Monday, January 31, 2011

Always wear a helmet!

We made our very first trip to the ER today.  Jared fell off his bike and gashed his head open when he fell into this little ledge by our back door.  I didn't quite see the fall, but I heard the bonk and turned around to see him grab his bleeding head and start crying.  One look at the gaping hole and I knew we needed to head to the ER.  I grabbed a washcloth and had him hold that on while we drove there.  He only cried for a moment when it first happened.  I had to keep asking him if he was okay, because he was so calm and silent (much more calm than I was).  Once there, he went back to one room to get it checked out.  It had stopped bleeding, but they put a bandage over it.  Then we went to another room and he laid down and they put some numbing stuff on it.  And we waited.  Meanwhile, I had called Alex and he headed over there (on his bike).  I was relieved when Alex got there to help out with Weston and Owen.  They were pretty good, but I was having a hard time entertaining them while comforting Jared.  Jared was SO calm - I am amazed at how brave he was while waiting for the doctor to come "fix his head" and the getting the stitches.  When it was time to get stitches, they wrapped him up to keep him from moving and the nurse held his head while the doctor stitched him up.  It was hard to watch, but I did take a peek.  Jared did great.  They had covered his eyes so he couldn't see what was going on (or see us), but he knows we were there, because later he talked about da-da rubbing his leg.  Anyway, he got all stitched up and that was that.  He has to go in and get them out in about 5-6 days.  I feel guilty for not being aware that he wasn't wearing his helmet.  Jared got his training wheels taken off not long ago and he's still not very good at riding a bike.  I should have noticed he didn't put his helmet on.  I was glad for the little things that made it easier for us today - it was 12:00 and we had already eaten lunch.  We were all dressed and even had shoes on already.  Weston was awake and in between naps.  The cell phone was charged up and I knew where Jared's insurance card was (minor details, but helpful).  So we were able to get out the door very quickly, which is particularly hard with 3 kids.  Also, I didn't hyperventilate :) and stayed as calm as a mom can.  I also was amazed at the goodness of my kids.  Owen climbed up next to Jared and rubbed his leg, Jared wanted to share his stickers with his brothers (especially saved one for Nathan who was at school), and Nathan was genuinely remorseful that Jared had gotten hurt (the "mourn with those that mourn" scripture had much greater meaning today).  Nathan said, "Oh, Jared!  I'm REALLY sorry you had to do that.  That must have really hurt."  Touched my heart to see their compassion for each other.

We were thinking today that we're pretty lucky that in 7 years, this is our 1st trip to the ER - unfortunately, I bet it won't be the last (with 4 boys...).  But we're thankful that it wasn't too bad.  Anyway, moms take note to be vigilant in helmet wearing, and have your kids watch this little video and point out what happens when you don't wear a helmet.   

Sunday, January 30, 2011

1st grader(s)

Valentine craft

We got back into our routine this week, with crafts and chores and such.  The boys and I had fun creating this simple decoration (construction hearts strung on red yarn).  Currently it's our only Valentine's decoration, and I love looking at it and thinking about my 5 sweet loves.


We saw these two teeth very early on, but then his gums grew faster than the teeth, so they disappeared for a little while.  But they just resurfaced again and boy are they sharp!  He has been chomping down hard on me recently and also bit Owen's arm when he got too close.  I am amazed that I still allow him to nurse, realizing that at any moment he could just take a good bite out of me!  Probably the only thing that helps is that he doesn't have top teeth yet.  Better watch out buddy or you'll have to figure out the bottle...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

yesterday's purchase

We finally did it.  We bought a car - after nearly a year of being a one car family, we decided to go back to two.  We loved our 1992 Honda Civic so much that we wanted to buy another one, a bit newer though.  We've been looking for an 03-05 model, 4 door, manual, with less than 100,000 miles and less than $10,000.  We found this 2005 Civic yesterday, and after spending ALL afternoon at the dealership, we decided to buy it.  I won't say how much we paid, but we did buy it for $1000 less than their asking price and wrote a check for it.  But we're terrible at haggling by the way.  We ended up doing pretty well with just our indecision - they took that as playing hard to get.  We nearly walked away, just not really sure if we wanted to buy it, but of course that worked to our advantage as they kept coming down on the price.  We may not have got the best deal, but it wasn't bad.  We're hoping this will last a while.  I do have to brush up on my manual driving, but that's what Alex really wanted (can't believe he talked me into getting another one).

