Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Conference Tradition

It's been hovering around 70 degrees here for the last few weeks, and naturally, the one weekend we reserved a camping spot, the temps dropped below freezing. :/ But it was worth it. Luckily, we have a camper so we all survived. In my opinion, it's the only way to camp with young kids! You've got to keep them comfortable or it will be a miserable trip for everyone!

Here we are all ready to go and wearing matching camo... one of our crazy family traditions.

Check out this set-up. It's a ton of work! But thank goodness I'm married to a manly-man who works hard to be prepared and who sacrifices his own comfort to make life fun and memorable for us.

We went out to enjoy the great outdoors, but this is where we spent much of our time. Haha! Cuddled up in our little camper, watching conference... and trying to stay warm. Conference was amazing and inspiring as always. SO grateful to have the gospel in my life.

Sweet little snugglebunnies...

Jarom loved his first camping trip! It's a good thing too, 'cause there will be many more for this little guy! He woke up all bright eyed and bushy tailed both mornings...

Playing ladderball, a very fun and popular game here in Wisconsin...

Another camping tradition... yummy eats and lots of treats! I buy certain junk foods we never eat unless we're camping... oreos, pop, and of course s'mores. Mmm... calories don't count when camping.

Daddy found a little grasshopper and Jakey was absolutely mezmerized. I had to take a picture, because it was a sweet moment of discovery.

Then Celeste found a much bigger one! Eek!

Pondering and singing together by the campfire...

Checking out all the sights at Old World Wisconsin on Saturday...

Flying Kites! At least the freezing cold wind was good for something!

One of God's special masterpieces. No, I'm not referring to the sunset. ;) (Love you Jonathan!)

The kids seem to sleep better when we go camping. Probably because they completely wear themselves out.

Whew, what a trip! Can't wait to go again!
Now back to real life, and loads and LOADS of laundry.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Nest

This is Celeste and her two bffs. They're standing next to "the nest" they created for the birds in the neighborhood. You can't really tell in the pic, but they're allowed to pick the flowers (the weeds) from our yard and tape them to the nest. They get so excited about this! They spend nearly every afternoon together and think up all sorts of wild ideas. They even formed a band. Celeste is the vocalist, and the other two play the guitar and the keyboard. They call themselves "The Ocean Waves." It's hilarious.
I think this kind of play is so good for their developing imaginations. I'm a firm believer in turning the tv and video games OFF and letting kids play and explore and discover. It forces them to use some creativity and ingenuity rather than expecting constant entertainment. I try to be authoritative as a parent, but when it comes to play, I usually take the "let them be little" approach. I let them run around in the grass barefoot, catch frogs and crickets (as long as they don't bring them in the house), play outside in the rain without an umbrella, and jump in puddles. I let them be kids! So what if their hands and faces get a little messy!
But yesterday, I had to intervene. Jakey was playing outside and helping the girls make the nest. I had to run inside for a minute to get Jarom, and when I came back out, he was walking around the neighborhood holding a PLUNGER. He was pretending it was a big flower, and he wanted to put it on the nest too. I'm sorry, but THAT I will NOT allow! I couldn't help but laugh and wonder what the neighbors must think. But they had kids once too, so hopefully they understand.


This is how the boys spend much of their time these days. They love dressing up as superheroes and running around the house trying to save the pretty princesses (or as Jakey says, pwiddy pwincesses). I'm so glad they have each other!

Check out this dangerous duo...

Dangerously cute, that is.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Out of the mouth of babes

I overheard Charity singing about Jesus today during quiet time, and had to capture it on camera. She does this often and I just think it's the sweetest thing. She has the most tender little heart of gold. I imagine Heavenly Father must be so pleased to hear one of his little ones singing His praises. (Just disregard the messy house, haha!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Greatest Day

As we have welcomed each new baby into our family, it's been increasingly challenging to find enough one-on-one time for each child, to ensure that they get the individual attention they need. So one of my 30 by 30 goals was to implement a family system that would allow each of them their own special time with us each week. So we decided, simply, that each kid will get to stay up past bedtime once a week. We set the timer for 30 minutes and the kids get to do what they choose (most anything except watch movies). Sometimes they'll want to read with us, or show us something they learned in school, or just talk about their day. They look forward to this more than almost anything! The first thing they say every morning, "Is it my night to stay up?!" So the kids each get a day, and then Mommy and Daddy get Saturday and Sunday. But interestingly, on our night, we don't want to stay up... we want to go to bed!

