February 25, 2015

What's Up With Andrew?

What ISN'T up with Andrew?  This kid blows me away every day. 
  First and foremost, last night he decided that he wanted to read.  So he did!!!!!!  He read a whole book almost by himself with some help.  Today I got out some flashcards, and he knew 26 out of the 32 cards.  When we went through them again, he got them all.  HE GOT THEM ALL!!!!  I am so proud of this boy, and I'm not gonna lie, I'm pretty proud of me for following my scary inspiration to homeschool him.    
He wrote a letter to his Grandpa Barnard for his birthday (which got ruined before it got mailed...).  It said, "Dear Grandpa, Sorry to disturb you so happy birthday.  Love, Andrew"  He made all the letters pretty unrecognizable because they were all birthday items.  He's so cute.
Andrew went to the dentist.  He was so proud of himself.  He loved getting his teeth cleaned, and taught the hygienist and the receptionist about marine animals.  He thought the glasses were pretty hilarious, too.
No cavities; everything looked great!
He was a tad obsessed with the spit sucker.

During his rest time, he made interesting shadows.
And of course, he has been spending time with his best friend of all time - Daddy.  He told me the other day that he was a "little scared of dark, but I won't be if Daddy is here."
"I love you, Mom.  And Daddy is my favorite."
He even invited Mike to work with him in the garbage collection company he is starting.  Pretty nice of him.
I love this sweet, amazing, creative little 5 year old of mine!

February 24, 2015

Why Do You Have All These Kids?

  In case you don't know, I have three kids, and there's another one that will soon be joining us.  Since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted a big family. but I didn't realize how difficult it would be to do that! 
  I LOVE my kids.  I mean, there are times when I just have to sit and cry or laugh or squeal, because they're so sweet, so adorable, so kind, so special.  And there are times when I have to stand there and stare at my kid while the instant mashed potato flakes flutter around his head and he's saying, "Snowflakes!" and knowing there's another kid pouting in another room because he can't watch t.v. and the other kid is bellowing for me to come wipe their bottom. Those are the times when my brain feels like it's going to explode.
  So the question is, why do we keep having all these kids?  Here are some of the questions we've been asked, by friends and also complete strangers.

Q:  How do you afford all these kids? 
A:  We don't make a ton of money, but we make a decent living.  We live simply and try to teach our kids to find joy in little things.

Q:  Do you believe in birth control?
A:  Yes, we do.  We also believe in having kids.  So we do.

Q:  How many more are you going to have?
A:  I'll let you know when we do.  This may be the last, it may not be.  We're not sure.  We're just trying to do what's best for us and our family, so we're taking it day by day.

Q:  Don't you know what causes this?
A:  Ew.  Yes.  Don't be weird.

Q:  How do you stay sane?
A:  Sometimes we don't.  It helps that we were a little unhinged before having kids. ;)

Q:  Why do you have so many kids?
A:  There are times when having all these little kids around makes life difficult.  There are things I sometimes wish I could do- trips I could take, freedoms I no longer enjoy (like going to the bathroom without anyone yelling at me and pounding on the door), etc.  There are times when I remember the days of adult conversations as a distant memory.  But those times are nothing.  It doesn't matter that my house looks like a daycare center.  It doesn't matter that I've changed roughly a zillion diapers.  I miss sleeping through the night on a regular basis.  But I love seeing these kids grow more than anything else.  I cherish those tiny hugs.  I marvel at the little people they are becoming.  I can't wait to see what they do with their lives.  It has brought me closer to my husband, helped me to become a better person, and has given me a greater focus than any professional, social, or educational experience ever could.  Not everyone is going to have children.  Not everyone will have 4 (or more).  I realize that my wonderful life is not ideal for everyone.
  I guess the short answer to this question would just be:  Because...Andrew, Emily, Charlie, and the new one.  They're the reason we have these kids. 

February 18, 2015

Snow Day

The kids have been asking me to make it snow all winter.  I finally obliged on Monday.  We were lucky that Mike already had Monday off so he could spend the day with us.
Charlie was really unsure about how to walk around in the snow, but quickly learned how to play by watching the older two.
Proof that I was there, and that the wind was trying to blow my scarf away.
Emily spent the entire time wanting to be pulled in the sled and eating snow. 
It was pretty cold, and it took way longer to get everyone dressed than it did for them to actually be out IN the snow.  Everyone was wearing at least two pairs of pants.  Charlie was wearing tights, and Andrew was wearing pretty purple boots.  Charlie thought they were cool, but Andrew did not enjoy wearing his boots.
I remember going out in the snow and playing for hours.  I'm glad to see the kids having so much fun with something as simple and beautiful as snow.