The best part of the day for the boys was jumping on the big inflatable in their lot.  They thought that was the best thing ever!  We may have to go car shopping more often, just so the boys can have "free" fun on the inflatable.  (I guess it was a pricey bit of fun since we bought a car.  But hey, they gave us a fancy chocolate bar too...  :))   

Friday, January 21, 2011

You know you're a mom when...'ve got the ever-present spit up (stain) on your shoulder.  But what's even worse is not realizing it's there... tonight I kept smelling something.  I thought someone had a dirty diaper.  It just smelled foul.  I checked the diapers and they were fine, but I just kept smelling it.  And no one else smelled it.  And then it dawned on me... Weston had puked on my sleeve!  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Some of you have asked about my collages - I was doing them in Powerpoint and saving them as jpgs, but I realized that if I tried to print them out, the images weren't a good quality (they still work well on the blogs, but I hate trying to re-do them if I want to print them).  So I switched to Picasa, which some of you already use.  It's a free service - I think you get 1 GB of free photo storage.  I haven't explored all the features, but it's really easy to make a collage (and edit the pics you're using - red eye, crop, colors, etc.) and once you "create" one, you can also add text on it.  It's been serving as my scrapbooking right now.  Anyway, I can't remember exactly where or how I downloaded the software - I think you can go here.  (I didn't choose to put any of my pictures in the public gallery).  I've loved it so far.  Once you make your collage, it's a jpg that you can upload to blogger like any other picture from your computer.  You just go under the folder "Picasa" and "collages".  Good luck! 

new nephew

Mike and Carrie's new baby Ryan - born today!  This makes the 8th grandson and 1 granddaughter 
for my parents.  We've still got half of those boys, but not for long... another boy coming in March to my sister Audrey.  So many boys!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

weekend fun

Alex's brother Jim came to visit us for the weekend - we love having visitors and we had a fun time (although I'm not sure Jim was used to having little kiddos climbing all over him, and going on outings with kids probably wasn't the most fun).  We hope he had a little bit of fun...

The weather was just gorgeous - even warmer than we expected, so our stops at the beach weren't exactly planned.  It was a roll-up-your-sleeves-and-play-for-a-while deal.  On Monday, we mostly planned on playing at the park near the beach, but the boys ended up playing in the sand for a few hours.  By the time we were at Morro Bay, however, it had cooled off, so we needed jackets (you'll notice the cute red one that Alex has on...)   :) 

Besides our stops to the beach, Alex and Jim went hiking, to the wharf and local grill, and drove around the city and along the coast.  Stops also included In-N-Out Burger and BBQ Land.  We had homemade lasagna on Sunday and I think we had ice cream (or cake or something yummy) just about every night.  Thanks for coming Jim and for entertaining the boys!

(the boys have no sense of personal space...  right there checking out Jim's new fishing pole)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

6 months


Hard to believe, but Weston is 6 months already.  He's starting to sit up on his own, with a few "trainers" to help out.  It is a little too tempting for Owen to push over the wobbly baby... you'll notice in the first video how Owen sees Westie about to fall over and just gives him a little push.  (And then he pointed out to me "fall down!", although it's not in that video.)  Weston also has started scooting around some.  He's getting up on his knees already and pushing off with his feet.  It won't be long before he's crawling.  And I'm not even close to being ready for that!  It's interesting how babies have their own ways of getting around.  Another baby who is just a few weeks younger than Weston rolls really well.  Weston will roll from his tummy to his back, but can't figure out how to roll from back to tummy.  But he sure is good at pushing around with his legs.

