Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So, I was up during the night with Andrew (about 3 a.m.) and Conan O'Brien was on. They replay his show, but it's one from a couple of weeks before, not the one that was on earlier that day. Anyway, I saw this and was amazed. I recorded it so my kids could see it and they LOVED it. These people are so talented. I have seen this about five or six times and see something new everytime.
(Sorry, I can't figure out how to just post the video here. You'll have to follow the link.)
So, here's some of what we've been up to the last three weeks -

he's been doing a lot of this -

we've been lucky enough to do some of this -

(visit and spend time with people we love)

we got to do some of this -
(yes, I give my kids cereal for Christmas - kinds they would never get otherwise)

and this little man learned how to do this -

(I don't think I'm ready to have him standing on his own yet)

Here are some of my favorite images from this Christmas season -

these are the shepherds from the Nativity the cousins acted out on Christmas Eve -
Mat and Kati's kids were by far the closest to authentic in the costume category.

Andrew has decided that everyone needs to share in the joy that is his tongue - ALL THE TIME!
It is always hanging out!

Mike is a big fan of the penguin and Santa found some penguin glasses to put in his stocking this year.

That's a short recap of our Christmas celebrations. We were able to spend time with both sides of the family and have a great time. We even spent time with special people we don't see often because they live too far away. We hope to see you again soon, John & Jackie and Sara & Isaac!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Okay, so I'm a slacker. I'll admit it.

I've been so busy this last month that blogging has been at the bottom of my to-do list. Sorry.

I'll start by mentioning my last blog (and part of the reason that I haven't written for awhile). Just a few days after my last post, Sara and Isaac had to give Kaitlyn back to her birth family. We are all so sad about the way things turned out. We wish the best life for her that is possible and she will always have a family that she doesn't know but who loves her.

Now, I will move on to other things. Things that make me happy.
Here are some pics of our Christmas decorations this year.

We have eight nativities. I have only posted pictures of two of them.

These are some of my kitchen decorations.

I got these bears the year that Kimi was one and a half. Otherwise there would be more of them.

(That little blue ornament in the bottom right corner is one I made in the second grade. Yes, that's me in 1974.)

Much to my husband's chargrin, we had two trees this year. One in our front entry room and one in the family room downstairs.

The tree on Christmas morning before all the mayhem.

Even though this is a horrible picture, it's one of my favorites of the season.

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas filled with love and happy family togetherness!
We Love You!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

So, I guess it's okay to write about now that Sara and Isaac have put it up on their blog. We have a new member in our family.

I am proud to introduce Kaitlyn.
The process of her becoming an official member of the family has, so far, been following a very rocky road. You can read all about it here -

PLEASE pray for them! She needs to stay with this family. She belongs there. We all love her and would miss her, even though most of us have never met her. She would leave a gaping hole that would be next to impossible to refill.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I just happened upon a cool thing on a blog that I stalk daily.

After watching, read this-

Makes you think, huh?

Happy Holidays! I hope we can all remember why we celebrate.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's Thanksgiving - Bring out the Pecan Pie

