Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Cozy Night

After a 13 hour drive home from Washington and a short nap, Forrest decided to put up Christmas lights tonight. Here are the kids trying to keep warm on the steps.

That's Noah's "cheeeeese!" face.

The man behind the magic.

Ta-da! I loooooove Christmas!

Kaitlyn and I are staying inside where it is warm and cozy. I've got a meatloaf baking in the oven and my new Christmas c.d on the player.

Thanksgiving in Seattle

As has been our tradition for the past several years, we drove up to Seattle for Thanksgiving to be with my family. It was about a 13 hour drive each way, and we opted to do it through the night. This was a nice change from our usual day trip due to the fact that we by-passed traffic, shaved about 2 1/2 hours off our commute time, didn't have to stop for food, and the kids slept the entire way. As for me, I slept about as well as you can sleep in the front seat of a car being 6 1/2 months pregnant, but we survived. The time spent up there was more than worth it.

The Menu:
Turkey with stuffing
Honey-baked ham
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Fresh sweet potatoes
Green bean casserole
Carrot casserole
Cheese ball with crackers
Clam dip
Hot spinach dip
Marinated pickles
Black olives
Stuffed mushrooms
Pineapple jell-o salad
Fresh cranberries
Apple pie tartlettes
Pumpkin pie
Pecan pie
Pumpkin cheesecake
Double chocolate cream pie
Homemade whipped cream

You can say we like to cook. Half the fun was being in the kitchen together.

The girls were in charge of decorating the table, and they did a very nice job.

Brotherly love.

My dad and step-mom of 27 years.

Like I said, we spent a lot of time in the kitchen. She practically threw this apron around my neck the minute I got out of bed. (Just kidding Candy.)

The girls and their candle stick wands as they were calling them.

My dad and "the boys." I never thought the day would come when my "little" brothers would be taller than my husband. My oldest younger brother, Sean, is 6'3". You could say we have some height on our side of the family.

Me with the girls. That's my sister Sarah in the purple scarf. She's just 3 1/2 weeks older than Ashlee (yes, we did it "Father of the Bride II" style.)

My niece Alyssa and Kaitlyn. These girls had a blast together.

My other niece Reagan and my beautiful sister. Notice the abundance of hand-crocheted hats and hair bands? She's in heaven with these girls.

Who-ah! The whole gang. There are 3 families here: my dad's, ours, and my sister's. Personally, I am quite proud of our posterity.

We had the kids' table set up in the living room next to the adults' table. They had their own centerpiece and candles, and the ambiance was quite nice.

Alyssa more mesmerized by the candle than the delicious plate of food in front of her.

Catching my sister in a goofy moment (better than the one I was going to post!)

Me and my honey.

My dad, step-mom, sister and I at the buffet table. When you're serving 18 people, this is the only way to do it.

Noah looked so handsome in his white shirt.

Seeing that plate makes me hungry again. One of the disadvantages of not having Thanksgiving at your own house is that you don't get any of the leftovers!

This was our girls' night out...... a trip to Bellevue to see New Moon! Yes, it was good. Go see it.

The girls had fun getting dressed up and putting on make up for their night out on the town. Bellevue was nice and festive for the Christmas season.

My sister has this AMAZING play room at her house, and to my kids this is the best part about coming up to visit. All the cousins play together and I seriously don't see my kids for like, 3 days. It's great.

Too cute for words.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

We miss you guys already!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Little Lady

I just love this girl.

She looks so cute today in her skirt and fur-lined boots. She has painted nails and toenails too, compliments of Ashlee.

I was surprised at how easily she posed for the camera. I told her to cross her arms, and she knew exactly what to do. Then I told her to cross her legs, and she did that too.

Hammin' it up. Hard to believe she'll be a big sister soon.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Heeding the Call

Well, it's official. I just submitted their applications, and as of January 4th, 2010, we will once again be a homeschooling family.

Our ST (supervising teacher) was thrilled to hear that we were coming back.

We will even get to use the same curriculum that I had already ordered for this year (and had to send back) which will save me the hassle of reordering.

My heart has been in homeschooling all along, and I am thankful that I have the health and strength to go back to it.

Here's to many homeschooling adventures to come!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Here!

