Friday, May 30, 2014

All About Roo

Roo is triumphantly finishing up second grade.  She had a great year.  She is above grade level in most things.  She loves school as has been totally self-motivated with homework (usually just reading, which I have no problem with.) 

She decided in January she wanted to homeschool in the fall.  I was surprised,  since she loves school so much, and I waited to see if it was a passing fancy.  But it wasn't.   She made up her mind and she is excited to be coming back home with me.  I am so excited to teach her.... I can't even tell you.  I know I can load her up with every awesome curriculum I can get my hands on, plan out a schedule weeks in advance,  and she will cheerfully cruise through everything.   She will write paragraphs for me even.  I can't even imagine.   I will still have plenty of time to work with my other homeschooler who needs at little more... ahem... motivation.  And I am hoping said other homeschoolers competitiveness will come into play and he will work harder so as not to get beat by his sister four grades behind him.  That would be a good thing.  

Despite the fact that she is much more shy and reserved than Rabbit, Roo had lots of friends at school.  She never had any bad experiences socially, which blows my mind.   Her main friends seemed to be the more popular girls, though she was never sucked into "popular girl" culture I remember from school.  She never felt a need to follow the herd.  I have never heard her say she had to dress a certain way or listen to certain music or have certain things because that's what her friends did or had.  And the only friend drama I ever heard about was her mentioning casually that two of her friends fought with each other sometimes. 

Roo just barely learned to ride a bike.  She is so pleased.  She could have learned before now (both my boys were five when they learned) but this is the first time we have been in a decent setup for bike riding in a long time.  Now she has been begging to be allowed to ride her bike to school.  The Badger and I don't feel like she has enough control yet, especially the ability to stop quickly, so we have told her no.  This morning she cried noisily about that for about ten minutes.   Such emotional outbursts are rare for her and I felt really bad, but I truly did not think it was safe. 

Roo is my most autonomous child.  She takes care of herself without me reminding her.  I usually only have to tell her to do something once and it gets done.  She doesn't forget to brush her teeth.   She does her own hair, which doesn't look as neat as if I had done it, but in a few years she will be way better than me at hair (not that that would be hard...)  She takes very good care of her clothing, putting it away in her drawers when she is done wearing it (imagine that!)  When I fold the laundry, there is usually a big pile for each of other kids, but only a couple items for Roo because she doesn't get her clothes dirty. 

Roo loves to play fairies and princesses.  She loves to dress up and create her own dressup creations.  She loves to draw and, like Rabbit, often brings me cute little notes and pictures.   She also loves to play outside and plays with the neighborhood kids a lot. 

She loves her ballet class tremendously.   She also loved a music (mostly singing) class she took at the YMCA this spring.  And of course she still loves her violin and is doing very well with it. 

For a long time, Roo absolutely could not go to sleep at night unless I came in her room and sang to her.   I half loved this and it half drove me crazy because she would always come say "I'm ready for you to come sing to me" right when Prince Charming was hitting the wall and needed me and then after I got him settled I didn't want to drag myself out of bed again.   But when I did I always loved singing to her (and Rabbit) and watching her quietly drift off to sleep.  I knew it was a precious time.  When I couldn't go sing to her the Badger usually would, but if no one did I found out later she would cry herself to sleep (sad!)  But since I have been so sick she has been more understanding and goes to bed by herself more of the time.  The Badger usually does sing to her though (I have the best Badger!) 

So that's pretty much Roo these days.  I can't believe how lucky I am to have her and I enjoy every second I spend with her. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

On the Subject of the Rabbit

My Rabbit is winding up her Kindergarten year.  She totally rocked it and she pretty much loved every minute of it.  

She soared through all the academics, despite the fact that half the time we didn't do her homework. I think homework in Kindergarten is unnecessary (even though it was only a small amount),  so I wasn't very good at making sure she got it done.  In fact,  I think the rigorous academic standards they are putting on Kindergarteners these days are rather appalling and I feel sorry for any late bloomers (or even average bloomers) in there.  In the Rabbit's case, she is an early bloomer, so she had absolutely no problem.   She is now reading amazingly well, which is fun to watch.   And the standard of writing they brought her to is quite impressive.  She has really enjoyed the challenge, being the strong-willed and determined little critter she is. 

