Thursday, December 31, 2015

101 in 1001 at a close

Back in April of 2013 I made a '101 Goals in 1001 Days' list. I failed pretty miserably. The end date isn't until January 20th, 2016, but it's not going to happen and I would like to just put it to bed and start 2016 with fresh, less and more doable goals. I did managed to do some of them though, so here is the final report:

Start date: April 24rd, 2013. 
End date: January 20th, 2016
1.Finish Anne of Green Gables series 
Did it! I love them. 2.Go a month with no treats.
Did it! I still love treats.3.Sew something
4.Take family pictures
We got one this past weekend with Johann's family, so while it's not exactly what I meant to do, Imma count it!
5.Write a short story
6.Transcribe dads journals

Worked on it, but not close to done. 
7.Send out Christmas cards
8.Entire family dress up for Halloween

We did all dress up, though not as a collective. Henry was Frankenstein's monster, Thea Capt. America, Leo a lion, and Johann and I were Yin and Yang. 
9.Welcome a new member of the family

Mr. Leo himself! 
10.get a pedicure with Thea
11.Purchase a new vehicle

Our van, Groucho
12.Have a mommy son day
13.Have a mommy daughter day
14.Go a week without any electronic device present at dinner time (cell phones)

15.Have a 'golden day'
16.Visit 2 states I've never been to
17.Find an ancestor
18.Hand write 3 letters
19.Sleep 8-9 hours, seven nights in a row
20.Learn how to grill

I did more grilling, I'm not sure what I was aiming for with this one to be honest, but I know how to work one well enough to cook meat and veggies on it, so good?
21.Unplug completely for a day
22.Reread the Old Testament
23.Reread the New Testament
24.Study church history in depth for a month
25.Watch the sun rise
26.Eat somewhere 'famous'
27.Join or form a book club
28.Attend 3 temples never before attended
29.Go to a museum I've never been to

We went to one in San Diego I hadn't been too, I think their Natural History one, as well as another I think...
30.Purchase an original piece of art

The Gardener by Elise Wehle  
31.Make 50 new recipes

I'm not sure how many I did, but probably closer to 15 or so. 
32.Blog every day for a month
33.Attend a lecture
34.Attend a class
35.Get a hobby
36.Go on a bike ride
37.Go on a boat ride

Did this for Thea's 3rd birthday and it was cold and fun
38.Go on a hike

This past summer
39.Learn and acquire a new 'board' game
40.See hot air balloons take off
41.Go to Disneyland with the kids

Did this on Henry's 5th birthday
42.Go camping
43.Visit a national park

Sequoia National Park
44.Make a birthday cake from scratch
45.Spend a day at the beach
46.Organize the sheds
47.Grow an herb
48.grow something outside

A couple different flowers, the aptenia especially grew well under the play house window 
49.Write a poem
50.Read Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit in a day
51.Watch 5 foreign films
52.Get a pet

Two fish, flip-flop and Orrie
53.Go to the movies 10 times

I'm pretty sure I did this.
54.Develop a family tradition for Christmas
55.Develop a family tradition for Easter
56.Do a family service project
57.Read the Book of Mormon w/Henry

We did finish this one in March 
58.Watch fireworks
59.Go to a parade
60.Go on a mini vacation w/Johann
61.Take the kids to play in the snow

We did this last New Years with Johann's cousins when they visited from Uruguay. 
62.Get a massage

63.Take part/attend a community event

I coached Thea's Tiny Tots team
64.Attend a play
65.Attend an opera
66.Attend an orchestral or symphonic concert
67.go to a fair
68.Go apple picking
69.Do all the planning for a date w/Johann
70.Teach Henry how to prepare 2 different meals
71.Make a memory scrapbook/album for Thea
72.Visit Solvang

This past summer
73.Visit a mission
74.Go to the Provo Tabernacle Temple
75.Go to a water park
76.Do a swim class with Thea

This past summer a family Christmas ornament
78.Visit Hearst castle
79.Make a pie from scratch
80.Write/send a package to a missionary
81.Go to a baseball game and don't complain

I went to a Mavericks game in May of 2014
82.Do 50 crafts/activities with the kids from Pinterest
83.Attend the church service of another faith
84.Find something worthwhile at a garage sale or thrift store
85.Write a story for Thea and Henry
86.Get a picture of all the grand kids together

Done! Again, only because my mother-in-law did it.
87.Go through the entire yoga book
88.Read 50 books

 I have no idea, I doubt it though. Probably closer to 30 or so unless I could the novels I read with Henry, the potentially quite a bit higher. 
89.Organize file box
90.Do YW personal progress
91.Read a novel with Henry and 300 books with Thea

