Saturday, August 9, 2014

Merry Christmas to me

We finally made the plunge. I couldn't be more excited to bring this piano home. Can't wait do delivery day!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Smiles for Miles

Loving this darling baby!  He gave me 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night, which makes for a happy momma. He's starting to follow me with his eyes as I  walk around the room and turn his head at the sound of my voice. He throws smiles easily,   and I've caught him laughing in his sleep. Must be sweet dreams.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Beat the Summer Boredom

I remember telling myself last summer to do anything/ everything possible to help my older boys find jobs or something that would keep them busy and productive this summer.  And here we are, a few weeks into this summer with nothing lined up. But thank goodness, they haven't driven me crazy. . . . . yet.  

This past week, Taylor and Mason have kept busy building a rocket launcher out of PVC pipe.  Perfect activity for teenage boys.

The boys have made two trips to Home Depot for parts and have spent lots of time on YouTube watching "how to" videos.  And then plenty of time in the backyard building, experimenting, and working on their project.  

I've been impressed with their creativity and ingenuity.  And I have especially appreciated how this project has kept them preoccupied and focused on things other than teasing siblings and eating me out of house and home.    

Hopefully next summer they'll both have jobs.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The newest member of our family

And it's not sweet baby Miles. . . He's upwards of a week old already.  We haven't named her yet.  Still trying to come up with something fitting.  John really likes the name "Peace-mobile".  I'm hoping it lives up to that.

Out with the old. . . 

Goodbye Yukon, you've served us well and have provided us many good times.  Nothing against you, we just don't fit anymore.  The big boys are getting bigger and don't fit in the back seat anymore, and there's always fighting over who sits where, who is touching who, who is breathing who's air, . . .

and plenty of issues over who gets to carry all the Costco groceries on their lap when I have all the kids in the car.  And debate over who gets to invite a friend or which cousin gets to come with us to the pool or some other activity, because there's only one tiny extra seat in the front row.  And last but definitely not least, there's the HUGE dilemma over where to put all the luggage for these 8 people (who are now nine) when we go on family trips.  So it's time for us to depart ways and move on.

In with the new. . . 

As our family grows, our family car does too.  John and I debated over a 12 passenger or 15 passenger.  John's philosophy is "go big or go home".  We plan to take out the back seat, which will give plenty of space for Costco, luggage, camping gear, etc. . . Still with room to spare for extra kids.

Welcome to the family, Peacemobile.  I am hopeful that you live up to your name!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

He's Here!

Miles John LeSueur joined our family at 4:03 pm, weighing in at 7 lbs 13 ounces and 20 inches long.

Welcome to the family Miles!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

16th Family Birthday Party

John and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary this past week.  Hard to believe its been so long, but at the same time I can't imagine my life without him by my side.  Living life with my best friend is pretty awesome.  He and I took off for a quick getaway a few weeks ago and had a great, relaxing time together.

To keep with tradition, we also had a family birthday party this past weekend, complete with presents to ourselves, singing happy birthday to ourselves, sharing what we loved about our family, birthday cake, and fun activities together.  We started last night by opening presents after dinner. All of us got a LeSueur tee shirt.

The front says 16 years- we're driving now.

And the back says "Driving on the right road. . . Together"

During dinner, we talked about what it means to stay on the "right" road, and also what it means to progress together as a family.  

Then we took everyone ice skating, except for me, of course.  Being 2 weeks away from delivery, John wasn't about to let me get on the ice.  I didn't think it was a big deal and put on Mason's ice skates while he was taking a break.  John saw me, shook his head "no", and shook his finger at me.  That was the end of my attempt to ice skate.

All the kids had fun, especially Kate.  It was her first time.  And she pretty much hung on Johns leg for her dear life.  But she never quit, got frustrated, cried, etc.  just kept trying and trying.

After ice skating, we went back home for the traditional mess of a dessert-chocolate lava cakes and ice cream on the special plate with 8 spoons.  I had the first bite, then let everyone else dig in.  It kind of grossed me out to share with that many mouths. 

Not surprisingly, Taylor and Buster finished it off and licked the plate clean.

