Friday, July 31, 2009

Here!

I'm present -just busy. We just got back from our four days in "The Cottages" at Algonkian Regional Park. It was a great few days. We swam and played and ran after kids and hollered and joked and played Phase 10 and hot tubbed. We ate total garbage pretty much 24/7. It was great chaos! Now we're on to the next family reunion (that was my family reunion, now we're going to my Mom's family reunion). We're all sleeping at my house now. Oh, except for my parents who chickened out and got a hotel. So that means there will only be 18 people staying at my house. It's all very crazy, but all very fun. Tomorrow we're kayaking on the Potomac, hitting some DC museums, swimming, and doing a family talent show. The two days after that are just as packed. I'll try to stick some pictures on here at some point. I really haven't been taking many pictures since my SIL has such a great camera and it makes mine look pathetic.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Handyman Daddy

I once bought my Dad a plaque with the phrase "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." I find my Daddy both handsome AND handy! He's been very busy in the last few days fixing all kinds of things around my house.

His original list included "re-caulk around kitchen faucet" but we upgraded that to "replace the kitchen faucet". Look at my shiny new, fancy faucet! (Pardon the dishes - there are a few extra people here, making messes hard to avoid)


His other big project was to extend the tile from the kitchen in front of the back door. The red dirt in the backyard was totally staining the carpet in front of the door because the carpet was too tall to put a rug there. So, wa-laa! Tile extended! I'm so happy, I'm giddy!
He also did wonderful little fixes here and there like making the backyard fence gate hang better, fixing the master bedroom door knob so that it actually latches, and some other things. What a great Daddy he is!
Tomorrow my mother arrives and Sunday my sister and fam arrive. Monday we're on to the cottages we're staying at. Wo-who!!!

Wild and Crazy Fun

What have we been up to? Playing outside, swimming, some bickering among the kids, games, Barbies, tag, watching movies, snacking, exploring parks, and many other forms of having fun!

Here are some beautiful pictures taken by my SIL Jessica. I love her photography skills and her camera. I kinda wish she could just follow me around through all my life taking these beautiful pictures.









And that's only in the first couple of not-even-the-official-reunion-yet. Imagine what fun we'll have in the coming week when everybody is here!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We love our iBert!

Well, the first of our 20 guests arrived last night. There are currently 5 adults and 6 kids living in my house. But it's going really well! We even managed to find each person a little space for a nap this afternoon (one kid in the laundry room and one in a hall!).

This evening Jessica took her 3 kids to play mini-golf so our little family had some time to ourselves. A couple of days ago I surprised Richard by buying him an "iBert". It's a great child-seat for a bike. It goes on the front of the bike instead of the back - which makes it easier for Richard to ride and balance, and more fun for the kid who has a great unimpeded view of the fun. It was a total hit! Both boys are small enough to fit in it (one at a time, I mean). Asher wouldn't try it until he saw Isaiah having fun, but as soon as he got in he enjoyed it even more than Isaiah. Asher loves speed.



Monday, July 20, 2009

...Unfortunately...

I hired the babysitter to come today so that I could go to Naomi's ballet class and actually watch the entire thing instead of chase after the boys. I had a lovely time. Unfortunately, Asher really likes being chased after at ballet and threw a huge fit about being left out.

My to-do list has a million things crossed off! Unfortunately, every time I go to look at it and cross things off, I also add a couple of things.

I washed the bathroom rugs today. Unfortunately, one of them started unraveling itself to bits and left blue strings all over my washing machine while self-destructing.

I hung the other rugs on the front porch railing to dry on this beautiful day. Unfortunately, within minutes of doing that, the kids came in from the backyard saying "It's raining!"

I bought some yummy, gourmet taffy like a month ago to save for when my family is here. Unfortunately, it was too tempting and I already started eating it.

But it's all OK. I'm having fun cleaning these bits of my house that I usually just walk past and ignore. And my house is so clean! And tomorrow my guests start arriving! Ruthie, my Dad, Jessica and her three kids are the first installment. I can't wait!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Family ASL for Isaiah

We're still working on getting Isaiah to speak and on getting him into speech therapy. In the meantime, I am embracing sign language as an option. Poor, sad, Isaiah spends so much of his time crying because he is frustrated that I don't understand him. And that's just wrong for such a cute, sweet little boy to be so frustrated so much! Giving him a way to communicate seems like the nice thing to do. Fortunately, I picked up a little ASL on my mission. I served with "signing sisters" for at least 6 months, including a deaf sister. I never really sat down and studied ASL, so I must say that I, in no way, "speak sign language". I just know a few signs. But as I went to a website to refresh my memory, it was coming back pretty quickly. I've been using this website for a refresher.

