Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just for memories' sake--Messy Mason

I came home from a meeting shortly after the kids returned from school and found this:

What a mess!!! Where did all these papers come from? "My backpack" was Mason's reply. Wow-I didn't know he could fit that many binderes, papers, lunchbox, text books, pencil pouches. . . in that backpack. I had no idea!

I'm not sure what finally motivated Mason to organize his backpack and clean out all that clutter. . . but I'm grateful nonetheless. Hopefully that motivation will spread through the rest of his life.

We all got a good laugh at "Messy Mason". -Just love 10-year-old boys!

Have your cake, and eat it too!

I'm not sure where she got the sucker, but she was in HEAVEN with both pacifier and sucker in her mouth. We all got a good laugh!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Halloween 2011!

I'm pretty sure I've eaten more junk from my kids' loot these past few days than I have this whole year. I finally organized the big bowl of candy into different "flavors", put each into ziplock bags, and hid it HIGH in my closet. Out of sight, out of mind. . . (wish that worked--it's still quite tempting!). Hopefully Santa will remember to use it for stockings.

The kids came home from school, asking where all the candy was. I told them that the Candy Fairy took it. EmmaClaire and Andersen continued asking, "who's the candy fairy?" After not getting much of an answer from me, Abby told them that Dad was the Candy Fairy. So, all the kids think that Dad ate all their Halloween candy. Hey, works for all intensive purposes. (And chances are, John will end up eating all the candy before Christmas anyway.)

I love that we didn't spend a dime on costumes this year. I told the kids to be creative, and they came up with stuff on their own or used costumes we already had. Taylor's patches are taped on, and his suspenders are hair ribbons tied to his belt loops.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fall Break

We are just returning to school from almost 3 weeks of Fall Break. Here's the highlights that I don't want to forget:

Friday EARLY morning, we loaded the kids in the car and drove the 10.5 hours to Utah just in time for the BYU football game. The boys went with John, Grandpa, and a few uncles. I hung out with Shawnne and my mom and watched the younger kids.

Saturday EARLY morning-we left for SLC where we attended General Conference. My brother watched our three youngest, and we took the three oldest into the conference center. Taylor loved going to Priesthood session.

Sunday- we watched GC with my Bennion grandparents, then had a great visit that evening with lots of extended cousins that I hadn't seen for a while. It was good to catch up.

Monday-John flew home for work. I took the kids with my parents and a few siblings to Provo Canyon for most of the day. Loved seeing the Fall colors. Taylor and Mason enjoyed a tour of BYU's football facilities where James works with the team as an assistant trainer. They came home with BYU hats and couldn't be happier.

Tuesday-spent the day with Grandma and Grandpa Bennion, both into their 80's. Grandpa spent a lot of time helping the oldest kids make leather crafts, and he spent more time making bows and arrows out of metal hangers for Andersen. Grandma taught the kids how to play Chinese checkers and a few other games. Fun, memorable day.

Wednesday-drove to SLC and spent the day with my parents at Pioneer Village and other church museums. Cold and rainy, but still fun to be together. During the day, Andersen started doing the potty dance and my mom asked if he needed to "go number one or number two". His response cracked us all up. "I need to go a THOUSAND!!!" Enjoyed dinner at Denny's with both of my parents.

Thursday-headed to Alpine with all the kids and spent the afternoon and into the late evening with a favorite friend and college roommate. The kids had a great time playing with her kids, and I could have visited with Nicki forever. Wish we were neighbors!

Friday-spent the day with my Aunt Marcia and her kids, who happen to line up in age with a lot of mine. She and her family provide great role models of how we want our family to turn out. (Theya re about 10 years ahead of us in the parenting aspect). So every time I'm around Aunt Marcia, I ask lots of questions and observe how she does things as a mother. Very impressive! John flew back to SLC, just in time to drive us all home . . .

Saturday- long drive back home to make the 6pm soccer game for Taylor and Mason. Barely made it! Lots of laundry and unpacking.

Sunday-more laundry, church, and repacking for another full week at the cabin. We left a few hours after church.

We spent the following Monday-Saturday at the cabin with most all of John's siblings, their families, and parents. A few activities we did were: hiking, exercising, lots of visiting, work projects, horse riding, tractor riding, fishing, minute-to-win-it games, compass challenge, family feud, campfire sings, smores, board games, more hiking, mountain biking, eating, and more visiting.

It was a blast. One thing I pride myself in is that I married into an AMAZING, super fun, hard working, talented, and rock-solid family. Love those LeSueurs, and proud to carry the name.

Here's a few pictures of our second week:

Mason was insistant on catching AND cooking a crawdad. He ate it and said "tastes like chicken".

Kate enjoyed the freedom of walking and doing things by herself this time around. And needless to say, I enjoyed it too.