At home she is always sittting down with books and trying to read them.  She also loves to bring me little notes she has written for me.  She is particularly good at decorative borders and patterns on the notes.  I am quite impressed with this facet of her artistic skills. 

She has finally decided that she loves her ballet class and is moving up a level.  For awhile she wasn't sure and didn't always want to go.  I knew it was good for her though because she loves music so much.  (You should hear her sing!)

Socially,  I can't keep up with the kid.  She has so many friends at school and in the neighborhood.  She loves people and they love her.  I doubt I will see much of her this summer because ever since the weather got warm she always seems to be outside playing with one friend or another. 

I feel like this girl is growing up fast and I need to teach her as much as I can while I still can.  It worries me a little.  But she is still very close to me and loves to come and snuggle with us and tell us how much she loves us. 

A year ago I was concerned because she often wet her pants.  That's totally behind us now.  And she almost never sucks on a binky anymore, but sometimes.... 

She is still always the last one ready in the morning and has to be frequently reminded to stay on task with her morning routine.  When we arrive at school during the morning announcements it is usually because she dawdled a lot.  I put this down to her only being six years old. 

She is a beautiful and delightful person and we love having her in our family! 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Peanut Update

So now I will talk about Peanut.  She is now three and a half.  This is such a fun age! 

She likes to pretend she is one of her favoite characters as she goes about her imaginative days.  It is usually Little Bear.    So she will call me Mama Bear and ask me questions, expecting me to call her Litle Bear when I answer.   If I don't, she doesn't get mad, she just reminds me what I am supposed to call her.  She is a pretty easy-going kiddo. 

She loves to sing and tell stories and play outside.  She plays well with other children. 

She loves to pretend she is riding a horse.   She builds a horse out of any one of a number of materials (chairs, laundry baskets, pillows, etc.) and then uses a totebag as a saddle.   I guess I have blogged about the girls' "horses" before but it is very noteworthy how often Peanut engages in this particular imagination.  

She has been doing well with potty training lately, despite the fact that I have not been able to be at all consistent with her due to my current condition. 

She is at that rough age where sometimes her older siblings don't enjoy being around her because she makes messes and gets into stuff and doesn't understand things.  But they often remember that they think she is very cute and funny and that saves her from their unending wrath. 

She changes clothes about 14 times a day, as is typical of three year old girls.  And she loves to dress up. 

Peanut is adorable, fun, wonderful, and very dearly loved by everyone in the family. 

(I hoped to have pictures of everyone as I wrote these posts but that's just not going to happen right now... maybe later...)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Life With the Cutest Baby Boy in the Universe

I am going to write a post about each one of my kids and what they are up to lately.  I will start with the youngest.




This little guy is so darling and fun.  He is cheerful and loving and good-natured.   He likes to sing and climb and mess with electronics and be outside.  He also likes to kiss.  Like, a lot.  It's really funny.  He says a few words, but his vocabulary is not very extensive at this point.

He is probably my pickiest eater-- most of my kids will eat anything and everything you put in front of them but sometimes when we share a tasty morsel with this kid he spits it back out at us and makes a face.  However, if it is sweet he has no problem with it, as you can see...





Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bubbles

At this point in my pregnancy I have a hard time drinking water.   In fact, any liquid is difficult to choke down right now unless it is carbonated.   This is ironic because normally I avoid carbonated beverages like the plague.  But right now I drink nothing but seltzer water.  It's just carbonated water with a little lemon flavoring in it.  And it keeps me hydrated.  It also seems to settle my stomach a little.  

At my house we call it bubbles, with a nod to the fish in Finding Nemo: "Bubbles!  Bubbles!  Bubbles!  My bubbles."  The kids are always happy to bring me more bubbles. 

Whatever it takes to survive, right? 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Springtime

First, a word about my morning sickness....  I always go into pregnancy with a battle plan.   "This time it won't be so bad because I am healthier, I am eating better, and I have done more research.  I am going to use X and it will make me feel better."  This time I had gotten some information about magnesium and how getting enough of it will ease morning sickness.   (Also avoiding sugar because your body uses up lots of magnesium when it is processing sugar.)  I looked at some of the things I have taken in the past early in pregnancy-- things that have high doses of B vitamins,  for instance (because B vitamins were one cure I tried), and found that these products have little or no magnesium.   I also found that a liquid mineral supplement I have been taking on and off for the past year or so has lots of magnesium in it.  Bingo! 

