Friday, March 30, 2012


Abe wandered  by as I was switching my blog header to a picture of Jesse the other day.

“Interesting”. He jokingly accused. “I never see a picture of me up there.”

I gave him an are-you-serious look and reminded him of just how willing he is to ever let me take pictures of him, and then demonstrated for him some of the faces he insists upon making when he does let me.

“Those are wonderful pictures” he sniffled.

Little stinker.

I have a hard time imagining that there could be a better or more likeable kid. Here are a few pictures I captured (on the sly) recently as he carved a marshmallow roasting stick with his cousin. He’s quite a handsome boy.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Day with Daisy

Daisy hasn’t missed school at all this year (other than an early check out for a dentist appointment). In fact, I don’t know that any of my kids have missed a full day this year. I consider this a lucky thing: It means we have had a far more healthy winter season than we typically do. Goldie seems to agree – and shudders at the thought of missing a day. Abe and Daisy, on the other hand, seem to feel their perfect attendance to be a horrible injustice, and are constantly complaining that they ought to be allowed a day off. I don’t mind them having a day off, to be honest, but they are getting old enough that missing a day can easily mean lots of make-up work, or lots of confusion over an unlearned new math-solving method, etc.

So, when Daisy began pleading to stay home the other day – and then throwing out tempting promises such as “I can watch the kids while you run”, and “I will let you take pictures of me with out complaining”, etc. I caved – telling her that if she found a day where she wouldn’t miss too much, and collected her assignments beforehand, she could stay.

And that is exactly what she did:

I didn’t actually get to take many pictures of her. The typical days demands and goings on – nap times for little ones, visiting teachers visiting during prime sunlight moments, etc. meant that I only got time to snap this one shot after dropping the other kids off at school. Still, she held to her other promises – diligently finishing her make-up work, playing cheerfully with the little ones, letting me sneak off for a run while Anders napped, etc.

Abe and Daisy aren’t yet old enough to be left in charge as full on baby-sitters. I don’t yet feel that they ought to deal with the stresses of caring for a baby or of being in charge for any lengthy amount of time, however, they can, quite confidently, play with Penny and Jesse for up to an hour, and, if I am close enough to home that I could get back quickly (I always have my cell phone on me if I leave them – even if I am out running), I can even leave a sleeping Anders. It is novel enough for them that they actually enjoy it, and, as those of you with very young kids can likely imagine, it makes life much easier for me. Just to be able to run quickly to the grocery store, drop a kid off at music lessons, or make a short visiting teaching appointment with out figuring what is to be done with everyone is such a nice nice thing! And Daisy was a saint babysitter yesterday.  Even before I’d headed off on my run she was hiding plastic Easter eggs all over the backyard for Penny and Jesse to find and explaining to them how they would be able to watch one Backyardigans, etc.

I really loved having my oldest girl with me for the day – true there were three other kids in the house, but something about it being just her missing school, made the day feel exciting and adventurous, and she seemed to enjoy so much being with me as my one oldest helper for the day. It’s a lucky thing I have a sense of obligation and responsibility when it comes to my kids and their educations . . . otherwise, I could easily see letting one of them have a special stat-home-with-mom day ever week!

“Blue” Tape and Hurt Fingers

Our refrigerator went out, so, at the moment, all our fridge stuff is either stored on a spare shelf in Mike’s aunt’s fridge, or in coolers in our kitchen. It turns out that the coolers not only serve as food storage devices, but as chairs, stools and tables. I served Penny and Jesse lunch at the counter today, but returned to find them here:

That hasn’t much to do with any thing, but here, well, here is something:

The other day Jesse found this sink plug under out kitchen sink:

He carted it outside for a moment, but then came running back in the house all full of excitement shouting, “Mom! Mom! Where’s the blue tape?!”

“What?” I asked, “It’s in the drawer, bud, but why do you need it?”

“I think this fits in it!” He shouted, hardly able to contain his enthusiasm, as he held the plug in the air.

I shrugged and opened the drawer where the “blue tape” rests – motioning for Jesse to help himself.

It turns out he was correct. The plug does indeed “fit” in the blue tape:

It is a wonder to me how that little boy’s mind works – the connections it looks for. I might have connected “sink drain plug” with “sink” if I were making a connection at all, but I am quite certain I would never have connected it with the hollow ring from a roll of painter’s tape.

Still, things are not all sunshine and sparkles and . . . blue tape with Jesse. The other day I was forced to put him IN the shopping cart at the grocery store. We have an agreement that he can walk, as he insists he must, so long as he stays by me. I consider myself fairly loose in my enforcement of the deal. I continually call to him to keep up, put that can back, stay by me, etc. But on this particular trip he had strayed too far and been given his warnings one too many times, so, sadly, into the cart he went. He began to sob, and then shout. I am sure that, had he known how to curse like a sailor he would have been, instead he began throwing out various angry/sobbing pleas and threats – some about me being a bad mom and some about how he was going to put ME in the cart. Poor kid. In the end, his anger usually switches to just needing me to hug him, but I did like that he was going to put me in the cart.