The older kids think sign language is a blast and have been signing to me plenty. Isaiah, however, seem resistant. I'm not sure why. We started with the sign for "milk" since that is his most frequent request through the day. Then I taught him "water" so that I could ask him which he would prefer (it's always milk that he chooses, but choices are important to little guys like him). We've learned a few others just for fun, like family, brother, sister, apple, please, thank you, more, etc.

What I really need to do next is look up signs for other things Isaiah frequently requests - fruit snacks, granola bars, to be picked up, to go outside, etc.

What I'd really like is for him to start speaking.

****Update: Shortly after posting this Isaiah signed "more milk please" to me! Triumph!****

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Emily and The Trip to the Zoo

This past week, Emily (a niece on Richard's side of the family) was visiting our nation's Capitol. And it just so happens that we live in the same area! So, lucky us, we got to visit with sweet Emily. She came to our house for dinner on Sunday and then yesterday the kids and I got to go to the National Zoo with her and Grandma Worth. Naomi was a big fan of Emily from the start because Emily would answer all her (many) questions. They sat in the backseat together for the entire hour long drive to the zoo, quizzing each other and chatting like scholars. The zoo was great - although I wonder how it's possible that we walked in circles but it was still always uphill! That place is a scientific wonder!

Here is Richard, Kevin and Emily playing a game on Sunday night after dinner.

The Zoo!

Everybody loves Grandma Worth!

Here's Emily. Asher and Naomi always wanted to walk next to her.
I brought a bottle of Gatorade because I thought I might get tired and need a little pick-me-up. And I did. I was so glad I had brought it. That is until Isaiah saw the bottle and demanded control of it. He drank about half the bottle. Which may explain why everyone in the car fell asleep on the way home except for Isaiah. Can you say sugar high?


It was a fun trip and we are so glad we got to see Emily. She is such a sweet young woman, and we just don't see enough of her!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Asher Rows A Boat -or- Asher Starts Potty Training

Sure, I could be doing one of the bazillion things on my to-do list in preparation for 20 people staying at my house for two weeks. But instead I started potty-training. Makes perfect sense, right? Actually, it does make sense because Asher sat on that toilet for a good 20 minutes while I folded laundry. And he even had some success! His big motivation was when I told him that it would make a cool sound when he peed. He did it within two minutes of me telling him that.

video

I guess that's all I should tell you since clearly the boy values his privacy.

He's still in diapers until I can do this on any kind of schedule. But I figure if the boy wants to sit on the toilet (keeping him occupied and out of trouble for 20 minutes), that's fine with me!

After all, "Bap is but a dream!"

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Squirrels Collecting Nuts

(see video)
video

The kids and I had a fun trip out to Great Falls Park today. Great Falls Park is famous for it's waterfalls, but what my kids love about it is the rocks to climb on. It was a little hotter than we planned so we didn't stay long. The highlight for the kids was when they found a shady place with these nut-like things all over the ground. They decided they needed to "help the squirrels collect the nuts" so they started gathering them into a pile. All three kids ran around in circles for like 20 minutes collecting nuts.

My sister, Angela, calls her smaller children "squirrels" because they are always running around in circles, busy busy busy, making piles and feeling urgent about everything. That's exactly how my kids were today. They definitely were the squirrels.

Here's Asher with a lovely collection of rocks.


I love this picture of Isaiah because he looks like some dessert creature climbing out from between two rocks ready to do something mischievous.

Asher and Naomi climbed up these rocks all by themselves!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mantle Mania

I guess I've been busy or something... it's been 5 days since I blogged! My apologies. We're rearranging/cleaning the basement, cleaning out closets, cleaning nooks and crannies that we usually ignore, evicting spiders from their long-lived webs in corners, etc. We're getting ready for our house to be home-base for a two week family reunion (I hesitate to call it a "reunion" since not everybody will be there, but I don't know what else to call it). Anyway, all's I'm sayin' is, that's why I've been busy.
My latest obsession is my mantle. Ever since I got the new couch I haven't been happy with the mantle. Our beta fish used to take up a chunk of it, but he recently passed away. Since I wasn't really loving the arrangement anyway, it became a place to stick stuff out of reach of the kids. So I've been on the hunt for blue accent pieces to pull it all together. The other day I decided to do a "shopping in your own house" trip. You know what I mean? Where you go look all over your house for something to fill a void - like, say, the mantle. I found a great big metal star that I really want to hang on the front porch, but it hasn't been hung as of yet (something about needing a special kind of nail to go into siding) so it's just been sitting in the garage for more than a year now. Then I drew a blank. No blue to be found.
So today I had my babysitter coming over and I thought I'd check out a nearby antique store that I've passed several times. No luck there. But I did have a lovely stroll through it and the farmer's market right next to it followed by a leisurely lunch at Panera (Mmmmm!). Then I tried Home Goods. Do you guys have this store where you all are? It's fabulous! There I found a metal pitcher filled with blue flowers.
*sigh* This is totally too much detail, huh? Do you care at all? No? Ok. Enough words. Here's the before and after pics.
Before: Messy and chaotic

After: Better but still not great

What do you think? The crud over on the left is the sunscreen, bug spray and baby powder that we keep next to the back door for quick access in the back yard. I wish it wasn't there, but it really needs to be for the next couple of months. In the middle is two little birds with some cute little flowers behind them. I think the flowers need to go now that I've got the blue flowers, but it looked too bare without them. On the far right is the tissue box. Also, don't love it being there, but it's practical.