So this was my battle plan: magnesium, essential oils,  more protein and less carbs, gentle exercise, and a good vitamin of course. 

And everything pretty much played out like all my other pregnancies. 

For the first week or two of feeling icky, I feel like I have things under control.  What I am doing seems to make a difference.   Yes, I feel queasy, but it is manageable.  I can still do what I need to do.  The vitamins and supplements seem to help.  If I am starting to feel really gross, a small protein snack sets me back on track.  Exercise is feasible.  In short, I feel like what I hear everyone else talking about when they talk about morning sickness and how to manage it. 

And then it happens.   It's like I got hit by a truck.  I am so sick I can't function most of the time.  Nothing I do or don't do, eat or don't eat, seems to make a dent.  I watch for patterns so I can figure out what takes me from "partially functional at times" to "curled up in a ball and can't even move" and I just can't see any corollaries.  Nothing makes sense, and when you're that miserable it is hard to be proactive about taking care of yourself.  The only time I feel good is when I am eating or sleeping, so of course I do as much of both of those as I can.  Because it's all about survival.  

I didn't mean for this to be a gloomy post.  I just needed to explain where I am at and why ginger and saltines and whatever all else are everyone's go-to pregnancy survival items just don't work for me.  I do like to hear ideas though because sometimes there's one I haven't tried yet and I still believe that someday I will find something that makes me feel better. 

Yesterday was a better day, after three or four days where I didn't get out of bed much.  Yesterday I felt well enough to take Fish and Bean to their children's choir and then later go to Fish's last Cub Scout pack meeting. 

As I drove around town I was elated.  Right now, spring is in full riot.  The Hawthorne trees are exploding with pink, several other blossoming trees are going crazy, and the lilacs are starting to bloom.  And there is fresh green everywhere.  The weather is magnificent and the cool air smells of blossoms.   It is glorious! 

A couple weeks ago I was feeling grumpy and frustrated that I had to be so sick at this wonderful time of year that I love and enjoy so much.  I was upset that I wasn't able to enjoy it fully.  But then I decided to change my thinking.  If I am going to be sick for awhile, isn't it wonderful to have all this beauty around me to cheer me up and lift my spirits? 

I love springtime.  I am grateful for the warm sunshine,  the blossoms, and the chirping birds.  They help offset the challenging time I am going through right now. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Steak and Birthdays

Today is a stay in bed day and I have already gotten to the point where I am sick of all my usual diversions (Sudoku, crossword puzzles, Facebook...)  So, I said to myself, how about blogging?  I am feeling too blah to write an organized, themed blog post, so I am just going to write whatever comes to mind. 
We just had a very nice meal.  My birthday is coming up this week and the Badger is going to be gone that day.  So this morning he asked if we could have my birthday dinner today.  Honestly, in my current state celebrations have very little pull.   I really don't care about my birthday at all.  And sweet things taste icky to me so I don't want cake or anything.   However, I really love a good meal.  One of the few times I actually feel good in a day is when I am in the process of eating. 
Last month we bought half a cow from a local rancher.  I love having a freezer stuffed full of quality beef.  A couple weeks later another rancher friend was having hogs butchered and asked us if we wanted one.  We got one of his smaller ones (because that was all that would fit in our freezer) and now we have a lot of meat.  This works out well with the way I eat when I'm pregnant.   We order pizza a lot less often. 
So today it was steak.  Throughout the course of our marriage, we have just about never eaten steak.  Until we started buying half cows locally the only beef we ever ate was ground because it was all we could afford (and when I was on any kind of a health kick we didn't eat it at all because commercial ground beef is eww).  The first half cow we bought was entirely grass fed and the steaks were tough so we ended up usually putting them in the crock pot.   But this, our second half cow (I think it's funny to talk about half cows... can you just picture one grazing in a pasture?) was put on grain through the winter, which makes it slightly less healthy but, truthfully, yummier. 
I am rambling.   This is fun. 
So, anyway, the Badger had pulled some really beautiful steaks out, which made us feel very posh, and he has been reading a How To Barbeque Properly book.  And so we had a lovely steak dinner.  I got a great pasta salad dressing recipe off Pinterest (oh, I love you, Pinterest!)  and I managed to sit on a stool in the kitchen long enough to measure the spices, olive oil, and vinegar into a shaker.  The kids helped chop olives and lovely organic veggies from my last Bountiful Basket and we ended up with an amazing pasta salad.
I am grateful that I can still enjoy eating.  
Thank you, Badger, for a nice birthday meal.
So then it dawned on me that I am turning 35 and now I am feeling kind of weird about that.   That is starting to sound old.  Oh, okay, I know it's not old, but it's close to the beginning of old.  It's to the point where I don't want to talk about my age anymore. 
I love the quote from Marjorie Hinckley where she says that her favorite age was fifty.  She was old enough to have stopped caring what people thought and young enough to still do pretty much anything.   Sounds good, and I am still 15 years away from that point.  
But I am still starting to feel a little bit old.

