Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I think this drawing is adorable!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"No body allowed!"

I walked into the boys room and found these signs on Nathan's bed, an attempt to keep his brothers off his bed and out of his things.  I love how they think their toys are "private property".  As if anything is not shared around here...


Whereas some of you can just step outside to lots of snow, we had to drive up in the mountains to find it.  But we did find some and the boys loved playing in it!  Weston didn't care for it.  It was funny watching Owen experience the snow.  "It's COLD!" 

Valentine's Day

We didn't do much out of the ordinary.  We just ate cake - red velvet cake with M&M's and mini cupcakes.  Jared got a special delivery from his friend Marielle.  

We made owl valentine's and birthday cards for the grandparents and Aunt Audrey.  The boys really wanted to give Papa their pennies, so I had to come up with a creative way to share their "two cents".

Sunday, February 13, 2011

heart-y busy week

Monday baking

weekly craft - Nathan made valentines for all of his classmates and teachers (I think we made 32).  The boys loved doing the car ones because they got to run cars through brown paint (we made sure to use the ones we didn't care if they got ruined...OU ones mostly...they did wash up pretty good).  The wheels were a spool dipped in paint.  Owen had it all over his face by the time he was done.  I thought the owls were pretty cute.  I don't know if you can see what's written on the one-eyed monsters... "I've got my eye on you."  Most of these were not original ideas by me except the frog "I'm hoppy to be your friend!"  (Thank goodness for on-line resources, because it's hard to be truly creative these days.)  I don't remember where I got the original ideas, but we adapted them all a bit.

Joy school was at my house this week - letter M.  We made muffins, with marshmallows and milk, counted M&M's, made little mice and letter M mouse, colored M books, read Curious George (monkey) and moon books, and sang about the monkeys jumping on the bed.  We were glad that Marielle could join us.  Even though it's just the two of them (and Owen) right now, I don't mind preparing special activities for special kids.

It was a gorgeous week (sorry snowed in folks...) so we went to the park on Friday afternoon.  The boys sported their new sunglasses - I was surprised that Weston kept them on.  He's a pretty cool dude, who just turned 7 months old (but already weighs about 19 lbs.).

Saturday we had some van problems, but were still able to go to the temple since a friend watched Jared and Nathan for a good portion of the day.  We took Owen and Weston with us in the car (instead of all of them in the van). 

And Sunday, our church day and day of "rest" (no true rest for parents).  Here we are in semi-valentines attire, although I think I could post this again for the 4th of July and you wouldn't know the difference... 

(Mom, does the skirt look familiar??)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

watch dogs and stallions

Just a quick post, without pictures, about a couple of the day's happenings.   My first thought - we've got our own Westie "watch dog".  Alex woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep, so he headed off to work at about 4:00am.  I was still out.  Didn't hear Alex get up, get in the shower, eat breakfast, or head out the door.  He ALMOST sneaked out of the house without waking anyone, BUT he didn't sneak past Weston.  My mommy monitor was awakened to Weston crying at about 4:15.  I let him cry for about 15 minutes before I had to nurse him back to sleep.  I can sleep through most anything, except my kids crying - somehow I am attuned to them even in a deep sleep.  How is that?  I guess that's a good thing.  Anyway, who needs a watch dog when you've got a Westie?

My second thought, which has nothing to do with the first, is that I've got some stallion boys.  I took Owen and Weston in for their well child check-ups (and they both have ear infections, of course).  On a side note, why is it that when they're cranky and you take them in for a suspected ear infection, they don't have one?  But when they seem happy and you're going in for the "well child check-up" they always have something wrong?  Anyway, both Weston and Owen had immunizations today.  Owen was a stallion - he didn't cry at all.  And they didn't pop those needles in and out quickly either.  The other thing was I had her take a quick look at Jared (who didn't have an appointment at all) because he had a really swollen lymph node.  Turns out it wasn't just one, but more than that and she wanted to do some lab work, just in case.  So Jared had to get some blood drawn.  The nurse came in to do that right after Weston's shots, and of course I was comforting him.  The nurse thought I would need to hold Jared on my lap, but seeing my need to comfort Weston, sent for another nurse.  So then the 2 nurses got ready, holding his arm and expecting the worst.  "Okay, here we go..."  They stuck in one of those little butterfly needles (which I know hurt - who knows how many times I've done those...)  and stallion Jared didn't even flinch.  He sat there so still and didn't make a peep or even scrunch up his face.  Amazing.  What a stallion.

