March 1, 2015

Fire, Water, Adventure - Part One

  We spent Friday and Saturday in Kansas City.  We were so excited to visit Mike's best friend growing up, Andrew Deering and his awesome wife and adorable kiddos.  It was so fun, and the kids were so excited about the vacation.
  We picked a VERY cold weekend to go, but go we did.  After the car was packed up and warmed up, we were hurrying the kids into the car and after getting the boys packed in, I looked around for Emily and saw a hilariously depressing sight.  Little Miss was standing with a little bag around her arm, no coat, in the exhaust fumes.  She saw me and said, "Mom, help!  Get me out of the fire!!"  Apparently she got in the fumes, got scared, and froze up.  I had to fight back laughter as I rushed to her aid and got her buckled in the car, safe from the scary imaginary flames.
  Andrew was extremely excited about taking this trip, and asked me to take pictures of literally everything around us.  "Mom!  Take a picture of that tree!  Now that car!  Now Dad!  Now us!  Now the ground!"
A car that apparently needed to be documented.
A convoy of Army vehicles.
Although the millions of pictures of our trip up are a little hilarious in their randomness, I've decided to spare you.
  When we got to KC, we were too early to check in to our hotel, and everyone was starting to get pretty hungry, so we went to a place Andrew D. had told us about called Fritz's.  The food is not amazing, but there is a train out front, you order through a phone in your booth, then a train delivers your food.  It was worth it for the kids to able to see it.  They thought it was pretty cool.
The kids waiting in their little train car before we were seated.
Silly Emily
She thought the hat was awesome, and was pretty proud of herself.  We love that little gal.
I think she noticed the trains at this point.
Charlie plopped one on his head when Emily did.  We fixed it for him.  :)
Daddy ordering
Here comes the food!
After the train drops it off, the platform lowers so you can grab the box with your food in it.  Andrew thought the "robot" was the best part.
The mall was across the street from LEGOLAND and the Aquarium, so they had these guys in the lobby area.  BOY were the kids amazed at that!  Andrew said it was millions of Legos, and that he would do that, too.  Emily was very impressed with the girl Lego in particular.
They also had a free Fairy Tale Village.  Each section was a different story.  The lighting was low, and Andrew was a little freaked out by it.  Charlie wasn't too interested either, so Mike took the boys out to explore while our little princess oohed and ahhed over each section.  She felt very grown up in her carriage, "just like Cinda-wella!"
She's never seen Frozen, but was excited to pretend to be the Princess.
These pictures are just because Andrew wanted some with Mike.
   After the mall, we headed over to the Kansas City temple.  The kids had been talking about how they wanted to go see the temple all week, and I was excited for them to walk on the grounds, feel the Spirit, and think of what it would be like to go inside someday.
   The weather made it a very short trip, with lots of shivering and red noses, but it was still a neat experience for everyone.
I told her to smile and she said, "Cheeeseeeee......cold bananahead!"  Because that is hilarious, that's why.
After we got back to the car, I was saying why I liked going to the temple.  I said it made me think of Jesus and all the people who had already died that we were helping to be forever families, etc.  Andrew got very quiet and reflective while he said in a tender, quiet voice,
"When I go to the temple, I think....of pizza.  Just pizza."
  This was exactly what I was hoping for.  :)  After the temple, we went to the Deerings house, spent some time with Andrew before Laura and the kids got home, and then went and checked into the hotel.  That is coming in Part Two.  Hold your horses, people.  It's comin'.

February 25, 2015

What's Up With Andrew?

What ISN'T up with Andrew?  This kid blows me away every day. 
  First and foremost, last night he decided that he wanted to read.  So he did!!!!!!  He read a whole book almost by himself with some help.  Today I got out some flashcards, and he knew 26 out of the 32 cards.  When we went through them again, he got them all.  HE GOT THEM ALL!!!!  I am so proud of this boy, and I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty proud of me for following my scary inspiration to homeschool him.    
He wrote a letter to his Grandpa Barnard for his birthday (which got ruined before it got mailed...).  It said, "Dear Grandpa, Sorry to disturb you so happy birthday.  Love, Andrew"  He made all the letters pretty unrecognizable because they were all birthday items.  He's so cute.
Andrew went to the dentist.  He was so proud of himself.  He loved getting his teeth cleaned, and taught the hygienist and the receptionist about marine animals.  He thought the glasses were pretty hilarious, too.
No cavities; everything looked great!
He was a tad obsessed with the spit sucker.