I thought this was a cute shot of Abby. She doesn't have very many girl LeSueur cousins but enjoyed herself nonetheless. Thank goodness for Kinsey, who's just a few years older.

Notice the PINK cowboy boots. I think she was more excited to just wear the boots than she was to ride the horse. She had a hard time giving them up when it was time to take the boots off. And my mind was yelling, "christmas present. . . consider it done!"

Andersen spent some time riding with Papa on his tractor. I couldn't tell who enjoyed it more-the little boys or Papa.

Taylor, giving thumbs up while playing minute-to-win-it games with cousins.
Andersen continued finding more and more sticks. But if I dared call it a "stick", he would get after me. "Mom, I've already told you. . .it's not a stick. It's a gun". This particular "gun" became very handy when he was riding horses because he could shoot all the 'elks' and 'badguys'.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

He's 12!

Hard to believe, but our miracle baby turned twelve years old last week. The week prior to his birthday, we had a lot of great visits about changes that are going on/physical development , the priesthood, and being a good example and leader in our home.

Watching his "try to hide it but I can't" smile while he passed the sacrament for the first time last Sunday put a great big lump in my throat. He's such a good boy and has always had a strong inner desire to please and to choose the right.

And a few weeks ago while swimming with the kids, I noticed armpit hair. Only four hairs, but they were long. What in the world?!? I pointed them out, and Taylor couldn't have been more proud. He's always wanted to grow up and to be treated as a grown-up. Since then, I've heard him tell his younger siblings that he's a real man now because he has armpit hair. Funny.

What he wanted most for his birthday was to ride horses in St. David with Mima and Papa, which he got to do. He also invited over a few friends and cousins for a swim/dinner/night games party. Then a few days after his birthday, the youth in our ward got to go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead. I think it was a wonderful experience for him, as he has asked numerous times since when he can go back.

He also got to attend Teen Elect, a youth activity in our church that gives the kids opportunity to practice social interaction with the opposite gender, manners, and dancing. He was SUPER nervous and didn't want to go at all. The whole week, he kept bringing it up and saying how he didn't need to go. John drove him and a few other boys to the activity, and encouraged them on the way to dance with girls even if they didn't want to. He said, "Taylor, you have to dance with a few girls. You don't have to like it, but you have to do it". One of the boys in the car said, "Bro. LeSueur, you're making me really nervous" to which Taylor responded, "guys, I've been nervous for a whole week just thinking about it." John had a good laugh about that one.

He ended up having a great time and has been using a napkin and cutting all his food with a knife and fork ever since.

Happy Birthday Taylor!

Friday, August 5, 2011

My Buddy

Yesterday morning I drove the four oldest to school. As they got out of the car, we all said our "love you's" and "have a great day" and "don't forget to smile" and "eat all your vegetables at lunch before eating your treat" . . .and the list goes on. The kids jumped out, waved goodbye, and I started to drive out of the carpool lane.

I looked in my rearview mirror and saw Andersen, the only one left in the car, with a lonely look on his face. To cheer him up, I started singing a song about how Andersen is my buddy--one of those made-up songs that just come out. Then I said, "Hey Buddy, what do you want to do with me today?"

The response I got wasn't what I expected. He said, "Mom, . . . . (pause), I want a buddy . . .. (more pause). . .that's. . . . NOT you."

Ouch! What? My little three year old doesn't think I'm his best friend?

Then he went on to say, "I want a buddy that's little like me, I want a buddy that is my same age. I want Davie to be my buddy." (Davie is a super fun cousin that's his same age, same size, and great friend).

So we came home and called David to play. Too bad he was out of town.

Thank goodness, Andersen didn't mention it again that day. And I tried hard to redeem myself. We played Old Maid, Memory, the matching game, we read books, we went swimming, snuggled, and worked together. All in all, I think he was satisfied with me being his Buddy.

But really, there's nothing cuter than watching him and his buddy, Davie, playing together. They are true Buddies!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First Day of School

It has come all too soon. EmmaClaire could hardly let herself fall asleep the night before that first day. And she was the first one to wake me up, much eariler than she needed to wake up. She gently touched my arm, I opened my eyes in bed and saw her fully dressed, hair done (to a 5 year old's perfection-beautiful!), shoes on, backpack on, and lunch box in hand. She whispered, "mom, it's time!"

Time to go to kindergarten. Something she's been waiting for and thinking about for a long time. And now she finally gets to be with the big kids and do big things.

After she came home that first day, I asked her how it was. "Boring" was her first comment, but I could tell by her smile that she absolutely LOVED going to school. And she was proud of herself for making a new friend already.

Mason loved being able to switch teachers half way through the day. He said it felt like going to jr. high. Abby said everything was good except that a few of her favorite friends were in another class. Good opportunity to make new friends this year.