I know I read at least 10 novels with Henry and I may not have read 300 different books with Thea but I'm confident I read at least 300 book to her. 
92.Frame pictures for Johann's office
93.Organize master closet
94.Create a writing notebook/blog something
95.Make the car travel friendly
96.Have a picnic
97.get to know one of my neighbors
98.Ride a horse

For Johann's birthday, right before I found out I was pregnant with Leo. Aye aye. 
99.Read BoM along with Christ and the New Covenant
100.Memorize 50 scriptures

101.Invite 5 other families/couples over for dinner 

So 30/100. That's actually better than I thought. This is also why I'll probably be making about 10 goals per year again. It seems to be what I'm capable of doing! 

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Last Christmas

I have a lot of bittersweet feelings tonight. Since the age of 8, every Christmas Eve or Christmas Day has been spent in our current home. It's both exciting and somber to think this is probably the last year that will be the case.
Right now, while it's quiet, I can think about all the nights it was so still like this, and I, very slowly, anxiously, fell asleep waiting for the delights of Christmas.
This is the only place Henry or Dorothea, and Leo (to whatever extent he can) have felt that lovely bundle of nerves leading up to an exciting Christmas morning.
It's been a long, hard year. I've lived in and out of a terrible, soul numbing, joy stealing sadness that I've never experienced the extent of before. I often wish I had a re-do on the year, and on myself without it. I also find myself wishing I had more time to prepare for the warm ache of our last Christmas here. I know I can't have either of those things.
Instead, I've realized how important hope is. Tonight everyone sat together, and read the 'Journey To Bethlehem' in the The Friend magazine. It wasn't until we were almost finished that Leo had stopped screaming, and it seemed like either of the older two were listening. There was even quiet resistance from some adults. But we pushed on, and by the time we finished the stories, and began to sing some Christmas songs it felt like those days long gone where all I had to do was partake of the Christmas spirit, instead of fight for it, shape it, and share it, often with grudging recipients.
I mentioned to my mom afterwards how it reminded me of Elder Renlund's talk a few conference back-he said the Lord doesn't expect us to be without flaws, but he expects us to always keep trying. I suppose that's true of our worthwhile pursuits in life. I wanted to give up tonight, but I'm glad I kept trying. I've wanted to give up all year, and in many ways I have for good and ill.
As I thought more about the night and Christmases past, I remembered how as a child, I always thought Christmas was the last day of the year. It just made sense to me,frankly, it still does now- to leave the best day for last, and then begin again. As an adult I think it still feels that way, but there is a dose of grace in those days after Christmas until the new year; days to reflect on what was felt, and to remember the hope of the Savior's birth, and to try and find ways to manifest, and reinforce that hope through acting in faith during the coming year.
I'll miss this year, if only because it is the last Christmas in the place that's been home to me the longest. But I'll also be glad of the newness of the coming year in the hopes that I can remember what I've felt today, and know there is hope at the end of it all somewhere.
There is a Savior come. There is reason to keep on trying.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thea Bea is 3

I think I feel like Thea finally had a birthday where she didn't get gypped! Being the child with the last birthday in our series of May, June, July birthdays and in the middle of summer break has left her shorted the last two years. This year we really wanted to make sure she felt special.

That morning she woke up to the balloons and some presents on the counter. She was so surprised and kept saying, "It's MY birthday?"

She opened up some pjs and other clothes before we took her out to the place of her breakfast request-donuts, a girl after Johann's heart.

After donuts we took her to target to pick out bedding because she still only had her little crib comforter as her blanket for her big girl bed. She was cleverly adorable in the store saying things like, "It's my birthday? I get to get something on my birthday? I'm such a happy birthday girl," which of course meant she didn't leave with just bedding.

That night we had Red Robin for dinner then had cupcakes at the house and she opened the other presents she had.

One of the things she asked for for her birthday was to do another bed movie night where we move Henry's mattress into the tv room with their bedding so they can watch a movie in bed "like at a hotel," as she put it.

 The next morning she dragged her new bedding with her everywhere :-)

The big time event for her birthday came later when we rented a boat on Big Bear Lake and spent the late morning and early afternoon with grandpad, abuela, uncle Kaleb and Apollo out on the lake with snacks and hot chocolate per her request.

It was a lot colder than we though even though we tried to go prepared but the kids still had a lot of fun and still mention it to this day.

Once we finished it was still afternoon so we went to the nature center in Big Bear and let the kids run around before we headed down the mountain home.
 The kids would take turns playing on the giant xylophone and dancing on the stage.