Friday, January 14, 2011

interior design

My friend Amanda had a link on her blog to an interior design quiz.  I took it and came up with "Rustic Revival."  This is what it says about my style (I think it's about right):

You can take kid out of the country but you can't take the country out of the kid... or is your theme "you can take the kid out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the kid?" Either way you play it, you are one of the unique individuals who loves a mix of modern and country. The clean lines of the modern softened by rustic /vintage elements is the perfect mix in your mind. And can we blame you? You've taken the best aspects of two popular designs and mixed them in a manner that appeals young and old alike. A subtle background of white or light colors provides a nice canvas for all the wonderful flea market, eBay or garage sale finds as well as the classic modern pieces that you love.

The material palette for urban country runs the gamut because of the two extremes being mixed. On the countryside you see a lot of wood, woven rope, canvas and linen, rustic metals and wrought iron, cowhide and vintage leather. On the more modern side, you see acrylic, satin and polished nickel and chrome, glass, faux fur, refined leather, fiberglass and sleek woods. It's the mixing of these elements that makes the style work so well. Seagrass and other natural woven materials are often used for floor coverings. Concrete and natural wood floors are very popular, and work really well together.
When it comes to color, think light, casual and airy. White, pale gray or beige, khaki and sage; all of these colors make nice, subtle backdrops for Urban Country style. Think of the colors of natural linen, concrete, and if you'd like to go dark, use the dark brownish-black of iron or the deep burnt orange of rust. The key is to keep the spaces feeling open (go modern!) and yet warm (yay for rustic!), and by going light on the walls and major pieces and more color on the accents and accessories you can achieve this mix really well.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy 7th!

I asked Nathan if he wanted a friend party or to go bowling for his birthday, and lucky for me, he chose to go bowling.  It's been a nice break from the huge themed parties, although I still went a little wild on his cake.  We went bowling on Saturday, followed by pizza, root beer floats, and rented a movie.  (Nathan threw a strike on his very first roll).  On Sunday, he requested "everything that you eat with a fork" for breakfast (meaning not cereal).  He wanted mac & cheese for lunch, and tomato soup with rice for dinner (I love this kid.)  He wanted an eagle cake, so I did my best at that.  Thank goodness for easy frosting in a can and Twinkies.  He loved the Hot Wheels track we got him (same as his friend Jack from OK has).  Apparently what he really wanted for Christmas was a Hot Wheels set, which he didn't get.  Owen also loved the race track, and kept pushing everyone out of the way.  Nathan was kind enough to let Owen get more than his share of playing time.  Nathan is learning that it's easier to just give in to Owen than fight with him. 

This is a little long, but I wrote this for Nathan's superstar week (back in December).  Thought I'd share it (with a few minor edits):

Nathan was born on January 9th, 2004 in Houston, Texas. His given name is Nathaniel Ray, with Nathaniel meaning “gift from God” and Ray as a family name on his Dad’s side. We also considered him our ray of hope, since we had two failed pregnancies before he was born. Being the oldest of 4, Nathan is a great leader and example for his younger brothers (Jared, Owen, and Weston). Besides being a natural leader, Nathan is full of energy and enthusiasm. Here are some more things about Nathan:

Nathan was born in Texas, but we moved to Oklahoma when he was 19 months old. Nathan loves to cheer for the OSU cowboys and has met “Pistol Pete,” the college mascot. We moved from Oklahoma to CA in June of this (last) year.

Nathan didn’t walk until he was 15 months old, but by 2 years old, we counted nearly 100 words that he was saying. He loves to talk! Sometimes he is shy when he is in new situations, but once he gets warmed up, there’s no stopping him. He has been known to exclaim, “I can’t stop talking!” Nathan even talks (and sometimes walks) in his sleep.

Nathan loves books. He has more books than anything else, and a day without reading books is rare. We started reading to Nathan when he was just 2 weeks old. Nathan still loves books and can read many words on his own now. It is fun to see him read books to his brothers.

Nathan loves to learn. He is good at reading, writing and math. He learns quickly – he was one of the first to learn how to tie his shoes in Kindergarten and to tell time on a regular clock. He also does not like to miss school. One time last year, we thought about keeping him out of school for an extra day since he had been sick the day before. We started to call the school, but he threw a fit. Nathan grabbed the phone from us and insisted that he was going to school.