So here is Thanksgiving and I thought I was going to get to sleep in this morning. Then I realized I am the father of six "sweet" children who don't believe in sleeping in when there is no school. Aaron came in at 6:00am and started beating me on my back. I adopted the Belle principle that if something is bothering you, ignore it and it will go away. Aaron finally went over and got some hugs from his fantastic mother who loves him so much. Andrew was in his crib trying very hard to sit up. I think Andrew is one of those kids who just wants to walk with all of his heart, he just can't figure out the whole getting up on his legs. He has learned how to wave his little hand and I think that is one of my favorite things, along with giving "knuckles" to Aaron. I finally got my lazy carcass out of bed and came downstairs to the smell of cornbread and the sounds of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. My wife has already made breakfast, fed the baby, and made an amazing recipe box for her sister. I am pretty blessed to have her as my best friend. She puts up with my creative binges, my long term building projects, and my fun with the computer. She tolerates my movie collection and she even likes being with me. I firmly believe any other woman would have committed hari-kari by now.
I had the opportunity to have Josh come and throw himself on me in what he describes as a hug. Josh is beyond excited today because it is his 12th birthday. He had his interview with the Bishop on Sunday and will be ordained a Deacon on Sunday. Josh had the Deacon's Quorum president and the Young Men's President come and speak with him and he is on fire about the whole thing. He really wants an electric guitar for his birthday. I told him they are really pricey and we might not be able to make it happen. I was able to trade for a pretty cool guitar and amp so I know he is going to be over the moon.
Kimi came up and gave me a huge squeeze. She is my soft hearted child and is always trying to help her mom and become more like her mom. I could think of a lot worse examples she could be following. Kim is a great student and puts her heart into school. She reminds me a lot of my sister Sara. She is very determined and has an attitude of self that is very positive. Kim tries everything and wants to do everything. She is always asking questions and many are ones I can't answer without using GOOGLE. She always makes me smile.
Ben is always cracking jokes and loves to be involved with things that command his entire attention. It is killing him right now because I have removed the video game and computer from his life because of his missing school work. I know he HATES homework. I use to hate it to. Why should I have to do all this crap because some teachers make me. He is a great kid and has a fantastic ability to make others happy. Ben can charm a baby better than a snake charmer can charm a serpent. He is very helpful taking care of Andrew when his Mom needs a break. Ben was a great help when we were putting the yard together this year. He is taller than his Mom and getting bigger than is Pop.
Emma is our actress girl. She is always putting on the drama over anything that happens. She loves to have fun and play with her friends. Emma still loves her Dad and she is at the door most of the nights when I come home. She is the little blonde girl that loves to dance and party when we have music on in the house.
I am pretty thankful for my motley crew. They are a pack of fun, excitement, and joy. We have been blessed to have a new house and to get the things done on it this year. I never thought having grass would be such a huge thing. I am thankful for all of the people who have helped us this year. Mom & Dad Lalliss for the time they take to come and help us on the house and watching our kids. Mom & Dad Price for dropping everything and helping when Belle needed to go to Oregon. To all the friends and neighbors we have that came and broke their backs to help us with our yard and our house. I feel pretty blessed. So there you have it. Lets score some turkey and bring on the pie!!!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So, I am sitting in the living room yesterday with Andrew when the phone rings. Kim brought it to me and said it was Harmon's. I'm thinking, "I don't know anyone named Harmon." I answer the phone and indeed it was Harmon's - the grocery store. A few weeks ago they had a grand opening at the store in Roy. It has been there for awhile, but they did a little remodeling. They had papers that you would put your name, address, and phone number on and drop it in one of their boxes. They were for a drawing they were having for some give-aways. I filled one out and then promptly forgot about it, because I NEVER win anything (except for the heart of my husband). Anyway, guess what I won?

We went over last night to pick it up, and I was shocked at how big this thing is!
It hold eleven cups of stuff! It can make bread, slice, shred, you name it! Mike looked online and found out that you can buy one at Ace Hardware for $199.99 plus shipping. Now I just need to find a place to put it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Things I'm Grateful For-

Last year I did five things I'm grateful for every day of November. I'm not going to do that this year. I will, however, post some things a few times throughout the month.

Today I am grateful for-

1. Super creative kids. For Halloween Ben was the scariest thing he could think of - Homework. He got two sheets of poster board and made a sandwich board that he wore around. Then we wrote homework problems on it. Some of them were,
-Make a diorama of an atom.
-If a baby is 8 pounds at birth, and grows at a rate of 1% per day, how big will the person be on it's 20th birthday?
-Divide 276,532.791 by 5983.
-Write a ten million word essay explaining the cotangent of 2436.29873.
-Tonight you need to read chapters 5 through 27 for the quiz tomorrow.
-Write a paper explaining the import and export practices of Ghana. Be specific and comprehensive.
-Write an essay about the complete works of William Shakespear. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences between all the major players, all the secondary characters, and the plots of each play. This essay should be at least 5,000 words long.

2. A new adventure and a new member of the family for Sara and Isaac. We love you guys and are so excited for you. Can't wait to meet her!

3. Online classes. I've never taken one before, but I am excited to learn and expand my horizons!

4. A super wonderful husband who loves me and takes good care of me.

5. A warm home. I realize that on rainy cold days like today not everyone can say that.

6. This beautiful earth to live on.

7. I am so glad that the elections are over! Even though not everyone I voted for won, I am still glad that we live in a country where we can decide who will lead and make decisions for us. I know that Heavenly Father will bless our nation and our communities if we take part in the government and the choosing of our leaders.

That brings me to another thing. Awhile ago, Josh sent a letter to President Bush. He realized that there was a Mother's Day and a Father's Day, but no Kid's Day. (I told him that everyday is Kid's Day.) He wrote to the President to suggest that he create a National Kid's Day. Today he received a reply in the mail. He got a large manilla envelope that had the return address of the White House. Inside was a letter that said -

October 23, 2008

Dear Josh:

Thank you for writing and sharing your views. I always enjoy hearing from young Americans, and I appreciate your thoughtful suggestions. The future success of our Nation will require the creativity, innovation, and energy of you and your peers. You can make the future of America brighter with your confidence and compassion.