Taylor had a bad first day. He forgot his lunch on the bus and lost it. Because of the new bus route, he got home much later than he did last year and ended up sitting on the bus for almost 45 minutes. Way too long for a 6th grader. He decided that on his way to school, he would use that time to read the scriptures. On his way home, he would use that time to get his homework done. Good plan!

Cheers to a new school year!

Summer Fun 2011

Here's a few things my kids did this past summer that I don't want to forget!

Lots of beauty parlor with cousins. It didn't matter where we were or what we were doing. If there were girl cousins around, they wanted to fix each others hair.

A new game my boys made up. . . out of sheer boredom. They set up about 75 paper cups, then stood on the opposite side of the kitchen island and went for it. Ready, aim, FIRE! Rubberbands are a boys best friend.

One afternoon after chores were finished, Mason decided he wanted to have a "snow cone" stand. Being well over 100 degrees outside, I talked him out of it. But every day after that, the subject came up again and again. . .so I finally said, "go for it. You set it all up, and you clean it all up." The first time he attempted (without any shade, without any signs), he made a few dollars. But that was enough to motivate him to do it again. The second time, he set up shade tarps (notice that the kids aren't exactly hitting the shade-ha), he made a big sign, and he made some cookies and homemade Popsicles to sell alongside the snow cones. Since no one was out-it being SOOOO hot, he sent the girls door to door to publicise. He ended up pocketing about $12 this time. That's BIG money for a 10 year old. And more than that, it gave him the opportunity to work and think about how to make more money. We had some good talks after that first encounter, and he came up with some good solutions on how to improve and make his business better. Mason is becomming quite the entrepanewer. All those games of monolopy are finally paying off!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer Awards Program

Tonight we had our annual "Summer Awards Program" for family home evening. It's something I grew up with and am passing on the tradition. Right before school starts, John and I congratulate each of the children for their accomplishments and talents during the past summer, then present them with a few gifts and items needed for the following school year. It ends up being somewhat of a 'Christmas in July', and the kids look forward to it year after year.

So tonight, after handing out all the loot and watching the kids organize, then reorganize it in their binders and pencil boxes, we sent them up to bed and told them to put all their things in their backpacks for safe keeping.

A few minutes later, Mason came down stairs with two Tupperware containers in hand that he had found in his backpack. . . . . from a school lunch. . . . . . 8 weeks ago. Totally GROSS! Lids were still in tact, and we could see hair growing all over inside. We laughed, then I told him he needed to wash them out since he was the one responsible. He went outside, turned on the hose, plugged his nose, opened the lid, and started spraying. I watched from the window, totally cracking up.

Then he came back inside and said, "Mom, those things need to go in the trash. . . I'll pay for a new one". Then he returned to the backyard and, with nose plugged and rubber gloves, he disposed of the Tupperware into the dumpster.

The funny thing is, that's such a "Mason" thing to do. As disgusting as it was, I wasn't the least bit surprised.

And hopefully he'll be a little more diligent at cleaning out his lunch box (on a daily basis, not a bi-monthly basis) this coming school year.

Gotta love that 10-year-old boy.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Sweek Cakes!

Kate turned one this past month. Wow, hard to believe time has flown by so quickly. I took her into her well-child check. She weighs in at the 85th percentile, and her height is at the 87th percentile. No "little" girl by any means.

But what made me laugh out loud was when her head was measured. Totally OFF the charts, big time. If there were charts, her head circumference would fall somewhere around the 130th percentile. I remember thinking her head, compared to the rest of her body, was pretty big at birth. Then at her 6 month check-up, it was off the charts. But I thought for sure, she would grow into it and become more proportionate. Still hoping. . . Maybe when she turns two.

We got Kate a few fun baby toys, then set her in front of a giant piece of strawberry short cake. She dug in and ended up eating about every crumb. It was fun to watch!

For journal purposes: Kate has four teeth on top and bottom, weighs almost 25 lbs, and is getting some nice thick brown hair. She is still quite chubby but is starting to loose those massive rolls on her thighs. She says "uh oh" whenever she drops something (sometimes on purpose) and is starting to say "mamma" a lot--melts my heart. As long as she gets her naps, she's very happy and content, although sitting through the first hour of church is turning into an absolute disaster.

Her nicknames are "sweet cakes", "Mrs. Potamus" and "Chubs". Tonight around the dinner table, the kids laughed because after trying to get Kate's attention by calling her by her name a few times, I called her "Chubs" and she turned right around. Quick response to that one.

This past year with her in our family has been an absolute joy. We love our baby Kate.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Garden

I'm pretty sure that growing zucchini is fool proof. Because nothing else has survived in our box gardens, but the squash is growing out of our ears. Just today, I picked this:

We have had zucchini pancakes, zucchini bread, zucchini pizza, fried zucchini, zucchini muffins, steamed zucchini, omelets with zucchini, stir-fry zucchini over rice, zucchini in pasta dishes, etc. . . The list goes on. And the kids are getting a little tired of it.