Besides being tough, I think he is reward driven.  He remembered there were stickers and suckers after he was done. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Flat Emalee and Garett

You've heard of "flat Stanley" right?  Our good friends from OK sent us "flat Emalee and Garett" to pass along.  Here they are visiting the beach.  Where will they go next? 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Parenting tips

Since many of you are snowed in, iced in, or just cold in :), here's a little post for your reading enjoyment.  My friend Michelle posted Mommy tips on her blog, which are amazing.  I didn't think I had very many tips, but once I started writing a couple down, my list got really long, and I'm sure it could be a lot longer.  I'm not an expert on being a mom.  In fact, I think I could write a book on "How to be just an Average Mom," because I often feel like I'm just going through the motions.  It was just recently when I re-evaluated myself as a mom and made a conscious choice that I was going to do better and really try to be a "supermom".  I reminded myself that I chose this as my "career" right now, my kids deserve the best out of me, I don't want just average kids, and I don't want us to just survive.  I want us to THRIVE.  Anyway, after I had that little interview with myself, my baking, craft, games, outings, chores and semblance of organization and structure resulted.  I want to teach my boys to work, to learn new things, and remember fun times with mom.  I've got a long way to go and lots to learn, but I've got a good start.  You have the same choice.  What are you going to do? Anyway, back to my tips - I'll share some of my DO's and DON'Ts and BE's (not in any order of importance).

Mommy Tips

1.  DO marry the right man who will be a good dad.  A supportive husband who is on the same page as you are makes all the difference.  DO tell him what the "rules" are :) or make them together, and be consistent.  DON'T wait for him to get home to discipline and DON'T call him for every minor crisis.  (DO call him when he needs to meet you at the ER...)  DO let your kids know how lucky they are to have him as their dad.  DO let them rough house sometimes, but step in if they're getting TOO rowdy.

2.  DO keep a journal for each of your kids.  They're too young to do it, they'll love reading it later, and you'll love reading it too.  I use a separate spiral notebook for each of them. 

3.  DON'T take the kids to the grocery store with you.  If you have to take them, the hard-to-maneuver car carts may save you time and tears.  DON'T be afraid to let them cry as you ignore them, despite the stares you'll get from other people.  DO try to distract them with snacks from your diaper bag.   

4.  DON'T "broadcast" your outings.  If something comes up and you don't make it, they won't be disappointed.  DO occasionally use outings as bribes or threats.  "If you clean up your room, we can go to the park."  "If you don't be nice to your brother, we won't go to the park."  (It works most of the time...)

5.  DO have chores for your kids, but remember the goal is to teach them to work, not so your house can be clean (they're not your slaves and also you'll just get frustrated when you see their completed chore charts AND still a messy house).  DON'T require perfection or completion of EVERY chore.  You can go back later and clean it to your standards. DO have rewards and incentives for completing chores.  And even a 2 year old can help out and do chores.  A little thing called a "toy monster" is also helpful in getting them pick up their toys (sometimes the toy monster visits while they're sleeping and eats whatever toys are left out).  DON'T worry if the house is a mess sometimes - you can leave the house with dishes in the sink and laundry on the couch.  It will be there when you get back...  :) 

6.  DO read books, scriptures, and pray together daily.  DO take turns saying prayers - some of the most touching moments are hearing the prayers of your children.  Start reading to them from the day they're born.

7.  DON'T always say "no".  If you find yourself always responding to requests in the negative, you might be lacking spontaneity, need to loosen up, or re-prioritize.  Think about why you're saying no - is it because they really shouldn't be doing it, or you just don't want to clean up a mess or you don't have time for them?  Why can't they eat popcorn or treats in the living room while they're watching a movie?  Why can't they get out the play-doh or paint?  Why can't you read them a book?  Why can't they make a fort out of the couch cushions?  If you find yourself getting frustrated when they ask for help with basic needs, you might need to re-think things (WHY can't you get your OWN drink!?  WHY do I always have to FEED you?!  "No, I'm too busy to read you a book." )

8.  DO have some structured time and planned activities in your day and week, but DON'T plan out every hour of the day.  I find that it's nice to have structured afternoons, after Nathan gets home from school.  We have snack time, chore time, activity time (baking, crafts, games, etc.), "free play" time, and homework and dinner preparation time.  DO eat dinner together as a family.  We also have a bedtime routine.  DO have family nights (ours is on Monday nights). Keep things simple.

9.  DO turn off the TV.  DO get outside as much as possible.  DO get some exercise - when I jog in the morning, I have more energy throughout the day.   

10.  DO go to bed early and get up early (I have a hard time with this one myself).  DON'T think the later they stay up the longer they'll sleep in.  The more over-tired they are, the less likely they'll sleep well.  My boys have night terrors when they are too tired.  We start the bedtime routine around 7:30 (hoping for them to be in bed by 8:00).  "Black outs" (turning out ALL the lights in the house) help to get them to go to sleep.  DON'T let them sleep in your bed (threatening them to sleep in the garage works well for those night awakenings).    

11.  DO encourage independence early, like getting dressed and getting snacks or making lunch.  Nathan makes his own lunch every day for school.  DO let them pick out their own clothes (except for special times).  DON'T worry if they don't match.