We thought we'd take it a step further and allow them a special "Mommy and Me" outing once or twice a year too. So since horses are her favorite animal, (and Jon found an awesome deal online), we took advantage of the opportunity for Celeste and I to have a 2-hour horseback riding lesson together! Here she is in action...

She was an absolute natural! She had no fear whatsoever. The trainer was amazed at how quickly she learned. She even taught her to stand up on the horse, she spun around on the saddle, and she was galloping all around by the time the lesson was over. I was absolutely floored at how quickly she picked it up, and how easy she made it look. Shoot. This might be an expensive hobby!

And then there was me. I was an absolute joke. The trainer had to stand close by most of the time, because I was so worried I was going to fall off, and I couldn't even hold the reigns right. And every time I would tell him to go right, he would turn left! (All males are the same, I guess ;)) I have to admit, it was a bit embarrasing to have my 7 year-old galloping circles around me, while I was struggling with the basics! Haha! But that's ok, it was about her not me. And she really shined!

I think this will be an experience she will always remember. When we got to the car, she was all smiles and she wanted to keep her helmet on. Then we stopped for ice cream and we sang primary songs all the way home.
When we were almost to the house, I said, "Wow, wasn't this a great day, Celeste?!" And she replied, "No mom, not a great day. The GREATEST day." :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Family Service Project

Here's an idea for any family who wants to:
-Teach children the value of compassion and kindness
-Get rid of extra clutter in the home
-Build family unity through serving together
-Help those who are suffering or in need
Step 1:
Show children (age-appropriate) pictures of suffering in other countries. Help them understand that most people don't have the comforts and privileges that we enjoy here. Read scriptures, and teach them what Jesus taught about loving and serving others.
Step 2:
Gather up the extra "stuff" from around the house. Let the kids participate, by having them select some of their own toys and clothes to donate.
Step 3:
Have a "Charity Garage Sale" Make sure to specify which charity you are supporting, and that 100% of the proceeds will be donated.
Step 4:
Take the money you earned and buy items to make a humanitarian kit. Here are directions from lds humanitarian services for 3 different kits:

Hygene Kits:
(Hygene kits are sent to orphanages, homeless shelters, medical facilities, and disaster areas)
Place the following items in a heavy-duty, one-gallon
sealable bag. Remove the air before sealing.
· 2 unbreakable combs without sharp handles
· 4 toothbrushes (sealed)
· 1 tube of toothpaste (6-8 ounces, no pumps)
· 2 bars of soap (3.5-5 ounces each)
· 2 hand towels (approximately 15x25 inches)
Dishtowels and washcloths are not
If sewing towels, use terry cloth and serge
or zigzag edges to prevent fraying.
Newborn Kits:
(Newborn kits are sent to orphanages and hospitals, particularly in developing countries)
Place the following items in a heavy-duty, two-gallon
sealable bag:
· 4 single thickness cloth diapers
Approximately 25x27 inches
Birdseye Cloth or diaper flannel, 100% cotton
No pre-fold or disposable diapers
· 4 diaper safety pins
· 1 pair booties or baby socks
· 2 bars of soap 3.5-5 ounces each (Ivory or other
non-allergenic brand)
· *1 receiving blanket (36x36 – 45x45 inches)
· 1 layette gown
No footed sleepers, buttons, zippers or strings
Size: Newborn to 6 months, Fabric: cotton knit
Layette gown patterns are available at the
LDS Humanitarian Center, Humanitarian Service
Rooms and at
School Kits:
(School kits are sent to schools and orphanages. On occasion school kits will be sent to disaster areas.)
Place the following items in a durable cloth bag:
- 4 unsharpened pencils
· 1 rubber pencil eraser - approximately 1x2 inches
· 1 pair blunt nosed scissors with metal blades
· 1 pencil sharpener
· 1 straight edge ruler - 12 inches, with metric
· Glued or spiral bound notebooks with lined sheets, 8 x 10 ½,
or 8 ½ x 11 inches
Notebooks should total approximately 450 sheets
Do not include more than 6 notebooks
· 1 set assorted colored pencils
at least 12 per set, approximately 7 inches long
Step 5: Include children in purchasing items and assembling the kits...