The kids were nice and tired once we got home and we feel safe in saying Thea had a great third birthday. She asked almost daily for a month afterwards if it was her birthday again, followed by asking when would it be her birthday again and can she be the birthday girl. =)

We love our little miss Thea. She is starting some of the sass but she still loves to run up, squeeze you and plant a big kiss and an 'I love you' just when you need it during the day. She's the only girl with two brothers and soon to be three male cousins so it's good she knows her own mind and isn't as easily intimidated at Henry was at her age. I think her greatest dream would be to be on a permanent vacation, sleeping in hotels, eating breakfast in bed, going to fun attractions and having us all piled together. I'm so glad she's part of our family. <3 p="">

Thursday, October 8, 2015

!Leo is 1!

Four months later and I'm finally posting that Leo, did in fact, turn 1 this past June. 

Behold the cuteness and the end of babyness and the emergence into toddlerhood. 

The weekend of his birthday we had a little family party here at the house.

Henry had to get in on making a decoration or two.

Birthday boy with his presents and some blowup animals since any balloon he sees he tries to pop with his teeth.

We had some pizza before the party because it was Henry's end of the season party for soccer so once we got home we were able to get right to it.

My nephew Apollo being a ham/mad scientist.

Between Henry, Thea and Apollo's help, Leo made short work of getting through his presents and then it was time for cupcakes and happy birthday. I need to upload the video of us singing to him because he has such a confused, "I should be happy right?" look on his face the whole time. 

I'd say 1/4 ended up in his mouth, 1/2 on the floor and 1/4 all over his body.

A little bit about Leo since he's been 1. He started walking maybe two or three weeks before his first birthday but wasn't really super stable doing it until a little after. He says 'mama' 'dada' 'nah nah' for night night, bye, hi and his favorite is 'shoes' which sounds like 'sszzzzhhhhhooooosssss' but it's the word he says most consistently and distinctly.
It makes sense he loves to say shoes because he wants to be outside all the time. He also likes getting in the van to go pretty much anywhere, as long as it's before nightfall. He still gets upset about driving at night. Half the time he'll fall asleep, the other half he'll just scream and I have to sit back with him and sometimes nurse him.
Yup, he's still nursing. I have tried to night time ween him with no success, partially due to no diligence on my part. I tried to sleep train him to go down in his crib and sleep there and he screamed and gagged himself into throwing up four times, for two and a half hours. So he's still in our bed for half of the night/morning. Basically what I'm saying is he is the typical indulged youngest. I'm hoping once the kitchen remodel is done at the end of October I can work with him to get him sleeping the night in the crib so we can eventually move him out of our room.
He's gotten a lot better about screaming in the last month or so. It use to be every second he was unhappy or not getting what he wanted he screamed until I nursed him or he got what he wanted. Now he's more easily engaged in a toy or something else but we still have our days. He'll even go around the house and play with toys or look for something to get into.He's still a good little cuddler and has not slowed down on sprouting teeth. Henry had maybe 4 at his age. He likes eating, especially whatever we have, and eggs are probably his favorite. He also loves climbing on the table, sigh. He loves the chickens, Daniel Tiger, getting scared, scribble scrabbling and following his siblings around and occasionally harassing them. Kid definitely goes for what he wants, no matter who has it. Still loves mommy the most but he will actually stay with daddy or grammy if there is some distraction. He's finally coming into a little personality and it's mostly mischievous, silly and inquisitive. Should be interesting to see how the three very different personalities work together.

While I like to say "three broke me," and I mean, it did in a lot of lacking sanity ways, it has also humbled me and made me realize how special each individual is and how much I love each and every one of these kiddos for who they are. I'm so glad we have our little Leo lion in our family. It wouldn't be nearly as full of fun or love without him.

And lest I forget, Thea wore the birthday hat the rest of the party after Leo because whooooo's birthday was next but this little girl!

Friday, August 14, 2015

A New School Year

Summer was so much shorter than it's ever been for us. I still gotta work on posting all of that but I figure I should just start where I am.
I can't believe it's a new school year already. I especially can't believe it's a new school year because I'm in charge of it.

We have a new Educational Specialist through Sky Mountain this year since our former one started a new job at a different school. I wasn't thrilled to hear we'd have to start fresh with someone who didn't know us already but she seems nice and has been very helpful so far. She's also planning on coming to the house for meetings which will make things a lot easier for me with Thea and Leo. I'm hoping it'll be a good change overall.

It'll be interesting to see what our second year of homeschool brings and how the kids like it. I'll be able to do more actual teaching for both instead of scrambling and Henry will get to take piano lessons. Maybe at some point things will slow down and I'll get to process the first year!

