Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Just Real Quick.

For awhile, I was doing really well at posting every Sunday.

And then it got bumped to Monday. And for awhile I was good at posting every Monday.

Today is Tuesday, and I'm just going to type as fast as I can for 20 minutes and then hit the "publish" button.

This last week was the first full week of school we've had in about a billion years.

On Monday, I picked up this dog from school.

There were several kids getting picked up by parents at that time, and Gwen was the only kindergartner proud enough to wear her dog hat they made that day. 

In October, I like to take the kids on lots of long walks to see everyone's Halloween decorations. Unfortunately, I've been recuperating from a hip injury since I delivered Beck months ago, so we had to do our Halloween tour in the car this time.

You may recall that Gwen gets a kinda spooky delight from touching the witch the neighbors down the street put up, and this year was no exception.

This week was also Spirit Week. You can see in the above photo that Gwen was wearing pink for breast cancer awareness. On Friday, the girls had Pajama Day, and Harris joined in on the fun.

But since he kept his pajamas on in the morning, I forgot to change his diaper from the night before, and it was falling down his leg as we went shopping. Pretty gross. He also insisted on pushing the cart with the baby aboard. Pretty frightening. Anytime I would lightly place my hand on the cart to gently steer it away from huge displays of canned goods or toilet paper, Harris would screammmmmmm.

The Halloween traditions at home continue. I made our ghostly toilet paper.

And made the kids their jack-o-lantern quesadillas.

Friday night, two of my friends showed up at my door insisting that they watch the kids while Dan and I went on a date. One was a friend from out of town, and I was so touched she would think of me. So Dan and I went out for sushi.

We didn't realize we were ordering as much as we did, and the server kept coming by our table and reminding us not to waste anything. I almost passed out.

And then I went home, and my friends and I went out for ice cream. So fun! I haven't gone out in a really long time.

June's physical therapist at school asked if she could be a part of a demonstration that was happening for a continuing education class on Saturday. 

I took her, and there was a large room of physical therapists waiting for us. I have never seen June's PT session in action so I was eager to see. And also intrigued as to what June would say in front of this group. She LOVES an audience.

Well, she really hammed it up and talked on and on about how she wishes her hands had mouths so that they could talk directly to her brain.

She also waited for a perfectly quiet and still moment in the classroom and then loudly whispered, "I'm really smart."

June also decided to show everyone some stretches she made up on the spot.

They gave her chocolate at the end, and she exclaimed, "I DESERVE THIS!"

That night, we had our ward Trunk or Treat. Much to my chagrin, we did a family theme this year. That always seems like SO MUCH to me, and I'd rather everyone just do their own thing. But everyone insisted, and I lost like I always do.

We went with a Peter Pan theme.

Gwen was (s)Tinkerbell.


June was Wendy. I have to admit, I wanted Gwen to be Wendy. So I could call her Gwendy. I love nerdy word things like that. Oh well. Mom loses AGAIN.

 Beck was a lost boy, aka a bear.

I was Captain Hook, but really just a generic pirate because we already had the costume.

Dan was the Tick-Tock the Crocodile, and he was really excited about this because he went to UF and has great use for a gator costume at any moment.

Harris was Peter Pan and a real stinker about it too. He did NOT want to wear his costume, and he was the star of the whole darn show. Oh well. We did get a couple of photos anyway.

We did some quick treat collecting, and then it started to rain and I couldn't help but wonder why we spent all of this money on costumes to get rained on. Oh well.

And I managed to get second place in the costume contest. Mom finally WINS.

And last but not least, we had the primary program Sunday. I'm the primary pianist, and I love it. But I cry through the program every year, and it's very hard to see my music. Our primary president had the inspiration to have the kids mostly write their own parts this year, and it was amazing. I felt the Spirit testify to me that the simple truths of which the kids testified are what I need to be focusing on more in my own life.

June's part: Jesus is the Good Shepherd and taught that we can gain a testimony of the truths shared as we live them. I have a testimony that Jesus died but he came back alive again.

Gwen's part: I am thankful for everything Jesus created under the direction of Heavenly Father. My favorite thing He created is ME!

The End.

