Such good kids

On Thursday we had a huge day. We had a lot of activities, and I have to say that the kids were incredibly well-behaved, start to finish. I was so proud of them.

We started off with a 9am doctor appointment for Mary, Ammon, and Clarissa.

After that appointment, we headed to Thanksgiving point to the Scarecrow Festival. It is Fall Break, and so it seemed that all of Utah Valley had the same idea. We waited in line for a while before finally making it in.

The scarecrows were so fun! Too bad my phone was dead or I could have taken some pictures. When we reached the top of the hill, we found a bench and ate lunch. Again, I can not overstate how good the kids were. The girls wanted to play in the bounce houses and roll down the hill, but because Clarissa was strapped to me and I couldn’t imagine how I would get Ammon back up the hill and out of the insanely crowded bounce houses, I said no.

The girls did not beg or insist. Instead, they just sat next to me and quietly ate their lunches while watching all of the kids play. Ammon was, as usual, tired and hungry, and he also focused on eating while watching everyone play. I was so grateful to my kids for being so quiet and sweet.

Then we headed over to the secret garden. We read  The Secret Garden to the girls after Ammon was born, and they were excited to see a real secret garden.

The best part, though, was taking the kids through the sculpture garden of Jesus. There were a ton of bronze, life-size sculpture scenes from the life of Jesus, and we talked about each scene and what we can learn from the life of Jesus. We all felt the Spirit and the girls wanted me to walk through the garden again and tell them the stories again when we were through. By that point, we had been walking for hours, and I hadn’t nursed Clarissa since the morning, so I had to say no. I can’t wait to take them back, though. It was such a special experience.

After that, we walked through the waterfall garden en-route to the exit, and then we came home so I could finally attend to Clarissa and sit down. (I had been up since 5am.)

After I rested and ate, we headed out again to Qualtrics. Even though Abe is gone, he arranged for us to get flu shots at the flu clinic yesterday. I took all four kids and again, they were all PERFECT. I was grateful, grateful, grateful. It could have been so hard to fill out all of those forms if the kids had been in a crazy mood, but they were demure and calm and again sat quietly next to me while I got all of the paperwork out of the way. None of them made a peep during their shots and afterward talked about how they love flu shots because they get suckers. (Actually, they had been begging to go get their shots all day because they remembered that after the shots they get suckers.)

Anyway, after that was over, I again decided to Jimmy Johns it and feed everyone in the car. To give the kids more time to eat, we drove through a car wash before coming home. When we got home, I gave people baths and got them ready for bed an hour early. Since they had a spare hour and I needed to take care of a desperate Clarissa, I planted the kids in front of the Curious George Halloween movie.

After the movie, it was bedtime.

For the record, my kids are such good kids. Sometimes Abe says, “Man, we have good kids,” and I just look back at him blankly. In my mind I am usually picturing the latest tantrum or fight, and I can’t usually quite muster up a genuinely affirmative response to his enthusiastic gush.

But I am going on record to say Abe is always right and my hesitations are wrong. My kids are amazing. Abe has been gone most of the week and he will be gone all of next week, and the fact that I am not completely broken down is a tribute to how easy they have made it on me. I am so grateful for their goodness and am so, so happy they’re mine!!!

Play date with Jessi

I have been going to bed as soon as I can for a week–and have neglected this blog in the process. Not only that, but I feel overwhelmed at the prospect of back-blogging. I have so many pictures, and it always feels like a chore to upload them.

BUT! My phone has died, and Abe is away on a work trip with my charger, so that relieves the pressure for the pictures. I can’t upload anything without my phone, so why stress out about it? And so I am just going to blog as much as I can before the kids wake up and upload all of the pictures later.

On Wednesday the highlight of our day was that Jessi, Henry, and Vika came over for a play date. I love Jessi, and it was so nice to have a mom to talk to on a play date. Since we now have sixteen kids on our cul-de-sac (nineteen counting the house perpendicular to the cul-de-sac), I have not made much effort in the play date department, and my mom-on-mom time has dropped. It was great to visit with Jessi, and it was also so cute to see Henry and Mary playing together.

Lydia is on a reading and coloring streak, so she spent the time coloring and reading.

Mary had a piano recital in the evening, and the teacher’s notes indicate it went well. We have certainly put a lot of work into her piano, and her practice time has skyrocketed since Ammon learned to watch TV. I was very proud of her.