Room to Grow

When we moved into our current home last August, one of the first things I heard was that the woman who had previously lived here had a very green thumb.  Several neighbors told me about how beautifully she gardened the strip of land on the side of the house.  She grew all kinds of flowers and vegetables.

Well, when we moved in, the house had been sitting vacant all summer.  That strip of land was completely filled in with tall weeds, like so:


Pulling them out wasn't really that bad because they were very large and the soil was dry.  But the problem was that all those big clumps of grass had matured and dropped their seeds.  So that fall after we'd had a little rain, we ended up with this mess:




I worked as hard as I could before the snow flew to clear as much of it as possible but I didn't make a ton of progress.  When you look at our property as a whole this looks like a very small area but when you get out and work in it you realize it's a lot of space.  It's way more square footage than the 160 square feet of raised garden beds I had in Oklahoma.  

But, see, I am very glad to have it.  I really love to grow things.  I want this area to be green and vibrant and full of carefully cultivated flowers and vegetables.  

So I thought about it during the long winter and made some plans.  I splurged on some perennials from High Country Gardens, chosen for their deer and rabbit resistance as well as their appropriateness for my northern zone.  Salvia, gaillardia, pentstemon, etc.  I ordered these clear back before I was pregnant.  They weren't going to ship before planting time for my area-- about mid-May.  As that approached and my morning sickness set in, I groaned inwardly and seriously considered the Badger's preference of turning the entire planting bed into lawn.  

But I discovered that as long as I am not feeling too nasty, working in my garden bed is about the best thing I can do right now.  I try to get out there for at least an hour every day that I am not feeling too awful, and I really enjoy it when I do.  I am sitting down as I pull weeds and turn over the dirt with a trowel, and it's not strenuous.  I get a lot of fresh air and sunshine.  I am happy and productive when I am out there working on my little bit of earth.  And so when the perennials came, I had a place for them.  (In fact, I realized that even though I thought I had ordered a lot I still have an incredible amount of empty space left... but that is where I will grow vegetables and herbs.)  

I am feeling really happy about the way my garden is taking shape.  I have reclaimed a lot of ground, and it looks really good.  


But..... don't look too far back:  I still have a lot left to work on!





Look What I Found!

I just uploaded all the pictures from my camera.  This was the first picture I saw and it made me laugh.  


I had no idea it was taken... that is going to become a lot more common as my kids get older and think they can just use my camera whenever (even though they know they are supposed to ask permission!)  

"Let's put every single hair clip we own in our hair" is a popular pastime around here.  

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt 2014

Going back a bit to catch up on my photos...  A friend of mine, who is 85, invited us to an egg hunt at her house the day before Easter.   That's her in the yellow sweater below:



Between us and the other people she invited, there were ten kids.  She hid 100 eggs and every child got to find 10.  For the tiny people like Peanut and Prince Charming she put them in her little yard...



... but for the older kids she hid them all over her pasture and they had to really look for them.  It took awhile.  That's the best kind of egg hunt, in my opinion.  



Prince Charming seemed to enjoy the eggs.  Half were hard-boiled and half were plastic with candy inside.  When he discovered the candy he was pretty tickled.  







Yes, I made the girls' matching skirts.  I couldn't find any Easter dresses at the store that I liked, so I got out our favorite skirt pattern.  They never get tired of these.  