Blah. I'm officially tired of this mantle. I just can't seem to make it right. Help!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4th of July 09

We started the celebrating on Friday night actually when we took the kids to see "Up". We hadn't tried taking them all to a movie theatre in about a year, and it worked a lot better than it did a year ago. We all enjoyed it.

Saturday we went to "our parade" in the morning then Richard took the big kids to Chuck-E-Cheese while I grocery shopped with Poochy. After naptime (which was late and longer than usual because of our fireworks plans) the kids watched Muppets In Space. We had our American meal of hot dogs, chips, and soda for dinner with Patriotic drinks for dessert. Then it was off to the carnival and fireworks. The day was a blast. Fun piled on top of fun. We've never taken the kids to fireworks before because it's so late, but they did great and really enjoyed them. Isaiah especially was so tired, but he still watched with rapt attention. It was a perfect holiday!

Check out Isaiah's hands in the photo below. He had his flag and sucker carefully balanced in one hand and his water in the other. He maintained this balance for a good ten minutes. Alternating between sucker-sucking, water-drinking, and flag-waving.

Naomi's favorite part is always the "fancy ladies".

Our Patriotic drinks:

Carnival rides!

Waiting for the fireworks to start:

Girl's Camp

On Thursday afternoon I turned the kids over to "Alex The Babysitter" and took off for the hills. When I left in the van, with no kids, carseats, or strollers it was a truly euphoric experience. I was seriously giddy. Who cares if you have to sleep on the ground if it means a break from Mommyhood. It had been a long week with Richard working so much and I was seriously in need of a break.

I got to camp in time for their skits, then it was quiet time which I used to catch up on the camp gossip with the other leaders. Two of our girls had already gone home with raging fevers thanks to Strep Throat that they were passing around. Another girl went home that night. Then we had a scrumptious dinner of home-fried french fries (with burgers and dogs on the side). That evening was the big testimony meeting and an incredibly well-planned spiritual "challenge" that had me in tears several times. We didn't get back to our camp-ground until after 11pm and didn't make it near a bed until closer to 12. I decided on sleeping in the back of the van (rather than setting up a new tent for just one night) which was great except that it was on a slight slant so I had to wedge my feet under the seats to keep from sliding forward. The next day flew by with goodbyes and cleaning up the camp and by noon I was back in the van on my way home with six tired, stinky, silly, punch-drunk girls.

I'm so glad I got to go. The girl's seemed glad to see me - which makes me happy. Girl's Camp was always such a special experience for me, so I'm glad I got to be a part of their experience. The leaders who were there the entire week kept saying how wonderful it was for me to come up and I kept replying that it wasn't as wonderful as staying up there the whole time like they had! Next year I'd really like to be able to go the entire time. I missed out on so much!

...Remind me of that next year, OK?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Planning the 4th

I've been thinking about our 4th of July plans today since I'll basically be gone until then at Girl's Camp. We're going to our usual parade and taking the kids to fireworks for the first time. But one other thing I know I want to try is these drinks from Chocolate on My Cranium. They just look like fun!

Therapy

I'm having a problem with motivation today. I should really be cleaning and organizing the house in preparation for tomorrow. But instead I'm sitting here on the computer wasting time.

Tomorrow I'm going to Girl's Camp. Just for 24 hours or so, but still, Mommy being away for any amount of time takes some planning. I leave tomorrow at 1pm. The babysitter, Alex, will have the kids all afternoon. She usually just is here for 2 hours in the morning. So I really need to write up some instructions and such. And Richard isn't sure when he'll be able to get off work (he's finishing up a big project) so Alex may even have to feed the kids and put them to bed. There is still a pile of stuff in the living room leftover from our garage sale this past weekend (anybody want a personal gym or DVD burner?). The dining room table is scattered with the stuff leftover from my project of decorating 20 hats for the girls at Girl's Camp. The dishes are a bit piled up. The last load of laundry should be folded. And a million other things too, really.

...This was very therapeutic. After looking over my pathetic list of things to do I have decided that I should just stop complaining and do it! I want to go to Girl's Camp - it was my choice, I don't have to go. And I want to be able to enjoy my time away from home. If I don't get this place cleaned up, I'll dread coming back to it. So, off I go. ... But I'm taking the kids out to dinner later. That's my compromise.

Thanks for your help!