Other than that, I spent most of the day cleaning and baking pumpkin bread. Ammon, who has largely given up naps, took a SIX HOUR NAP yesterday. I was starting to fear he had died by the time he finally woke up.

My mom had a good day. It was largely taken up by talking to my older brother on the phone and helping him sort out some things. My mom also went to her exercise class and her religion class, and I think she had a pretty good day.

On the Abe front, his meetings in Peoria went well, and we had a lot of time talking on the phone in the evening. He is the best, and I miss him so much. I can’t wait until he comes home tomorrow.

 

Abe leaves to Peoria

Tuesday Abe left for his work trip, so I decided to skip feeding the kids dinner at home and fed them Jimmy John’s in the car after Lydia’s climbing camp. When we got home, I just threw everyone in the bath and got them to bed as fast as possible. Since Clarissa spends the time I’m with the other kids crying, we try to fly through the potty-bath-teeth-pajamas routine.

Scripture study at night took a hit. Instead of reading from the Book of Mormon, I have just had the kids recite D&C 6:36: ” Look unto me in every thought. Doubt not, fear not.”

Weak things becoming strong

On Monday I went to parent-teacher conferences for Lydia. The most amazing thing happened there. While the teacher was talking to me about Lydia, she looked at Lydia and said, “She’s behind in reading.”

Part of me wanted to cover Lydia’s ears (not to mention my ears) when she said this. I have practically killed myself–and maybe Lydia too, eep–trying to teach her to read for these past years, and she has flat out refused. This year I had given up. I figured we are sending her to an amazing school, and I was going to leave the problem up to them. I already fight the harp battle daily with Lydia, and the reading battle was just too much fighting with my little six-year old daughter. I want, after all and most of all, to have a loving relationship with her.

HOWEVER, when the teacher said this to Lydia, something sparked in her. She went right home after the conference and did nothing but read for two straight days. I mean, she had other activities she had to do, like go to school and attend her extra curriculars, but she has filled every free moment with reading.

She told Abe in the car, “Dad, the teacher said I’m behind in reading and I’m just not going to let that happen.”

She also told me that she had noticed other kids checking out chapter books, and she checks out easy books. She wants to be like the other kids and check out the chapter books.

We are so, so proud of Lydia. Watching her tackle something that is very challenging for her with such grit and determination brings such joy to our hearts. I told her that the teachers pegged me as a lower reader when I was in first and second grade, but one day in middle school I decided I was going to read all of the classics, and by the end of high school, I had almost completed that personal goal.

In the Book of Mormon Christ says,  ” And if men come unto me I will show them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me, and have faith in me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

In Christ, we can do all things. I know it, and I can’t wait to talk through and witness this process with my daughter.

Mary and Ammon played with Ammon’s new truck after ballet.
Lydia read on the couch with Nana.

Ammon turns two!!!

Ammon was a little sad on his birthday. I think he’s going through a growth spurt, so he wants to eat all of the time AND he’s tired a lot. On his birthday, as the videos show, he woke up screaming and sobbing, “FOOD!!!”

He cheered up a little bit upon sight of his pancakes and candles. He knew right what to do with those candles and didn’t wait for us to finish the song before he had blown them out…several times.

I accidentally ordered a GIANT dump truck for Ammon. I considered sending it back, but when Abe saw it he got so excited there was no chance of that. 🙂 We thought that Ammon would certainly show some enthusiasm for his presents, but he was so focused on his pancakes that he really didn’t care that much about opening his truck. He did like it once he saw it, though.

After breakfast we all got ready for church. I had to teach a lesson and so was focused on that for the rest of the morning while Ammon and the girls played with his truck.

Abe caught Ammon in the act at church. It’s not too hard to do, actually, since Ammon picks his nose all the time.
Abe must have been really funny dropping Ammon off at nursery because he got a lot of pictures of Ammon laughing hard.

That bruise on Ammon’s face happened when he threw himself out of his chair during a tantrum.

When we got home, we ate and took turns napping before I made Ammon’s birthday dinner. After dinner, we sang again and gave Ammon his cake. He accidentally burned himself on his candle, and the picture shows the sad event.

After the festivities, the girls and I cuddled during scriptures.