So today, I turned that (above) into this:

I shredded most of it and filled 23 quart zip lock bags full. Now it's in our freezer for later use, when the kids aren't tired of it. Works great with bread, muffins, pancakes, and casseroles.

I've collected some great recipes and am happy to share upon request!


If you can't tell, it's a picture of my NEW cell phone in Andersen's water bottle. Completely ruined. And too expensive to replace too, so I'm back to the ole' flip phone.

When I asked him why he drowned my new phone, he said with a sincere face, "but mom, I was just washing it because it was really dirty". True, and great intentions too.

It's hard to get upset at those big three-year-old eyes. Darn it Buster!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Wallow Fire

The area of my dad's cabin has been on "pre-evacuation" status for the past 4 or so days. Because of this, my husband and brother drove up a few days ago and removed some of our most meaningful "unreplaceables" and some furniture out of the cabin and into a storage unit away from the fire, just in case.

We're hopeful and prayerful. The cabin is tied to a lot of family feelings, experiences, and memories. And to see all that beautiful forest burned black makes me sick. But at the same time, the cabin is just worldly "stuff", and having it burn down would only simplify our lives. (I keep telling myself that, but it doesn't make me feel any better).

Now all we can do is watch the news and wait it out. And pray for mild wind and lots of early summer rains.

Here's a few pictures John took while there. What might look like nice big clouds is actually smoke rising from the burning forest. (not sure why the sizes are different).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer is HERE!

And I am loving it. I love that we don't have to rush, rush, rush every morning to get the kids out the door on time. I love that we can have more visiting time around the breakfast table, spend more time answering questions that come up during family scripture study without feeling pinched for time.

I love watching EmmaClaire try her hardest at swim team, even though the first practice ended up in lots of tears. I love that jobs, piano practicing, homework, reading, and yard work are mostly finished by lunch time. I love having the rest of the day to do whatever we want to do. I love not following anyone elses schedule but my own.

I love not dealing with a crazy mad rush at 3:10 PM every day with a whirlwind of snacks and crumbs, paper dumping from backpacks, homework and piano help needed from all at once, and feeling spread so thin while trying to give each one individual attention but fulfilling all of their needs collectively at the same time. . .

I love not worrying about what time the kids go to bed, love staying up late and playing games, watching movies, and visiting with my kids. And then letting everyone sleep to their hearts content in the morning, including me.

I love Summer!

And, amazingly enough--chances are that in about 7 weeks, I'll be ready for the structure and consistency of school to start back up. All in good time, I guess. But for now, I'm loving the lazy days of summer.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Meet Mr. AWESOME Mom

I went in for foot surgery on Friday morning and, a week later, I am finally taking slow steps with only one crutch. I've been on my back with my foot in the air, on pain meds, reading nice books, sleeping, and drinking lemonade (OK, not that far, but you get the picture). Pretty much, I have done absolutely NOTHING around the house.

And the new and improved Mr. Mom has stepped up to the plate. And in the process, he's made me look bad because of how awesome he is. Dang it! But not at all surprising.

For a week, he's taken over the car pool, changed every diaper, taken kids to scouts, activity days, the park, out to lunch, visited the school kids for lunch, played basketball, flown kites, played games, made sack lunches, helped with homework, preschool outings, read stories, made and served breakfast, lunch, and dinner, cleaned up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, picked up the house, taken all 6 kids grocery shopping (something I would pay NOT to do), tucked in kids at bedtime, laundry, more park outings, dealt with kids through the night, stomach flu with three kids, throw-up in car seats, on carpets, beds, more laundry and cleaning up, etc. . .

The list goes on. Yes, I usually do all that stuff when I'm up and healthy. But the thing that has amazed me is that John has done it with a song and a smile, always happy, always asking "who needs help, how are you feeling, what can I do more. . . " I'm not sure I can say that about myself. He's been a dream. My appreication for him has risen to a new level this week.

Two incisions were made, each about 3 inches long. Bone was removed, other bone was cut and straightened, pins were put in to hold things together, and tendons were reattached. And I am feeling better by the day. Getting board and antsy, and ready to put on my running shoes again. But that won't be for a while.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy reading some great books and let my foot heal. And call a cleaning lady to do the deep stuff that only women see or notice. That's where the "Mr." in Mr. Mom comes in. . .

Man, I love him.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy Birthday to Abby

Abby turned 8 this week. She's excited to be baptized as a member of our church soon. Her birthday wishes included taking a few friends to Panda Express for dinner, Chocolate Layers for dessert, and making two crafts-decorating flip flops and a hat.

It was a fun day for her. Thanks to all the birthday wishers who made her day so special!