Mrs. Bush and I send our best wishes for every success. May God bless you, and may God bless our great country.

There was also this picture -

Josh was so excited, I thought he might have a heart attack.

Have a Super Fabulous Day!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My sis-inlaw, Kati, has this picture on her blog and it made me laugh. Since most of you who read my blog can't see hers, I decided to figure out how to put it on mine, too.


Guess what we did last night?

Probably no big surprise since I talked about it yesterday.
We had a great time, and the kids were very creative this year.
from left to right -
Emma's, Kimi's, Josh's (the spider), Aaron's (carved by Daddy), Ben's, and Andrew's (carved by Mom)

Happy Halloween!

by the way, No Cavities! Yay!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So now it's Tuesday and I went back to the doctor's office today.
They really just wanted to check my blood pressure because the medication can make your blood pressure drop, and she was worried that would happen. My blood pressure is great and the pain is gone. Well, almost. I traded the sharp stabbing pain for a very small dull ache right behind my eyes. Most of the time I hardly notice it. I would gladly make that trade any day. It has been so wonderful to not have to take Tylenol just to nurse Andrew and then sleep with the heating pad. My research time was well worth it!
Today is the family dentist trip. I do not like this day. I'm not really against seeing the dentist and having my teeth cleaned. What I am against is having all my kids in the waiting room by themselves for the half hour it takes to get my teeth done. I am also not a fan of the hygenist talking to me like a young child about how to floss and how often I should do it. I know all that. Doesn't she remember that she told me all the same things six months ago? I have to explain to her everytime that I floss as often as I can. I realize that it isn't everyday like she wants, but I do it probably four times a week. Most days I can't even find the time to eat breakfast. How am I going to find the time to floss? Maybe she'll go easy on me this time.
We may be carving our pumpkins tonight. We scraped out the goo on Saturday, but we ran out of time before we could carve the faces on them. If we do, I will post pictures tomorrow.
Have a super day!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Today I am having a FANTASTIC day!!!!!!!!
The only bummer about the day so far is the fact that I went to vote and realized that I didn't have my driver's license with me, so therefore I couldn't vote today. That makes three times that I've been there and haven't voted yet. Oh well. Another day.
What has made this day fantastic is the fact that I paid $2.85 a gallon for gas (isn't it sad that I'm excited to pay $2.85?). But wait, that's not all.
I have had horrible pain everyday since the middle of June. Sometimes all day, sometimes just when I feed Andrew. Four very long months. I had mastitis once for a few days, but that cleared up with medicine, but the pain did not stop. I have continued to feed Andrew anyway, and I must admit, sometimes I have not been very happy about it. I knew that if I just gave it up I would be more unhappy though, so I stuck it out. I talked to a nurse yesterday, and she said it sounded like Raynaud's Syndrome. I had no idea what that was, so I did a little research. It turns out that I probably have had Raynaud's Syndrome for a long time - like twenty years or more. It is a disease that makes your body act all wonky when you get cold. The capillaries shut down and your blood flow is restricted, so you have pain. It usually manifests itself in your hands and feet, but can be other places too. I have always, at least since high school, had problems with cold hands and feet. In the winter I have to put on gloves before I go outside because if the cold hits my hands they instantly hurt. Sharp, knife stabbing, kind of pain. I found out through my research that sometimes you can get it when you breastfeed and it affects the blood vessels and so there is the same sharp, stabbing pain. While I was reading about this study, I just was crying and crying. It was such a relief to know that it is a thing, and that something can be done about it. I immediately picked up the phone and called my doctor for an appointment. I went this morning. I told her what was going on, and showed her the articles I printed off of the internet about this study. She had never heard of such a thing and wanted to talk to some of the other doctors in the practice. She did so and they all agreed that it was something wonderful that many of their other patients would benefit from too. It said in the article that you can take a very low dose of a medicine that is a calcium channel blocker and it doesn't pass through the milk and the relief of the pain is almost immediate. She gave me a prescription and wants me to come back on Tuesday to see how it's working. I SO HOPE THIS WILL WORK! The study included 12 women and it worked for all of them. I will be so wonderful to not have pain all the time, and it is extra great to know that maybe my research can help other women too. I'll let you know how it goes.
Plus, I have a no kids date with my husband tonight. We are going out to dinner with my parents and all my brothers and sisters and their spouses. My brother, Scott, is home for a couple of weeks from Afghanistan, so we are having a night without kids so we can visit and have a good time without all the noise and disruptions. Should be fun!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Okay, Kati, quit bugging me. I've been super busy.