This morning after chores were done, we visited Costco for lunch and to purchase a nice camera. . . finally, after years of wanting one.  It's my Mother's Day gift from John and the kids.  Then we took the kids to test drive a bunch of 15-passenger vans.  Once this baby comes, we'll be too large for our car and need to upgrade to something bigger.  The kids are super excited to have a little more room in the family car.  And John and I are super excited to drive in a "peace-mobile" without kids arguing about who is in whose space, who stinks, who is crossing the line of his seat, who doesn't have enough leg room, etc. .. Really, it's been quite ridiculous. 

Then we took the kids swimming, then John took them Mother's Day shopping, and now everyone is snuggling in the family room watching a movie together.  It's been a fun weekend, all focused on being together, and having fun with  each other, building memories, strengthening relationships with each other.  That's what family is all about!  And I'm pretty lucky to have the one I do.

Happy 16 years to me and my love, and happy 16 years to our family of almost 7 kids.  I couldn't ask for anything better!

Monday, April 28, 2014

It finally came.

One of these things is not like the other. . . 

We got the chickens as new babies on Christmas Day.  And we've waited, and waited, and waited.  Andersen was sure his was a rooster, so he named it Captain.  But so far, there are no signs of any of the 4 chickens being a rooster.  And yesterday, Abby finally found the first egg.  She was sure it came from Captain, which made Andersen a little confused and sad. . . Because he was so set on his chicken being a rooster.  Last night he decided that if the egg really did come from Captain, then he better rename him.  Because "Captain" is definitely a boys name, and Andersen's girl chicken shouldn't have a boys name anymore.

I'm just glad they haven't died since Christmas.  We'll see how they do in the heat of the summer.  Even with all the poop I keep finding on my patio, I have found myself getting quite fond of these little chickens.  Weird.  John. . . well, not so much.  But he tolerates them fine.  And now that we're starting to get eggs, it might be worth it.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Buster tries flag Football

He loved it! Every practice, every hit, every flag, every game.  And he especially loved chewing on that nasty mouth guard all hours of the day.  So gross!  I'll be happy to throw that away aft the last game.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Kate's massive bed head

Kate woke up yesterday with the most awesome, amazing bed head I think I have ever seen.  These pictures don't do it justice.

I'm pretty sure she's my favorite side kick so far in my mothering years.  I genuinely enjoy having her by my side all day, every day.  She is so sweet, thoughtful, soft spoken, and helpful.

A few weeks ago, after a family movie night with Frozen, Kate came to me, snuggled up to me, and said, "mom, I will never, ever shut you out".  At first I wasn't sure what she was referring to or talking about.  She repeated it again, with a lot of emotion and more tight hugs.  I told her that I would never shut her out either, then asked where she had heard that.  From Frozen, of course.  The little sister says it to the older sister at one point in the movie.  Then she continued to hug me tight and tell me she loved me soooooo much.  So sweet.

Another Kate funny:  yesterday on our way home from church, Mason commented on how dry EmmaClaire's hands were, how her skin was cracking and flaky.  I said, "I'm pretty sure EmmaClaire is half lizard or maybe crocodile".  

That comment was followed my Abby saying, "we'll, Andersen is half dinosaur" (because he has a massive ridge of bone down the center of how head. . . Very noticeable with his summer buz haircuts").  Then Andersen agreed, and added that he might be half monkey too because he loves to climb trees. 

The conversation went on for a little while like that, then kind of died down.  After a quiet moment, Kate, as serious as could be, said "I'm pretty sure I am half princess".  And of course, we all had to agree with that.  She is our little princess. Sweet as ever.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Break

All but Taylor had one week off from school this year, and Taylor had 2 weeks off.  He stayed busy with tennis practice, lots of fun social activities, and a good amount of work.  He also had to read and annotate a big fat novel for AP English.  I was grateful he stayed busy and focused, because its no fun when teenagers get bored around here.

With the rest of the kids, we planned a fun activity every day after work and cleaning was finished.  Monday, we rode horses at Mima and Papa's house all afternoon.  Papa hired Mason and Taylor for the day to help paint, do yard work, and saddle horses for us.  

Tuesday, I took the kids to a new park in Mesa with about 6 other families in our neighborhood/ ward.  Everyone had a buddy, and the park provided fun for all ages.  Then a quick trip to check on the rental house, then hair cuts with all the girls, then a party for Taylor's friends at our house in the evening.  He invited about 6 kids to come over and play games.  22 kids shows up.  I spent about $50 on treats, candy, ice cream and toppings, chips and salsa, popcorn, etc.  within an hour, all the snacks and treats were gone.  The kids seemed to have a good time playing board games, visiting, jumping on the tramp, eating, basketball in the front, frisbee, etc. . . 

