided to order 50 lawn signs. The signs didn’t come as soon as he expected and he was starting to get very frustrated, especially since his opponent has signs EVERYWHERE. Anyway, one morning he was worrying about the signs so Maddie and Jeni disappeared upstairs and a while later they came down with some signs they had made themselves. They wanted to use them so Bob took them around and they handed the signs out to some of our neighbors.

His official signs came a few days later and one evening we all piled in the car and took signs around. The kids sat in the back and banged on the signs like drums and made up a song that went something like “Vote for Bob, he’s not too goofy!” They make fine campaign managers!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Jeni!

Jeni is now officially six years old! I can’t believe that my kids are getting so big. I can’t possibly be that old myself, can I? Oh well.
We had Jeni’s birthday party on Monday night and were able to enjoy the company of many family members. Nana and Grandma Moultrie came and took Jeni birthday shopping after school and Jeni got the present that she’s “always wanted” (the one that I’d never heard of before I guess) which turned out to be a teddy bear stuffing machine. It came with three bear “skins” and a machine that you put the stuffing in, turn the crank and ta-da, you have your own teddy bear. Later on she got two Barbies, some Polly Pockets and some clothes. But I suspect that her favorite present of all may have been the $.88 box of candy that I bought on a whim and tucked into the package of clothes to make it sound interesting!

One of the great things about Jeni’s birthday being in October is that we can make fun Halloween themed cakes for her birthday. I found a recipe for a candy that was about the consistency of play dough and the flavor of the inside of a peppermint patty so Jeni and I spent the afternoon making a ghost, a black cat and pumpkins to put on her cake. We had fun spending the time together and ended up with a pretty darn cute cake to boot! Happy Birthday Jeni! I sure do love you!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bedtime!

The last couple of weeks Maddie and Jeni have decided to help get Nathan and Grace ready for bed at night. Jeni has decided that she is in charge of Grace and will take her and change her diaper and then put on her sleeper, singing made up songs to her the whole time. One of the songs that she made up for Grace goes to the tune “Hush Little Baby” and says

Hush little Gracie, don’t shed a tear.
Mommy’s going to hold you all night my dear.
We’ve been there and we’ve done that.
Hurry Mommy, hurry fast!

After Jeni gives me Grace and goes to get herself ready for bed I have to discreetly check and make sure that Grace’s diaper is on the right way. The other day I noticed that Grace’s onsie wouldn’t stay on the diaper, it kept slipping to one side. I finally opened it up and saw that Maddie had changed her without me knowing it and poor Grace had one whole cheek hanging out of her diaper! At least she hadn’t done anything yet…

Maddie helps Nathan get ready for bed and has come up with a really cute routine to distract him from the automatic “No” of a three year old. Nathan loves Thomas so she tells him, "Come on Nathan, we've got to hurry and go to all the stations so you can go drive Thomas. And if we aren't on time the train will leave without us." So first they head off to the "Flush and Swish Station" (he gets to go potty one last time – by the way, when he has to go he comes and tells me “Mom, I’ve got pee in me”, then I know we’ve got to hurry before he “makes an accident”). Next comes the "Soapy-soap station" (he washes his hands) then the "Wipey-wipe station" (he dries his hands). Then comes the "Warm and cozy station" (pajama time), the "Scrubby-brush station" (tooth brushing time) and last but not least, the "Head-bow station" which is prayers. Every once in a while she throws in "Well done, Nathan" and when they are finished she says "Wow Nathan, you are a very useful engine" in her best Sir Topham Hatt voice. Then it's time to go drive Thomas which is his bed. They have a good time with this game and it gets Nathan in to bed!

I am so lucky to have such great helpers!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bob's new toy

A couple of weeks ago Bob got a new toy. It is a metal lathe that he has been wanting for years and he finally ordered it online. It came on a cool, drizzly day and I panicked a little bit when the FedEx Freight guy came to drop it off and said he would need help getting it up the steep driveway. The only people I knew that were home are all the other moms that live in my neighborhood and I imagined a whole pack of us trying to get the 700 pound lathe up into the garage. But he assured me that I would be all the help he would need and that if they had packed it better so that it would sit on a pallet jack right he would have been able to do it himself. Anyway, he worked and worked to get the load balanced on the pallet jack and then angled up the driveway the right way and somehow we did it. Nathan thought the big box in the garage was the neatest thing ever, until Bob came home from work and opened up the crate. Then Nathan saw all the buttons, gizmos and wheels to turn and it was nearly impossible to drag him away from “Daddy’s new toy”. They have definitely had some major boy bonding time out in the garage! It took Bob several days to clean all the excess oil off the lathe and get it ready to put into position on his table in the garage. Then with the help of a rented engine hoist and three great neighbors (thanks guys!) it has finally settled into its permanent home.

While all the guys were doing their thing with the lathe I called all the kids inside, including Emily and Ashley who had followed their Daddy over. Emily disappeared upstairs to play with Maddie and Jeni while Nate and Ashley decided to play dress up together. I helped Nathan into his dragon costume that we just got from Costco for Halloween. As you can see I need to figure out how to make it fit him better – I would like grandchildren someday! Ashley wanted to be the princess and once they were dressed up they had the best time playing together. Nathan would chase after Ashley flapping his arms and growling while Ashley ran away shrieking as the damsel-in-distress, at least until she got tired of it and turned around to chase the dragon away instead! They had a lot of fun playing together. It’s fun to see Nathan growing up and learning the social skills he needs like how to play with other kids. Sometimes that doesn’t come very naturally!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Life so far

I've been thinking about starting a blog for quite a while now but the ladies in my book club inspired to me to finally start one.

Life has been very hectic lately since Grace's birth last June but now that school has started and she is three months old, I finally feel like I might be getting a grip on things again. The kids have been in school for a few weeks now and they are loving it. Maddie is in third grade and Jeni started Kindergarten this year. She has been particularly excited for school since she has had to wait for so long! When I took her in to find out who her teacher was going to be Maddie said "Whoever you get will be fine but you had better get Mrs. Durrant!" Sure enough Jeni got Mrs. Durrant and so far loves her just as much as Maddie did. I found out at the school open house last week that Maddie still stops in and sees all her old teachers almost every day.

Nathan also started school this year. He goes to Joy School with four other girls from our ward. Poor guy, he is the youngest and the only boy. I think he will keep things stirred up, but hopefully not too much. Anyway, Joy School is a co-op kind of deal where I take turns teaching with all the other moms. It works out really well and the more I do Joy School, the more I love the program. The first unit that Nathan just finished up was Joy of the Body. I think his favorite activity so far was fingerpainting with chocolate pudding in one of the lessons talking about our senses.

Grace is growing like a weed! It's fun to see how fast she changes. She is filling out so much and I really think she looks a lot like Jeni did when she was a baby. She is starting to grin for everybody and is trying her best to talk. She makes those adorable baby coos and the other day she surprised herself by giggling at her siblings playing. She hasn't been able to repeat it yet but I think it's very close.