Nathan has a good memory. He will often name streets or landmarks or remember something we said a while back. It’s hard to beat him at the “Memory” game.

Nathan loves to play sports – basketball, soccer, baseball, golf, football, anything with balls. His hand-eye coordination is very good. He started playing YMCA soccer when he was 4 years old, and was excited to score his first goal… for the other team! Nathan also likes to watch sports. One time he even watched 3 hours of golf on TV with his great grandpa.

Nathan loves to be outside, digging in the dirt, playing sports, on the trampoline, camping, hiking, and throwing rocks in the water. His first camping trip was at 3 months old. When he was a baby, we could always get him to stop crying by just stepping outside. He rode in a backpack many times until he could walk. Now he often goes hiking with his dad and brothers, and he walks to and from school almost every day.

Nathan also likes to travel and has been through several different states – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah. He also has been to Australia (twice) and to New Zealand.

Nathan loves apples and healthy foods – he eats about 3 apples a day. He also loves steamed broccoli, carrots, and many fruits and vegetables. However, he also loves popcorn, chips & salsa, and orange juice and ice cream smoothies.

Nathan loves to go to church every Sunday. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka the Mormon church). Nathan likes to read his scriptures and pray with his family every day. He also looks forward to special family nights on Monday evenings. Sometimes he gives talks, scriptures, or prayers in front of the other kids at church. He wants to go on a church mission when he gets older.

Nathan is very independent and a good helper. He helps with making dinner, the dishes, vacuuming, laundry, cleaning toilets, washing windows, changing diapers, taking out the trash, and he makes his own lunch for school. Sometimes he has to help his younger brothers or hold his baby brother.
We are very proud of Nathan and happy to have him in our family. He was nicknamed “Nate the great” in kindergarten - it’s true. He is great! We love Nathan!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

500th post

I wanted to think of something creative to do for my 500th post... but it was taking too much mental energy.  So here it is - this will just get it out of the way.  I realized that this probably just represents at least 500 hours that I didn't spend with my family... I know that's probably what Alex was thinking when I asked what my 500th post should be.  Anyway, there you have it.  Now, I think I'll go watch a movie.  Done.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vegas mega-post!

We drove to Las Vegas on Christmas day and stayed until New Year's Day - the whole week was spent with my grandma, my parents, siblings, and their families.   We had a fun week, although there were too many distractions to fully get my family time.  (I can never seem to get time it needs to be in the mountains or somewhere.)  Anyway, for a non-drinking, non-gambling family we did find plenty of entertainment.  We went to Red Rock Canyon, the Aquarium, Fountains at Bellagio, shows and shopping, and the boys also went to the Children's Museum while Alex and I went to the Las Vegas Temple.  We made Sam lug Weston around for a few hours - he drooled all over him (just getting him ready to be a dad in less than 3 months.)  My favorite thing was just hanging out, eating yummy food, playing games and chatting about first kisses and such.  I went a little collage crazy here, but family is my thing, so I'm not going to apologize.  We got one family picture, which was a last minute, meet me in the lobby in 5 minutes thing.  Didn't turn out too bad, especially with all the kiddos.  I loved meeting Dallin - Alison and Micah's new baby, just 4 months younger than Weston.  Yeah for family!   


 We started some new traditions this year for Christmas.  On Christmas Eve, the boys got to open one present, which had new pajamas in it.  They looked so cute!  We also had a simple birthday party for Jesus, with a cupcake tree.  The boys got to make a wish for something to give Jesus this year (service) before they blew out their candle.  We also talked about the wisemen and their 3 gifts - I'm not sure if we stuck to that this year, but hopefully we can start the tradition of getting 3 gifts each - meaningful, needful, joyful (plus one from Santa).  I know others have talked about this tradition and I hope to use it in our family.

