Monday, January 31, 2011

project update

Things on the project front have been going a little slower than I had hoped. Eight of the twenty-two items on my project list are complete. A few others have been started. I am going to keep at it, realizing that real life is not all that accommodating.

I made the streamers for Chinese New Year.

Christian and Jessica's scripture bags are done. Funnest project ever. They love having scriptures like the big kids. Christian loves that his is green.

The first few weeks of the month Mike put on a home movie tape in the evening and set it to record to DVD. We had several tapes that we had not burned before our old camcorder died. We borrowed my sister's and got to work. Well, Mike got to work. He got them all set up to record. I helped a little, but mostly I just watched them while they recorded. We watched birthdays and a Halloween. We watched Africa and vacations. I watched my babies no longer be babies. This is one of those projects that was hanging over our heads. It feels great to have it done.
Mike got the outlet put in the pantry for my handvac. He also got the speakers put in. He got the downstairs speakers done, and while I watched a movie with the kids on a lazy Sunday afternoon, he headed upstairs to do our bedroom. I came up to see him on the ladder which was on the bed with my nice tablecloth used as a drop cloth. I was grateful that he got it done. I am grateful that he didn't break his neck. I was not grateful about the tablecloth.

I got all of our down pillows washed--a total of 12. They were a pain to do. They had to be dried on low for several hours with tennis balls in the dryer (to fluff them up.) It was a long (and loud) project.
Our master bathroom is really a family bathroom. The kids still need help with hair and hygiene, and they like our big tub, so our bathroom is used by the whole gang. The problem is that there are always towels on the floor because they won't all fit on the towel rack. We put hooks in our last house, and I loved them. I was browsing through Home Depot (who would have thought it would become one of my favorite places?) and decided to use house numbers to identify each child's hook. Then I got towels in their favorite colors. Hopefully this will help with laundry and organization.
Mike helped me attach them to the wall and I had to move the pictures up a bit to accommodate the new hooks. I had these pictures in our last house and I LOVE them. They are of each baby naked at 5 months old. So, I'm figuring out how far I need to move them when Mike says, "Maybe it's time for those to come down."

"Say what?"

"I mean we have had them up for a long time, and the kids are getting older."

Well, that about caused me to hop right in the car and go get another cat at that very moment.

I guess I will blame it on all the hours of watching those home movies, but I am very sensitive lately about them growing up. I told him that I wasn't ready and that they were not out for the world to see (that is until now.) He said that whatever I wanted to do was fine. So they are staying for the time being.

I hate not having one that matches for Jessica. As soon as we brought her home, I made this one that hangs on the other wall in the bathroom. It is the first bath I gave her in Liberia. When I do her hair in the morning we sometimes talk about that bath in the green bucket with water I had warmed on the stove.
Having some distractions has helped me survive January. Let's see how much I can get done in February.

I got the idea from my friend Dawn to share gratitude on the blog. So, today, I'm grateful for:

1. A mom that, patiently, taught me how to sew.

2. A husband that jumps into helping me get projects done (and deals with the messes.)

3. A warm house--it's freezing out there.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Surviving the Winter

I don't really make New Year's resolutions. I make a big long list of possible resolutions and I make some effort at making positive changes. I have, for instance, become re-aquainted with my elliptical. But, the reality is that I really struggle in January and February.

Maybe it's the weather, the lack of sun. Maybe it's the whole post-holiday let down. Maybe it's that we are back to the grind of reality.

Last year I realized that doing some projects helped me get through these blah months.

So, as I was sitting in Sacrament meeting on January 2nd, I started my survival list of projects for January and February. Yes, it is long and yes, it is probably unrealistic to believe that I will complete every item, but I am energized at the thought of trying.

I decided to post the list, and report back on my progress.

1. Do Andrew's birthday interview (never did his. birthday was last August.)
2. Write and send Jessica's adoption update.
3. Burn all of the home movies on DVD.
4. Make streamers for Christian's teacher for Chinese New Year.
5. Sell the laptop.
6. Organize my digital pictures and videos.
7. Find out how to wash all of the down pillows in the house and do it.
8. Finish the girls room--bulletin boards, hang pictures and hang Bev's wind chime collection.
9. Finish Christian's room--bookcase, hang stuff on walls.
10. Make Christian a holder for his karate belts.
11. Finish end of year scrapbook pages for the kids.
12. Make scripture bags for Jessica and Christian.
13. Finish special project for Mike and kids for Valentine's.
14. Complete the big wall collage I have been planning for a long time in the family room.
15. Sew curtains for family room and french doors.
16. Frame new print. (Mike got me one of my favorite prints for Christmas.)
17. Install speakers in bedrooms. (Mike's project.)
18. Put an outlet in the pantry for the handvac. (Mike's project.)
19. De-junk and organize all of our closets.
20. Put in towel hooks for the kids towels.
21. Sign up for and start a photography class.
22. Organize pile of junk for filing cabinet.