Step 6: One of the requirements is to remove the air from each kit. So have the kids to give each kit a giant hug to send their love...

Step 7: Send completed kits to:

Latter-day Saint Humanitarian Center
1665 South Bennett Road
Salt Lake City, UT 84104

Step 8: Feel the joy of service! And teach the children that those warm feelings are a confirmation that they're doing what Jesus would have them do.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The evening before Jarom was born...
3 months later (and still in my maternity clothes. :/)
Little Jarom is SUCH a blessing to our family. We love our sweet boy. He is everything we hoped for and more!

Friday, September 10, 2010

What the hail?

Sorry for the title, couldn't help myself. Haha! Check out the crazy weather we had here recently. So the hail started out like this...

And then it kept getting bigger and bigger...

And it lasted for about 5 minutes. The kids were bewildered and a little frightened, but I thought it was the coolest thing ever! We were all gathered around the front door in amazement. I've never seen weather like this... much different than the usual mild Seattle weather. Outrageous snow storms, a tornado, and now this! Pretty wild, huh?!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First Day of School

The kids started school last week. As excited as they were, it was definitely emotional for me. But as much as I miss them during the day, there is something about school that provides such structure and routine for our family. Plus, I'm really enjoying the extra time I have with the younger ones.

Here's Charity and Benny going off to preschool and kindergarten...

And here they are after school with their best friend N...

I think the one who has had the hardest time adjusting is Jakey. He has a bit of a 'tude these days...

The first couple days of school he was moping around saying "I miss Chawity, Benny and Ceyeste." But he's pretty much over it now. I think he's loving all the extra attention he's getting. And he LOVES picking them up from the bus stop each day!

Baby Jarom

Aww, I love this sweet slumbering snugglebug. It's amazing how accurate that 3D ultrasound was. I have to say though, I like him much more outside the womb... except at night sometimes. ;)

We're starting to see more of this adorable smile these days. These next few months are my favorite! I love watching his personality begin to emerge as he takes in all everything around him. It's all so new and exciting. And I love that I get to watch him grow and develop. He has such a huge personality crammed in that tiny body! I just can't get enough of this little guy!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Summer Days

This summer has simply flown by! I can't believe it's already over. Here are a few snapshots of what we've been up to lately (and why this blog has been neglected)...

Playing frisbee with Daddy

Trip to PA to visit Nana and Papa

Our second home this summer...

A little exploration of nature's creatures...
Letting the creature go (per mommy's request)
A little slipping and sliding!

New bike

Sprinkler under the trampoline (one of my favorite childhood pastimes)...

Our favorite new waterpark...

Our little daredevil Celeste jumped off the high dive! I remember being absolutely terrified of that thing when I was young... actually, it still terrifies me. But she got right in line with all the big kids, and jumped right off again and again. No fear.

If you look closely, you'll see Celeste on the high dive, and some grown-up dude diving off the low dive. :) That's my girl!!

There she goes!

This picture captures what I'll remember about summer when the kids are grown. These endless summer afternoons. All the giggling, playing make-believe (and occasional squabbles) in the backyard- their own special place in this world to run and play and discover.

Hope you had a summer full of special memories too!

I’d give all wealth that years have piled,
The slow result of Life’s decay,
To be once more a little child,
For one bright summer day.

~Lewis Carroll


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