12.  DO pick your battles.  If they want a bologna and jelly sandwich and they eat it, that's okay.  If they are hitting a sibling, that is NOT okay.  We give time-outs for the same minutes of their age (they sit in the entryway closet) and then they have to "give hugs and say sorry".  If it was a toy thrown, it's taken away.  DON'T spank, especially out of frustration - the 2 year old will mimic you and think it's okay to hit the next time they're frustrated.  DON'T yell - it only fuels the fire and makes you feel awful and not in control.  Stay calm.  DO give them choices, but choose those wisely.  "Do you want to sit properly on your chair or do you want to go to your bed?"  "Do you want to wear your brown shoes or your blue shoes?"

13.  DO insist on safety.  Always wear seat belts.  DON'T let them ride a bike without a helmet on.  DO yell at them if they are about to run into the street.

14.  DO save really special artwork or papers, scan a few others, and throw away the rest.  DON'T keep everything they bring home from school or church.

15.  DO learn to cut hair, make Halloween costumes, and decorate cakes.  Thrift stores are your best friend, especially for clothes and shoes that they go through so quickly.  "Whales" are just as good as "Goldfish."

16.  DO keep meals simple and occasionally do gourmet meals.  Microwaves, leftovers, and crock pots are your best friends.  DO use paper plates when you're being a "single mom."

17.  DON'T have treats every night.  DO have "treat nights".  We do Monday and Friday nights for ice cream and treats.  Be healthy.  DON'T smoke or drink or do drugs.  DON'T become addicted to anything - soda pop, caffeine, junk food, even chocolate... DO eat healthy foods and drink lots of water.

18.  DO keep extra clothes, hats, jackets, diapers, snacks, water, and sunscreen in the car.

19.  DO take lots of pictures.  DON'T keep them all in one place - get an external hard drive.

20.  DO give lots of hugs and kisses and just laugh a lot.

21.  DON'T expect to finish a long blog post in the middle of the day.

22.  DO have more than one child if possible.  I love how the boys interact with each other.  They entertain each other, laugh and learn together.  Each of their personalities add so much to our family.  Some might say that we've stretched ourselves too thin and that we don't have enough love or attention to go around, but I disagree.  While it is true that my attention may be divided, I don't have to divide my love between them.  It grows to encompass all of them.  I think it might be wise to have at least one more kid that you think you can handle, because you'll discover that you don't know yourself very well.  You're stronger than you think.  And as you experience the joy that comes with one child, it multiplies with every child.  Great joy times 4 is a lot of happiness (and heartache, but the joy outweighs the heartache).      

President Hinckley, former prophet of the church, had his 4 B's, which turned into several B's.  The first ones were be smart, be true, be clean, be humble.  Added to that were others: be grateful, be prayerful, be positive, be involved, be still  - I have a sign with all of them on it that hangs in my entry way.  They're all great, but I thought of a few others that I would add especially for moms:

1.  Be flexible.  One of my favorite quotes (which I was introduced to by my friend Mary)  is "She who is flexible never gets bent out of shape."  I love that - so true.

2.  Be prepared.  Things can be unpredictable at times with kids.  Be ready for whatever may happen.

3.  Be consistent.  If you say something, follow through.  Kids love consistency, even if it's not in their favor.  They like to know that the rules don't change. 

4.  Be thrifty.  You can do more if you use your resources wisely.

5.  Be organized.  Have a plan for the day, but be flexible.  A clean house also helps things run smoothly, but it's okay to have busy organization. 

6.  Be patient, but don't pray for patience.  Along with patience is to be kind.  Just BE NICE.

Soccer shoes over jammies at 1:00 in the afternoon... it's OKAY!

Last mommy advice:  Get tips from other moms!

A little chilly...

It's supposed to get down to 63 today!  :)   I wonder if I can still wear shorts and flip flops?   Just had to rub it in a little bit...  tomorrow it's supposed to be 70 degrees.  I like it here.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

hearty brownies, animals, and krispie kisses

These brownies were fun, but not very tasty.  Probably should have decorated them, but they did taste pretty good with mint chocolate ice cream.

The boys had fun with these animals made with hearts.  Printed them from here.  There were lots of different ones to choose from, with templates in color or black and white.  Coloring, cutting, and gluing... kept them busy!  I also did a couple - they were just so cute.

I made these Hershey's Kiss Rice Krispie treats for my activity day girls - super easy.  I think it took me maybe 20 minutes, using the microwave to melt a little chocolate, butter, and marshmallows, a greased funnel to shape them, and wrapping foil around them (a little cooking spray on the inside of the foil helps).  I used the regular recipe and melted some hershey's kisses to stir in with the butter and marshmallows before adding the cereal.  Anyway, you need to try this one - SO easy, yummy, and makes a cute gift.