Wednesday, we recovered our house from the teenage disaster in the morning, then went swimming with some good friends in their heated pool all afternoon and into the early evening.  It was a perfect, warm but not too hot, kind of day.  Then we headed home and quickly packed the car for a cabin trip and left for the mountains as soon as John got home from work.

All Thursday and Friday, John took all but Kate to the ski resort.  It was the first time for EmmaClaire and Andersen, and John spent the bulk of the first day with them, teaching, coaching, helping, and encouraging them.  Andersen picked it up really well and seemed to enjoy it a lot.  EmmaClaire did well also but got scared and nervous a few times, which turned into drama, tears, and an "I can't" attitude. John is so loving and patient with that kind of thing.  Mason and Taylor tried snow boarding both days and continue competing about who is a better snow boarder.  They loved it.  Abby did well also, but didn't ever want to challenge herself and improve, but enjoyed staying within her comfort zone and taking things slow. . . Reminded of me as a snow skier.

I really, really wanted to ski with the kids.  But with being 7 months pregnant with #7, John wouldn't let me.  Way too protective.  So what did I do while everyone was having fun?  I took Kate sledding a few times, put together and served snacks and lunch to all the skiers throughout the day, cleaned the cabin, and read lots of books with Kate.  I kind of felt like a mommy-slave.  Was it a vacation?  No, not at all.  Was it "fun" for me?  Not in the least.  But it was rewarding and fulfilling to watch my kids grasp a skill/ hobby that they'll be able to enjoy for the rest of their lives, and to see them gain confidence and enjoy their time together up on the slopes.  All worth it!  On our drive home,  I asked John if he had "fun".  He hesitated ( he didn't get to ski at his level much because of working with the kids the majority of the time).  Then he said, " I'd consider it an investment in the future.  You teach them now, and we'll all get to enjoy it together for years to come".  So true.  

We got home Saturday in time to unpack, clean up, and enjoy a neighborhood BBQ.  

Fun, busy, enjoyable week.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

As goes with tradition, we heart attacked ourselves towards the beginning of February for a family home evening activity.  It's been fun to read, then reread all the love notes throughout the past few weeks.  

Here are a few close-ups.

We also received a Valentine in the mail from my mom and from her mom, my Grandma Bennion, who stayed with us over the weekend.  I laughed at how similar they are.  Like mother, like daughter.

 From my parents. . . 

And from my grandparents. . . 

Lots of love in our house this past month.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Remodel--99.9% Complete

It's been a dusty, loud, messy, and totally unorganized past two months.  And It was totally worth it!  We added a whole new room without expanding the walls of our house, but instead by adding a ceiling over the family room and filling in all that dead, wasted space that accompanied the 22-foot vaulted ceiling.  

I have been dreaming up this big room for months, and it has turned out exactly how I envisioned.

The kids, especially the younger ones, have love love loved the massive magnetic whiteboard on the wall.  Almost daily after school, EmmaClaire gathers a few neighbor kids and plays "school" with them. Buster and Kate are always willing participants.  I love that they are so creative with their free time.

And massive toy/game closet.  How have we lived without all this storage space???

The old loft was framed, all walled up, and turned into a linen closet, full bathroom, and another bedroom- which will turn into a baby room in a few months when this little guy arrives.

And another genius change was removing the cupboards( that were so narrow, you couldn't even fit folded towels in them. . . kind of useless space) and building a large, deep closet instead.  Now, we can fit cleaning supplies, a vacuum, coats that aren't worn by much, holiday decor, and big tubs for each of the kids' prized art work and writings from school.

And the only thing we lost was a 22- foot vaulted ceiling in our family room.  John and I actually like the feel of the new 10- foot ceiling better anyways.

Before the remodel, all the lighting we had in that lofty ceiling was one ceiling fan with three dim light bulbs.  And the fixture was so high up, we couldn't ever change a light bulb without a 15- foot ladder.  Or clean the fan, for that matter.  Now, we have a ceiling fan with light, 2 lamps connected to switches, and 9 can lights.  And upstairs above the family room, we added two ceiling fans and 9 can lights as well.  

We are really enjoying our new space and are soooo happy to have a functional, organized, clean house back again.