During his rest time, he made interesting shadows.
And of course, he has been spending time with his best friend of all time - Daddy.  He told me the other day that he was a "little scared of dark, but I won't be if Daddy is here."
"I love you, Mom.  And Daddy is my favorite."
He even invited Mike to work with him in the garbage collection company he is starting.  Pretty nice of him.
I love this sweet, amazing, creative little 5 year old of mine!

February 24, 2015

Why Do You Have All These Kids?

  In case you don't know, I have three kids, and there's another one that will soon be joining us.  Since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted a big family. but I didn't realize how difficult it would be to do that! 
  I LOVE my kids.  I mean, there are times when I just have to sit and cry or laugh or squeal, because they're so sweet, so adorable, so kind, so special.  And there are times when I have to stand there and stare at my kid while the instant mashed potato flakes flutter around his head and he's saying, "Snowflakes!" and knowing there's another kid pouting in another room because he can't watch t.v. and the other kid is bellowing for me to come wipe their bottom. Those are the times when my brain feels like it's going to explode.
  So the question is, why do we keep having all these kids?  Here are some of the questions we've been asked, by friends and also complete strangers.

Q:  How do you afford all these kids? 
A:  We don't make a ton of money, but we make a decent living.  We live simply and try to teach our kids to find joy in little things.

Q:  Do you believe in birth control?
A:  Yes, we do.  We also believe in having kids.  So we do.

Q:  How many more are you going to have?
A:  I'll let you know when we do.  This may be the last, it may not be.  We're not sure.  We're just trying to do what's best for us and our family, so we're taking it day by day.

Q:  Don't you know what causes this?
A:  Ew.  Yes.  Don't be weird.

Q:  How do you stay sane?
A:  Sometimes we don't.  It helps that we were a little unhinged before having kids. ;)

Q:  Why do you have so many kids?
A:  There are times when having all these little kids around makes life difficult.  There are things I sometimes wish I could do- trips I could take, freedoms I no longer enjoy (like going to the bathroom without anyone yelling at me and pounding on the door), etc.  There are times when I remember the days of adult conversations as a distant memory.  But those times are nothing.  It doesn't matter that my house looks like a daycare center.  It doesn't matter that I've changed roughly a zillion diapers.  I miss sleeping through the night on a regular basis.  But I love seeing these kids grow more than anything else.  I cherish those tiny hugs.  I marvel at the little people they are becoming.  I can't wait to see what they do with their lives.  It has brought me closer to my husband, helped me to become a better person, and has given me a greater focus than any professional, social, or educational experience ever could.  Not everyone is going to have children.  Not everyone will have 4 (or more).  I realize that my wonderful life is not ideal for everyone.
  I guess the short answer to this question would just be:  Because...Andrew, Emily, Charlie, and the new one.  They're the reason we have these kids. 

February 18, 2015

Snow Day

The kids have been asking me to make it snow all winter.  I finally obliged on Monday.  We were lucky that Mike already had Monday off so he could spend the day with us.
Charlie was really unsure about how to walk around in the snow, but quickly learned how to play by watching the older two.
Proof that I was there, and that the wind was trying to blow my scarf away.
Emily spent the entire time wanting to be pulled in the sled and eating snow. 
It was pretty cold, and it took way longer to get everyone dressed than it did for them to actually be out IN the snow.  Everyone was wearing at least two pairs of pants.  Charlie was wearing tights, and Andrew was wearing pretty purple boots.  Charlie thought they were cool, but Andrew did not enjoy wearing his boots.
I remember going out in the snow and playing for hours.  I'm glad to see the kids having so much fun with something as simple and beautiful as snow.

Eclairs, I declare...

Last year we started a Valentine's tradition of making a dessert together after the kids go to bed.  Last year was doughnuts, this year was French ├ęclairs. 
The lineup.  My favorite thing is the faces Mike made on the eggs.
We set up the tripod to get pictures of us.  This picture is entitled, "Forever Alone."
We didn't have a pastry bag, and forgot to get parchment paper, so our pate a choux had some troubles.  It worked out okay in the end though.  :)
Let's just say we had fun and made a lot of messes.
The finished product at 10:30 at night (hence the bad lighting in these pictures).  The verdict?  We're glad we made them, and they weren't horrible, but we felt it could definitely be improved.  The chocolate both inside and on top was so dark.  If you prefer dark chocolate, these might be perfect for you.  :)