Monday, October 21, 2019

In West Philadelphia Born and Raised.

I don't know if you've noticed, but we get a lot of days off in September and October. This past Monday we had off for Columbus Day. It was primo weather, and we went to the "Castle Park" that is a whole 18 minutes away so we reserve it for special occasions.

There were a gabillion kids there, but fun was had by all.

What happened the rest of the days this past week? School days are always a blur for me. Wake up, read scriptures, get kids up, make breakfast, clothes, teeth, hair times 5, piano practicing times 2, drop girls off at school, take boys to gym and errands, lunch, pick up girls, homework times two, prep mediocre dinner that no one likes, laundry, laundry, laundry, pack lunches, baths, read books and scriptures, bed. It's all good stuff but I feel like it's all I can do to get through that and taking a picture of it would just mess up the semi-established routine I've got going.

But Saturday, we did not follow our normal routine. We went to the Philadelphia Temple.

It was SO busy. Our usual temple, Manhattan, is closed for minor renovations but will be up and running again in November. The Washington D.C. temple is closed for major renovations and will not be open for another year. So Philly was BIZZY. Dan didn't make it into the session we were planning on, so to fill up the extra time we went to breakfast.

On the walk to breakfast, Dan ended up hauling three of the four kids.

As I was taking this picture, I said, "Say CHEESE!" to the group, and out of nowhere this college-aged boy came running at me screaming "CHEESE!!!". He kept getting closer and closer until finally he was hugging me, and I was yelling "NO HUGS! NO HUGS!" And he said, "Oh sorry!" and ran away.

Dan just stood there and watched because he thought I knew the guy or something. Haha.

Somehow we were seated in a room all to ourselves. So shocking when that happens.

We made it back for Dan's session, and the kids and I waited in the annex. There were lots of other kids there, and my kids commandeered someone's LEGOs and were entertained for a very long time.

After Dan came back, we all went onto the roof of the annex and walked around. Another beautiful day, but each beautiful fall day has this sense of foreboding for me. Winter is coming. Dark, cavelike winter. I'm supes excited.

Gwen is wearing the new jeans I bought for June but that seemed a tad short on her. So I told Gwen to wear them, and it was a full day of her pulling up her pants. Many times she ran with other kids from other families up on the roof, and I would see her running with her jeans down around her ankles. She loved it. She thought it was hilarious. I kept yelling, "GWEN PULL YOUR PANTS BACK UP!" which is what every mother dreams of yelling at the temple.

And then we took the kids to see some Philly sites. We went to the Liberty Bell. This might be the most artistic shot I've ever taken.

A young child grappling with the meaning of liberty in her life and the freedoms she has been given. Not the liberty to pull down on the rope in front of the Liberty Bell, which is what she was really trying to do here. Nor the freedom to run around without pants on. So she struggles to know--What CAN I do?

And then we got ice cream. Dan is going to love that I posted this shot.

And of course church on Sunday.

I'm grateful that's an "of course" for us. I'm grateful for the Church.

For my Come Follow Me lesson at our Family Home Evening, we discussed Paul's use of the words "grounded" and "rooted" in his epistle to the Colossians. We painted trees. This makes it seem like I really go above and beyond for my lessons. I do not. I actually felt less prepared than I normally do this week. But I felt like it was one of those weeks where I came up short and the Lord made up for the rest (kinda like everytime). Maybe I was being blessed because of our temple trip. Maybe I was being blessed because the Lord loves my kids and wants them to learn even when their mom isn't quite up to snuff. I really feel He is helping me so much.

So when I was pulling stuff together last minute and I spied these unused canvases I bought for a project this summer, I knew I could use them for this lesson.

I also spied an article in the Friend magazine that I threw in there at the last minute. My girls struggle with using the Lord's name in vain. This is not something I have ever struggled with, and I don't know how to emphasize to them that it actually is really important. They hear it everywhere they go, and I think that since I also get after them for calling someone "stupid" or other words like that, they group it together with those types of words--words Mom doesn't like, but we kinda all say anyway.