So, I went to Oregon. We (My dad, sister Jolene, Andrew, and I) left on Thursday morning around 10:30 am (Sept. 25). We pulled into the driveway of my grandparents house - now my cousin Lisa and her family live there - at 11:50 pm (Utah time). My siblings - Monique, Rick, and Brian arrived about 5 am (Oregon time). Jannette and her kids arrived that morning too, but I don't remember when. My Mom and Eric flew up on Thursday, so they were already there. (Scott was in Afghanistan still, although he is home now on a two week leave - YAY!) My grandparents have 19 grandkids and all but five were able to make it. Some of my cousins I haven't seen for 17 or 18 years. It was nice to catch up.

One of my favorite things about my grandparents house is all the hydrangeas. They have walls of them growing around the yard. It is past the time of year when they are in bloom - usually around early September is the peak of color - but there were still a few blooms around that still were vibrant. This blue one is my favorite kind they have.

The funeral was on Saturday, September 27, 2008. It was very nice. My grandma is buried in a beautiful place on a hill with lots of trees that looks out over the valley. The one drawback is all the squirrels that live in the trees. Grandma HATED squirrels!

This is a picture of my Grandpa, my Uncle Val, my mom, and my Aunt Julia (standing) at the family viewing on Friday afternoon. (I wish I always took fabulous pictures, but alas it isn't so.)

This picture, however, is one of the best I've ever taken. It is looking north from the Devil's Punch Bowl just north of Newport, Oregon.

Here are some more pics of the coast. The one on the left is my baby's first time seeing the ocean. (Devil's Punch Bowl) It was cold, foggy, and very windy. We didn't spend too much time actually on the beach. Dad and Jolene took Andrew back to the car after a few minutes, and my brother Eric and I wandered and gathered shells and rescued starfish that had been stranded by the tide for probably fifteen more minutes before we were too cold to stay out.
We decided to leave to come home on Monday (Sept. 29) after we got back from the coast. We left Corvallis about 9:30 pm (Utah time) and drove through the night. We got home at about 11:00am. It was a long trip, but worth it to me to go. (Thanks Tom and Barbara for making it possible!)

My Grandmother was an amazing person. I treasure the quilts that she has made for me, and it breaks my heart that there will be no more. They warm my body and my soul. She taught me how to make baked apples and yummy chunky applesauce. She tried to turn me into a lady by telling my to not chew my ice, and never put more on my fork than I could put in my mouth. I loved being with her and playing cards with her and being in the garden with her. I loved the smell of her house (which is gone now by the way). I just loved being in her presence. I loved her. I will miss her.


This is what I found when I poked my head outside at 7 am on October 12, 2008. It was so quiet in our neighborhood that I could actually hear the snow falling.

This is a cute picture of a couple of my favorite people.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's been a busy couple of weeks.
Here is an overview of what's been going on around here
(I only have a few minutes)

We've been doing some of this-

A week and a half ago (Sept. 13) we put sod in our backyard.
Thanks go to the twelve or so "extras" that appeared to help us.

I've been doing A LOT of this-

Seventy quarts of golden deliciousness, plus enough peaches in the freezer for about 50 or so pints of peach jam. Yum-O!

We've been doing some of this-

Aaron turned three years old on September 21.
(Happy Birthday to Aunt Sara on that day, too!)
That was the last day of doing peaches so of course the birthday dessert was a peach cobbler.

Josh has been doing a book report. He read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

His book report had to be a diorama so he made a Quidditch Game.

I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but he made little guys on brooms flying around. They were all made from those little twist ties you get with garbage bags sometimes. He twisted them into little people shapes and painted the heads and arms and legs then made them little robes to wear. It was very clever. (If you click on the picture you can see a larger image to see the guys better.)

The reason I only have a few minutes to post today is because my Grandma Ballard died last night. She was born October 9, 1915. She would have been 93 years old in a couple of weeks.
She hasn't been doing well for a long time. She fell the first week in April and broke her hip. She has been in a nursing home ever since. My Grandpa has been living in an assisted living center and going back and forth to be with Grandma everyday. The situation has been hard for them both. Grandma had a hard time remembering things and was in a lot of pain. It is a good thing that she died, but we will all miss her very much. I wish I could have visited them more often over the years, but it just wasn't possible. I am probably leaving tomorrow (Thursday) to go up to Oregon for her funeral on Saturday and will return on Monday. I need to go and make arrangements for the trip and to figure out what to do with my kids while Mike has to work. I hope it all works out. I'll try to post again around the middle of next week.