We had a nice Christmas morning.  I loved seeing the joy on the boys' faces - makes everything worth it.  They woke up around 7:00am, but we made them wait until we were ready to get up (about 8:00am) before they opened presents.  They had separated their presents into their own piles and were patiently waiting.  With presents from Santa, from grandparents and Aunt Jane, they were pretty spoiled.   Weston didn't wake up until about 9:00am, and when the boys helped open his presents, Owen wanted most of Weston's toys.  Owen still loves balls, so he latched right on to one of Westie's gifts.  If the video will ever upload, I might share that one with you.  "They're mines," said Owen.  Nathan also announced after opening all his presents, "I didn't get a single thing I wanted!"  Hmmm... might need to work on that a little bit.  He did decide he liked what he got enough to play with it.  Although I don't like the ingratitude, it is funny to see the raw emotion from kids.  Makes me remember the year cousin Jaden was opening presents - the 1st one he opened was clothes.  He cried.  And then he found out there were more presents.  You just have to laugh at their genuine emotion.  Anyway, hopefully you'll enjoy the video despite the background noise (they also got a Sooners car from grandma, which they're talking about).  You'll have to watch for Owen's little knowing grin when I ask whose toys those are.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Year's resolutions

I have a lot of posts to catch up on, but they'll have to wait until after I get done with activity days this week.  Part of my activity days will be on New Year's resolutions, and I came across this little talk by Wendy Ulrich that I wanted to share.  I love how she says we should focus on building on our strengths and the legacy we want to leave instead of focusing on our weaknesses.

The Key to Making New Year's Resolutions
It is rumored that most people make New Year’s resolutions and that the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. I have no trouble imagining this as weight loss has been on my resolutions list since, oh, birth! When we focus on tackling weaknesses it is usually because we assume that doing so is the pathway to lasting happiness—or at least a little less shame and guilt.

Current research suggests, however, that tackling weaknesses is only half the battle in getting happier. In fact less than half. The lion’s share of our personal happiness does not come from overcoming weaknesses but from building on strengths.

When our weaknesses keep us from expressing our strengths they are certainly worth working on. But we don’t get happier when hyperfocusing on what is wrong with us gets in the way of developing what is right.

So what’s right with you? What are your talents and gifts? What are the values and character traits you hold dear? What opportunities would you love to jump into? What resources do you have available? In one research study, people who found new and creative ways to express their best character traits each week got a lasting boost to their sense of well-being.

When I organize my goals around the legacy I want to leave and the good I want to do it is a much more energizing and creative process than focusing solely on fixing my flaws. I like the question, “What is the legacy you want to leave?” I do NOT want my legacy to be that I succeeded in losing 20 pounds, 20 times. Much more fun, creative and meaningful to think about talents I want to develop, projects I want to accomplish, or people I want to help.

But even the axiom of “build on your strengths” is only half right. The other half? “Build on your strengths. . . that strengthen others.”

Who do you want to help? What causes matter to you? What human problems most touch your heart? What groups arouse your sense of responsibility?

My daughter, single at 30, spent some anxious moments trying to imagine how her life might unfold if she did not have a family of her own. One of her biggest concerns was how to feel like an honest-to-goodness grownup without a spouse and children to push her into maturity. She concluded that people move out of childhood and into genuine adulthood by serving the rising generation. So she found a rising generation to serve: foster children in need of a loving home.

I frankly thought she was crazy. How would she take care of a needy, probably traumatized foster child while single and in grad school herself? But she went through all the training and certification and started taking in short-term foster children needing emergency placements. She blessed the lives of several children in the process . . . and they blessed hers.

So when you make the list of your New Year’s resolutions, think about the legacy you want to leave. Then:  First, consider only tackling those weaknesses that are interfering with that legacy.

Second, consider who you want to leave that legacy to: the rising generation of children, youth, new workers, young professionals, new members, first-generation college students, or new leaders? Members of your family or extended family or deceased family? People who are weak or disadvantaged in a way that you have special empathy for?

Finally, consider what the strengths are you want to contribute to those people or groups. What skills will you hone this year? What craft will you improve in? What opportunities will you court or take advantage of? What talents or gifts will you explore or develop?

These become resolutions you can get your teeth into. Achieving them will not only bless the world but bless you—and with something far more enduring and significant than a smaller waistline!