It was a great day.  

Friday, May 16, 2014

An Important Note

I am happy to announce that I am expecting another baby.  Another fabulous little person should join our family in December, right after Prince Charming turns two (and Peanut turns four).  An ideal spacing, in my opinion.  We couldn't be more pleased. 
If you've been with me awhile you know that my pregnancies are rough.   We have been gearing up for this, getting ready to do battle.   Now I am in the thick of the first trimester.  I have to say that it has been worse than I remembered.   Some days I can't get out of bed at all and even on a good day I still only have a few hours of limited mobility. 
My Badger has been nothing short of heroic.  He washes endless dishes, feeds constantly hungry little mouths, and washes mountains of laundry.   He marshals the kids to tidy the house and help with all of the above.  In addition to holding down the job that is our sole source of income,  of course.  It isn't easy, but the kids are helping out a little more this time than they have in the past and we are grateful for every little mercy. 
And that is really probably my greatest challenge right now: staying grateful, staying positive while feeling so ill I can barely move.  Sometimes it's hard, but I do have a lot to be grateful for.  I just have to get through this part one day at a time with me eyes fixed on the end result and the eternal blessings that are coming my way. 
I just often find myself wishing I could go to sleep and wake up in December.   :-)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Hello From My Phone

I have been thinking about this blog a lot... really, I have.  I have been neglecting it because... well, there are several reasons, which I will get into eventually.   But a big part of the problem is that whenever I sit at the computer Prince Charming climbs up on me and starts banging on the keyboard and grabbing the mouse.  And there is no way I can even touch my laptop when he is in the vicinity (he is really good at scooting over and pressing the power button before I can deflect him!) Kids these days...

I am still able to do things fairly easily on my phone while Prince Charming is underfoot,  so I decided to finally take the plunge and blog from my phone for the first time ever.  This means you will be hearing more from me.  There will be fewer photos and more weird typos.  But there are so many things I would like to talk about and remember.  When I go back and read my old blogs from years ago I am amazed and grateful I took the time to write stuff down.  The longer ago it was the more precious it becomes.  I need to keep blogging regularly about my life and thoughts-- for the sake of the future.  

Anyway.  I don't think I ever mentioned on here that I got me a smart phone last fall.  The reason was that I was called to serve in the Relief Society presidency (translation: I am an assistant to the woman in charge of the women's organization at church.)  I really felt like I needed a SuperPhone to be able to keep up with stuff and stay organized with those additional responsibilities.   So I got me a Samsung Galaxy something-or-other similar to the Badger's and I have really loved having it.  It is a struggle for me to not let it suck me in, I will be honest.  I have to remind myself to put it down and look into my children's eyes as they talk to me.  But I am trying and improving.

That is all I will say for now.  But I have a feeling I am going to be writing lots of shorter posts in the near future.  This could be a lot of fun.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

An Unexpected Visit

When I was five years old, my oldest brother (who is 18 years older than I am) got married.  Oh boy, that was exciting!  Then, a couple of years later, my brother and sister-in-law had an adorable baby boy.  



That made me an aunt at age seven.  I was over the moon.  I doted on my nephew like only a seven-year-old can.  


Whenever they visited, I was always right there with him, helping with whatever his mom was doing with him.  One time we gave him a bath in my mom's giant mixing bowl.  


I made him a quilt-- my first sewing project.  It is the ugliest quilt on the planet-- made from scraps in my mom's stash from the 70's-- but he treasured it all growing up and as of a few years ago he still had it.  

As he grew, I taught him lots of things.  When he was three, I helped teach him to read.  I am not kidding.  He is brilliant and you might not believe me but he could read when he was three.  


I was his favorite aunt.  

Now he is all grown up and married with a baby boy of his own.  

One day a few weeks ago I got this phone call out of the blue from his wife.  "Can we come visit you... tomorrow?" she asked.  

Of course!

So they came!  I don't think they realized just how long and tedious the drive was going to be.  And the weather was cold and nasty while they were here.  So we mostly just hung out at my house and talked and enjoyed their company.  



Their little boy is the darlingest little thing, and he is so brilliant, just like his dad.



I am so glad we got to meet him and get to know him while he is little.  Thanks, Matt and Kira, for driving all the way up here to see us!  Please come again!