Eclairs, I declare...

Last year we started a Valentine's tradition of making a dessert together after the kids go to bed.  Last year was doughnuts, this year was French ├ęclairs. 
The lineup.  My favorite thing is the faces Mike made on the eggs.
We set up the tripod to get pictures of us.  This picture is entitled, "Forever Alone."
We didn't have a pastry bag, and forgot to get parchment paper, so our pate a choux had some troubles.  It worked out okay in the end though.  :)
Let's just say we had fun and made a lot of messes.
The finished product at 10:30 at night (hence the bad lighting in these pictures).  The verdict?  We're glad we made them, and they weren't horrible, but we felt it could definitely be improved.  The chocolate both inside and on top was so dark.  If you prefer dark chocolate, these might be perfect for you.  :)

February 17, 2015

Bee Mine...

I loved having Valentine's Day on a Saturday this year!  We all got to spend the day together, and it was great!
Mike made crepes for breakfast - both peanut butter and nutella with bananas and strawberries and whipped cream.  They were DELICIOUS and a big hit (surprise, surprise).
Here's Mr. Bedhead hard at work.
I made some decorations this year.  I love holidays, and always want decorations, but they are hard to find for anything other than Christmas. 
Not perfect, but I love it.  Next year we'll have another little name on a heart.  Pretty fun.
I made a banner for the mantle out of felt hearts, but they all flipped upside down.
Celebrating Valentine's Day doesn't have to be all about gooshy love.  It can just be about showing those around you that you love them.  And it's so cute and fun at the same time.  :)

Two Cute

I'm late in blogging about this, but I definitely didn't want to miss talking about our Charlie's 2nd birthday!  There wasn't a theme, and it wasn't fancy, but he had fun and we loved celebrating the birth of one of our absolute favorite people. 
How cute is he sitting so prim and proper waiting for his presents? 
Andrew made a picture for Charlie.  Sweet boys.
He was super excited about getting socks.  The other two just wanted him to move on.
It doesn't look like it here, but he was super stoked about this present.  Kwazii from the Octonauts with a vampire squid.  We love all things aquatic around here lately.  Andrew has learned all about marine animals and talks about them all the time.  Charlie talks about whale sharks and saw a picture of a crab and said, "It's a coconut crab, Mom!"  Cute boy.
Andrew provided all kinds of decorations.  Here is a happy birthday sign with lots of balloons.
Happy Birthday to the greatest little 2 year old in the world!!!  We couldn't love that little darling any more if we tried.

February 9, 2015

Beautiful Kids

I can't help it.  My kids are just cute. 
Exhibit A:  Charlie with his puppy, Woof Woof
Exhibit B:  Andrew did Emily's hair the other day to make her look "stylish."
Mission Accomplished.
Ironically, she didn't cry out once in pain.  Not during the wet wipe rubbed on her head.  Not when he twisted her hair around the comb.  Not when he stabbed her head while putting in her bow.  I seem to remember a little girl who looks just Emily screaming, "Ow!  Get off me!  You're squishing my head!" when I was spraying detangler in her hair the other day.
Exhibit C:  Hello, ma'am.  I believe you called for a handyman?
Exhibit D:  Manual labor.
Exhibit E:  My little nightmare.  He chose that outfit himself.
Exhibit F:  He also chose this outfit, head to toe.
Exhibits G-Z:  These three.  Admit it.  CUTE.

February 1, 2015

When Daddy's Away...

Last week, Michael was at a training conference in St. Louis.  He learned a lot, helped teach some, and had a good time.  Better than that, he got to go to the temple with his dad and visited with his grandma a couple times.  I was glad he got to see her since we don't get to nearly enough.
  That being said, I HATE when he's gone!  It's harder with the kids (think 24 hour monkey madness) but even more than that, I just miss having my best buddy around.  Believe it or not, I kind of like that guy a lot!  Luckily for us, he missed us quite a bit, too. 
  When he came home, there were cheers of joy, kids running with arms outstretched toward Daddy, and lots of happy laughter.  But before he came home, there was FaceTime. 
  Have you ever used FaceTime before?  It's a pretty cute little Apple feature where you can (as the name might imply) speak face to face.  And somehow, the angle makes me look either like I have crossed eyes or a bizarrely long weird-looking face.  The kids weren't as concerned with their looks apparently, because here are a few little gems that Mike snapped while talking to the kids.
Andrew should rename it to NostrilTime.

 I'm pretty sure they had no idea their face was there.  It's little, like in this picture of Michael.  (By the way Mike, that was a rockin' morning hairdo you had going there.)

I'm so glad to have him back, so glad no one was sick while he was away (yay!), and glad we all like each other so very much.