Although Ammon was a little sad on his birthday, it was still a good day. Mostly we are just thrilled with the little person Ammon is. He brings us so much joy every day and never, ever fails to make us all smile with his good soul. He is such a sweet, sensitive, outgoing, happy boy. He says “hi” to literally every person that meets, and he loves people. He is curious, active and very, very energetic. We love him so much and are so thrilled he’s two!!

Happy birthday, Ammon!!

 

 

October Saturday

On Saturday we went to the Provo Farmer’s Market in the early afternoon. The girls brought their purses and Lydia bought everyone honey sticks. The vendor thought that was so sweet and gave her extra because of that.

After the market, we stopped by to return Jessi’s blessing dress and visit with the Vandagriffs. We had a fun time talking with them.

After that visit, I dropped Abe off for a haircut while I took the kids grocery shopping and through a car wash. Abe’s barber butchered his hair. He was used to more ethnic hair types and said he had never seen anyone who did his hair the way Abe does. (Abe combs his hair forward. I think that’s pretty common, but what do I know about men’s hair.) Anyway, the barber kept asking Abe where Abe wanted him to snip, and Abe found that amusing because isn’t the barber supposed to know where to snip? The long and short (ha!) of it was that Abe came out strangely shorn, but he found the barber very endearing.

That evening after the kids were down I helped Abe edit a work project until 11pm, and then he stayed up even later re-editing the edits.

Nick’s rap

I was so busy today that I did not have time to give into much anxiety. Yay!

Sadly, I was busy cleaning poop, vomit (poor Ammon puked), poop, and more poop. I also vacuumed.

We also had Nick over for dinner, and that was so fun. See the impromptu rap he came up with below:

climbing camp

On Tuesday Lydia had climbing camp. I was crazy and thought that I could bring in Ammon and Mary and let them climb at the same time that she climbs. They were free, so I gave it a shot.

HA! Ammon was completely crazy and almost got killed running under all of the climbers, and Mary climbed the kiddie wall a bunch of times and was done.

I hightailed it outta there and headed next door to Brasas where Abe was holding his Elder’s Quorum Presidency meeting. We tried not to interrupt, but it was such solace just to see Abe in the room while we ate their two-for-one tacos.

Afterward I took the three kids (Lydia was still at camp) to the park. Abe and Lydia met up with us there after a little while.

It was a good day. Honestly, my anxiety has been off the charts for several days, but the day did feel very peaceful and happy otherwise (aside from when Ammon was trying to kill himself at The Quarry).

Clarissa’s blessing day

Sunday was Clarissa’s blessing day. Abe gave her a beautiful blessing assuring her that she would feel an abundance of love from God and her family throughout her life and that her awareness of this love would protect her from contention and jealousy throughout her life. Normally baby blessings contain assurances that the baby will grow up to marry in the temple, so I thought this blessing was unique and very beautiful.

Tom and Suzanne came down for the day and helped make the day feel special. We took a lot of pictures afterward. We misplaced the blessing dress Mary and Lydia wore, and so we borrowed one from Jessi. Jessi was blessed in her dress, as was her daughter, Victoria.

After the blessing we all went home and had grain bowls for dinner. I love them and think we should eat them every day.

Then we had FHE. Abe taught a great lesson on the atonement and had the kids do a cute craft framing their own pictures of Jesus with colored paper afterward.

Ammon got distracted by Mr. Potato Head in the middle of the craft.

Leaf Hunt Hike

In the morning we powered through the girls’ practice before Abe took Lydia to BYU for a tour of its harp library. Sadly, there was some sort of parade going on that blocked the entrance to where he needed to go, so after driving around for half an hour, he gave up and brought her home.

We spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon cleaning. Clarissa hung out on the bed while we (mostly Abe) folded piles of laundry.

At 3pm we decided to take the kids up to Squaw Peak for a leaf hunt hike. We hustled to finish our chores and were on our way an hour and a half later.

We had the most wonderful hike! We had more daylight and gorgeous weather, so we walked a lot more than we did yesterday. The kids were so, so happy. Ammon, who usually cries at even imaginary boo-boos, fell a lot because he was walking so fast, and he only cried once the entire hike. He was in his element. I spent most of the hike near him while the girls hurried ahead and Abe and Clarissa brought up the rear.