Monday, January 10, 2011

out of the mouths of babes 2

Yesterday, Bev and I were working on a project together. I was sewing while she was holding Tiger. The kids all talk to her and treat her like a baby--I know they just copy how I treat her. So Bev is cuddling her and she took notice of her whiskers and said, "Oh, you have such long've grown into a woman...but, you will always be my baby."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Christmas Eve 2010

Christmas Eve was full of tradition and good times. The day started with us sleeping in. Then, Mike ran some errands--picking up photos at Costco and getting some inner tubes for sledding. We stopped at In-and-Out Burger and then headed for Spanish Fork.

There had been a ton of snow earlier in the week, but no fresh stuff that day. However, the perfect weather made up for any lack of new snow. It was a blast.

All the kids had a blast--even little Max didn't want to get off the hill.
Even pregnant ladies got in on the fun. Growing up we always used inner tubes, so it was fun to sled on tubes again.

Christian flew on this jump. We all heard a huge "thud" when he landed. The beast got back up and did it again.

Right as I took the picture, she flashed the peace sign.

After sledding, we headed back to Grandma and Grandpa's for Grandpa's annual clam chowder. The kids were wet from the snow, so we decided to let them open their annual Christmas Eve present early. The Christmas jammies are always a hit. The kids always know what it's going to be, but they still love it. It is a tradition my parents started when I was little.
Every year, Grandma takes the kids shopping to pick out their own gift--she is a brave woman taking 7 kids to Target at once.
Jessi got her first Ken doll. When we got home she said, "Tomorrow is gonna be a big day for Ken." We asked why and she said, "Cause he is gonna get a girlfriend." Sure enough, he got his pick of all the Barbies back at home.

Grandma helped all the kids make luminaries for the cemetery. Andrew and Bev went with her to set them up.
My mom invited a family in her neighborhood to join us. We did a nativity. Christian was the donkey and Luke was Joseph.
Bev was the angel and Jessica and Jack were shepherds.
Andrew was a wise man.
We then got bundled up and drove through the cemetery to see the luminaries. Then it was up the canyon to see the Festival of Lights. We drive there and then pile in the back of the truck. We are now so many that we require two trucks. I only got pictures of the people with us.

On the drive home they all fell asleep. Mike and I stayed up and got things ready for Santa and watched Salt. It was a great day spent with some pretty great people.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

it ain't just a river...

Jessica: "Mom, is it still Christmas?"

Me: "No--Christmas is over."

Jessica: "Why are the Christmas trees still up?"

Me: "Cause Mommy is in denial."

Jessica: "What's denial."

Me: "It's kind of like pretending."

Every year I get in a post-holiday funk. I think it is the whole build up to the fun and then, boom, it's over. This year I am employing various methods to fight the funk. The plan is to exercise more, get this house organized, and do some projects.

My family supports my leaving Christmas up. Bev said we should leave it up until Valentine's Day. Mike suggested saving myself the work for next Christmas and just leaving it up until then.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Life Lesson: Get Your Hands Dirty

Mike and I have been reading a great book. Okay, well, I read it aloud while he drives. Those of you that I talk to on a regular basis have probably already heard me talking about it. It's called, "Boys Should Be Boys." You can find out more about it here.
The book has given us a lot to think about and talk about. One idea she writes about is how we have feminized boys. We don't give them the opportunities to get out in nature and get dirty. This is where it's a good thing I have Mike around. He often has to remind me that getting dirty is what our kids need. I had one such reminder yesterday.

It was Christian's turn to empty the bathroom garbages. There were a few things on the floor that didn't quite make it in the garbage can. He came out and told Mike that he wanted gloves. Mike told him that he would be fine, that he could wash his hands after he was done. I later told Mike that maybe we should get a big box of those disposable gloves at Costco for the kids to use when they do garbages. (Christian ended up using his mechanical grabber to get the stuff.)

I thought the gloves were a good idea. I know I should use gloves more often when I do cleaning or other projects. In fact, my not wearing gloves was a bit of an issue when I got my fingerprints done for our adoption. Apparently, my fingerprints are very shallow and hard to print. I had my finger pricked at the doctor's recently and the nurse also commented on my "shallow" fingerprints.

I digress.

So, because I know I should be using gloves, I figured they would be good for the kids. Mike then told me that one of the best lessons he learned from his grandpa was to get his hands dirty. His grandpa taught him to work by taking him with him on jobs and also paying Mike to do jobs for him. Grandpa told him that you can always wash your hands.

Mike went on to say that he wants them to dig in and help people, or help in a crisis and not first worry about getting dirty.

I'm glad he reminded me about this. And, I do want my kids to be like him in that way--to dig in and help people. (I also hope that they will remember to keep their hand sanitizer with them at all times, and use it after such experiences.)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

out of the mouth of babes: episode 1 for 2011

Jessica was playing with her new Strawberry Shortcake splash pool. I told her that only certain dolls were allowed to play in the pool. Not one minute later, she had two dolls not on the approved list splashing around in the pool. I took the pool away until tomorrow and encouraged her to remember better next time.

Christian then piped up: "Mom, maybe she has short-term memory loss. I have that. I guess we both have it."

I don't know where that came from--it has been years since we watched Nemo.