Now what better way to rub in the advantages of homeschool than being able to begin your first day in your PJs with waffles. The kids loved helping stir and opening and closing the waffle iron.

Apparently there is now "Pre-school," "Pre-K," and then "Kindergarten." Yeesh. She loved feeling important today though too. Twas worth it.

Henry the second grader. Oh, Henry. Years go by so quickly.

Couldn't get Leo to stay up for a picture but this cracked me and the kids up so we named him our school's mascot.

While I didn't have a chance to get as much planning and organization done this summer as I hoped, I did at least get their new desks assembled. Hoping to keep everything centralized in the home school room instead of spread out everywhere, especially on the dinning room table.

I was so worried about getting back into the groove of schooling and sure there would be tons of problems or issues but it was incredibly smooth and I honestly felt more gratitude to God than anything else today. It reminded me why we decided to do homeschooling in the first place. I'm still not sure we'll do it forever but for now it's a blessing. Not one without challenges, but it definitely has it's rewards as well.

In addition to the first day of school, we had the first tiny tots practice for Thea. After having such on and mostly off luck with Henry's soccer coaches I decided I couldn't keep complaining if I wasn't going to do anything about it. Hence, I am now the coach of some of the cutest ever tiny tot soccer kids. Thea has been so excited talking about soccer and me coaching but then when she realized it was me coaching lots of the kids and not just her, she didn't exactly do well. She took off for Henry and wherever else *not* on the practice field. So, I'm going to have to think of how to help her out with all of that and still give attention to the rest of the kids. Wish me luck.
Henry was also a little grumpy because I had said he could help me and he didn't feel I was utilizing him to the best of his ability. In the car on the way over he asked, "So what exactly am I for the soccer team?" Thinking fast, "Uhm, you're the junior assistant!" "Is that even real? I feel like maybe you made it up." Caught. Don't worry about him though he's still sure he needs a shirt with his name and a bouncing soccer ball to do his made up job...

I love these kids. And while I never saw myself as the homeschooling, soccer coaching mom per-say, I'm grateful I can do these things for my kids. They really are the lights in life. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A day at Huntington Library

One of the Saturdays in May we signed Henry up for a class through the Huntington Library. The class was on greek myths and the teacher took them around the statues and told them stories from Perseus to Athena and gave a little information on architecture. Henry's favorite architectural term he learned was 'dentils,' "because they look like teeth!" 
Henry loved the class and had no problem engaging in the material and class despite being the youngest one there. I'm glad he loved it so much. 

 Sketching ideas for his own myth

Working on his own tympanum for his myth.

The myth he came up with was how we got water. There was a giant serpent that was taking over and fighting against Zeus. When Zeus finally killed him his blood fell in spots on the earth then spread across turning into streams and rivers because this serpent's blood was water. 
Explanation of a natural phenomenon-check
Really graphic-check
Greek myth-check! 

While Henry and Johann were at the class, I had Thea and Leo with me in the greenhouse and children's garden. It was a little cool and overcast which was actually perfect for the three of us and didn't keep either of them away from the fountains.

 The green bean teepee sending out 'smoke' 

We headed back towards Henry and Johann and stopped by the drop-in craft table where the kids (and some adults) were painting sticks.

Once we met up we worked our way over to the Japanese garden for a little then had to head back home for Johann to go with the new converts for a baptism trip to the temple. It was a good Saturday!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Henry turns 7

Last month we celebrated Henry's 7th birthday. Someone on facebook pointed out it should be impossible for me to have a 7 year old when we hadn't been out of high school 10 years yet. haha! Henry is the best surprise we've ever been blessed to have! 

Henry's birthday morning he woke up to a few decorations in the living room and some balloons in the hall. We had pancakes per his request then did a few normal school things. 

After lunch I took the kids to Barnes and Noble to get Henry his free cookie and let him pick out a birthday book.

That night when Johann came home we went out to dinner at Red Robin for Henry's birthday dinner.

Back at home Henry had some little helpers with opening his gifts from Grammy, Abuela and Grandpa and Uncle Aaron. Our gift to him was going to Knott's Berry Farm the following week.

Then cupcakes and "Happy Birthday!"

Henry is definitely our most sensitive kid. He reminds me of me when I was young except without having been trained by three brothers (ie crying will get you teased and make your life worse so DO NOT SHOW EMOTION). That night after cupcakes while he was getting into jammies he just started crying and saying, "I'm so grateful for my birthday and everybody who loves me! I'm just so happy!" And probably exhausted and coming off a sugar high (cookie, ice cream, cupcake...). Either way, I'm glad he is remembering to be thankful!

We love you, Henry Dean!