And then there are other sad moments where discovery and adventure are ruined by unforeseen problems.

Here Jesse was, minding his own business, trying to close a window after having opened it to hear the construction trucks outside:

When, alas, he slammed his finger between the window and its frame:

I’m not so heartless of a mother that I would keep taking documentary style photos while my child is in pain. Or, maybe I sort of am, but I didn’t realize what he’d done at first (as I took the above picture). When I did, I quickly got the fella a Band-Aid. After a few hugs, he seemed to think he was maybe going to be all right . . .

But then Abe came in to ask what had happened, and the mere act of showing off his bandaged wound proved to be too much:

Luckily I didn’t have to stop taking pictures that time because Abe took over the role of comforter:

Here was a little of his recent chatter:

After I had talked to him about not opening the front door when someone knocks (as he always runs to do) because it might not be somebody he knows, he repeated the rule like this: “We never open doors because it might be a stranger, and only dad opens doors. Because dad’s the best at opening doors.”

Mike is a good door opener for certain.

Also, after I got back from the gym: Jesse came toddling by saying, “Mom! This caramel is delicious! I . . . aggh . . . I hurt my tooth!”

Me: “Are you OK? Do you need a love?”

“No. I think I’m . . . yah, I think I do need a love.”

He comes in for a hug, then sighs in a this-will-never-do sort of way, “You’re too sweaty”.

I did say I just got back from the gym.

This little Jesse of mine sure keeps life entertaining. I love him. A lot.

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Night With Two of my Girls

Daisy, Goldie and I had a little girls’ outing the other night. They were so excited that, after school, of their own accord and in excited anticipation of the evening, they bathed and got on dresses and used a blow dryer on their hair. We went to eat at a real grown-up restaurant, then wandered around the world’s largest gift shop. I took them there a year or two ago when all the Christmas items were out, but they had just as much fun seeing bunnies, chicks and Easter hats. It was a fun evening with my girls. I liked it and how they oohed and ahhed and had to pause to see every single item. (And I can’t help but think how happy I am whenever I get a new baby to the point that I can leave them for the evening with out worrying about them getting to bed fine with out me, etc!)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Remember when I had a newborn? . . . like yesterday.

I still think of myself as someone who just had a baby (and I still kind of look like someone who just had a baby), so . . . what are we to make of these pictures?
No trace of newborn here.

I guess that’s the risk you run in blinking.

It is ridiculous that they grow so fast, and even though I’ve just seen it happen with my own eyes, I still don’t really believe it will keep happening that fast. Surely the next five and a half months won’t possibly seem to fly by as quickly as the first five and a half did? Silly me. I, of all people, should know that in a few tiny moments he will be running and talking and then tromping off out the door to head to Kindergarten. Goodness.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sleeping Penny


I sometimes joke that I love my kids best when they are sound asleep. Of course that isn’t really true. But when Mike called me up the other night to take a little picture of Penny (who had fallen asleep with the closet light still on) I had to admit that there is something about a sleeping child that allows you to reflect and be more strongly aware of their tiny perfectness a little more easily than when they are running around amidst the usual business and chaos of the day. It’s a nice little way to end the day – seeing them still and quiet (little fingers slightly curled, blankets or stuffed animals snuggled nearby, recently read books tucked half under them, and, occasionally – as was the case with Penny the other night -- things like a toy can of soup clutched tightly in their arms). I don’t truly love them better at those moments than the moments when they are awake, but I think I do realize, when they are so still and peaceful, exactly how much I love them – which is an almost painful amount.


Drumsy and Sparkle Continued

This boy:
has been at it again. (Only, for heaven’s sake, why on earth would I put THIS picture up of him? He’s playing a DS game! I should certainly not allow such things to be seen here, on my blog. You readers might think I’m an ordinary type of mother who lets my kids do things like . . . play DS games. But I deny it! This picture was a fluke. A moment of weakness. We don’t play things like that at our house. We don’t watch TV either. Or use the computer. We just read. And craft. Oh, and serve others. And then we just fill the rest of our time with studying encyclopedias. Oh! And the scriptures! Alright. That isn’t totally true, but they do only get a half hour of Wii/DS/TV – and only after they have completed their post-school homework and chores, so leave me be).

BUT! Moving on. Abe added another chapter to the Drumsy and Sparkle saga (after his initial prologue). But first, the prologue finished with the Drumsy and Sparkle coat of arms (which I thought was a pretty cool symbol for the super-hero version of Penny and Jesse):

And then the adventures really begin:

I love how I can almost hear sound effects as they hop from rock to rock, climb castle walls or take out the bad guys. Particularly impressive since they are only stick figures. Can’t wait to see what happens in chapter 2.

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