We had had a big discussion about it earlier this very week, and it still wasn't hitting home. And then right before this lesson, I eyed an article about it in the Friend, and we read it together. It went along well with being firmly rooted in the Christ. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have done so much for us, and we would never want to use their names in a bad way.

I know I keep going on and on about it, but I'm grateful for the Church and its support of my teaching my kids!

And last, some pics of the bigger kids feeding the baby. I caught all three of them doing it at different times.

Does that baby look concerned to anyone else?

And another favorite dress passed down from Cousin Blythe to June to Gwen. Love.

The End.

Monday, October 14, 2019

No TV.

We made it. Last week, the girls were grounded from TV for the whole week, and we made it.

And it wasn't even bad. We got into our groove, and they were fine.

Which isn't to say that we are now done with TV. I would love to be that person. "We discovered how meaningful our lives were without TV, and so we all happily gave it up. All it took was that one week grounding."

Nope. I mean, they are watching TV right now, as I type this. It's the first they have watched since The Grounding, but they look like they are in heaven.

They are watching something dumb too. I'm pretty sure I could put gray static on, and they would curl up in their blankets and watch it until bedtime.

This past week was also Character Education Week at school. So the kids had to wear certain colors certain days, and the whole school made tie dye shirts. You know, in the name of character. They eradicated bullying through that tie dying group project.

The only real character development that happened last week was my own. Did I mention my kids were grounded from TV?

June's grade had to wear orange, hence the random swan skirt with her tie dye shirt and black pants. I used to buy t shirts when we didn't have the right color for something. Not no' mo'. We can get creative and deal with it.

Luckily Gwen's grade was assigned purple, which she also used to for her tie dye. So what I'm telling you is that there was really no reason for the rest of her outfit to be the way it was. But it was.

This week was also a bunch of random firsts, so here goes.

The girls went to their first LEGO club meeting at the library, while the boys and I hung out nearby. But not too nearby. The librarian told me I didn't have to sit in the meeting unless I wanted to. And so I hightailed it outta there before she even finished her sentence. I love not squeezing my stroller into a tiny classroom, and I love not hovering. I want to look at the books and do whatever I want.

And so the boys and I hung out in the children's section while we waited. This is seconds before Harris slid a flat block underneath the door of the emergency exit, where it will never be found again.

And also this week, Beck had his first solids.

He looks grossed out, but he gobbled them up better than any of our other kids ever have. Start earlier rather than later. Glad I have learned that now that we are at the caboose end of our kids.

And I started teaching the girls piano lessons, something I promised myself I would never do. But they have been begging me, there aren't a lot of teacher options near me, and I am kinda particular about it. So I'm at least starting them off and saving myself some money until we can find a better arrangement.

And Gwen rode her bike all of the way to the park and back, while Dan pulled June and Harris, and I pushed Beck in a stroller. We were quite the caravan.

When someone was outside working in their yard, Gwen would speed up as fast as she could go and then break to a screeching halt so that they would look at her. Then she would smile and speed off.

She likes a little attention now and then.

And Gwen "made" the parmesan rolls for Sunday all by herself. She rolled the frozen dinner rolls in melted butter, then parmesan and lined them up on the sheet pans.

And some Not Firsts.

Harris got another haircut because we had family photos on Saturday. He gets his hair cut A LOT. But he's so good for it, and I love him. He's pretty crazy for a lot of things, but he's great for a hair cut.

And Sunday photos:

And some Isms. Juneisms, Gwenisms. Things my kids say that are just ridiculous.

Gwen regularly uses the word "human" when she really means "person". For example:

"Mom, I played with the same human at recess today."

"Mom, I hurt a human with my backpack today." (The sparkles on it are scratchy, and if she gets too close to someone, they feel the wrath.

Also, Dan recently brought her a plate with The Works--a hot dog, chips, fries, everything yummy. She looked at the plate and said (with disdain), "Um, I didn't order this."

Yesterday morning, June charged into my room while screaming, "MOOOOOOOOOM!! AHHHHHHHHHHH! WE HAVE TOO MUCH BAKING SODA!" She found two in the cupboard and was quite concerned.

Also, I asked "Who would like their list of jobs for the day?" To which June responded, SO politely, "No thank you," and walked to her room and closed the door.

The End.