I am so excited to announce that my sister has officially launched her business! Check her out at one of these two locations:


She is currently accepting online orders and will ship to anywhere. She is offering an array of trendy Christmas bows and hats just in time for the holiday season. Her products would make excellent gifts, or keep them to enjoy on your own little peanut!

(The model up above is my adorable niece, by the way.)

Monday, November 16, 2009


The other day Ashlee came home from school and asked me what rape meant.

The week before that she said she had been hearing obsceneties from some of the kids on the bus.

Then there was Jimmy, the boy who was suspended for bringing chewing tobacco to school and giving it out to kids in the form of "candy."

And yet I often hear people accuse homeschoolers of sheltering their kids.

From what?

Since when is sheltering our kids a bad thing? I would ask, which is the greater injustice?

I would rather be accused of sheltering my kids any day than be responsible for the effects of "exposing" them.

So heck yes I shelter my kids, and you should too.

We know that the world is going to get worse before it gets better. That scares me, and it should scare you too. If it doesn't, you are not opening your eyes.

Sure, all of our kids will have to learn how to deal with the world one day. But why the rush to throw them out there so soon? Should we not first give them a proper foundation? I believe they are given to us as children, while they are young and impressionable, for a reason. It is our job to teach them. We can't afford to hand our kids' childhood over to the world.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy 7 Years

7 years ago on this night I was laying in bed, but not really sleeping. It was the night before our wedding. My mom was at home anxiously preparing the food and decorations for our home-style potluck reception at the Pleasant Valley Grange Hall. Despite our fears about having a November wedding, the weather would be beautiful- sunny with a few high wispy clouds. I would rise at 5:00 a.m to shower and dress. The hair stylist and make-up artist would be at our apartment at 7:00 sharp, along with all of my bridesmaids and maid of honor. We had so much fun cramming into my bathroom getting ready, helping with make-up and pinning each others' hair into just the right place. The day would be perfect.

It was only the beginning.

These are small, but they capture the day. Seven years ago tomorrow, my dad would be giving me away.

Ashlee would be too pouty to be in any of the pictures.

And I would have the most beautiful bridesmaids a bride could ever ask for!

Happy Anniversary honey.

I can't wait to see where you take me tonight!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

They Just Don't Get It

I was at the store tonight picking up some ice-cream for mine and Forrest's movie night when I heard a child wailing from the back of the store. I perked up my eyes and ears, and a few moments later I saw her mother emerge at the head of my aisle, looking quite exasperated, wailing child in tow, accompanied by three other children. The mother appeared tired, stressed, and somewhat frazzled. Her hair was a bit messy, there were little black smudges under her eyes, and I guessed her to be in her home-for-the night clothes. She walked up to the checkout line, and I followed. As she placed her items on the counter, the clerk, a young girl who didn't appear to be a mother, was making an obvious attempt to cheer the child up, making overly kind and exaggerated comments to the children, handing them their own bags to carry, etc. After her purchase was made, the mother sullenly told the children it was time to go, and escorted the still-whiny toddler out to the parking lot. As I walked up and placed my ice-cream on the counter, the clerk looked down at my pregnant belly and said rather sarcastically, "See what you have to look forward to?"

My response was, "Actually this is my fifth, so I know very well what I have to look forward to," (not meaning it sarcastically at all.) I then finished with, "That was just a little girl who needed to go home and go to bed."

Then, with raised eyebrows, she gave me the once-over and replied, "Oh, I would've thought this was your first."

Deciding to take this as a compliment, I thanked her. She didn't look up at me for the rest of the transaction, and bid me farewell with her eyes down.

This scenario gave me a couple of things to think about: first, what is a mother of five supposed to look like? Don't I look like a mother? Were you expecting someone haggardly? Second: I need to come up with a witty comeback for all the comments like, "Wow, you have your hands full," "five kids, wow!" and, my personal favorite, "You're done, RIGHT?" Well, actually, no. And what the heck business is it of yours anyways?

I did not see a poor woman who was struggling with so many kids, I saw a woman who was blessed with so many kids, and I want people to see the same in me.

One of my favorite things is when little old ladies approach me on the street or in the store with that sweet smile, that knowing smile, and say, "What a beautiful family you have," or "God bless you." They get it.

I am often told, "You are so patient," or, "Your children are so well-behaved." To that I say, "They have their moments." And so do I. But I wouldn't trade a minute of raising my children, good or bad, for anything in this world. They are my livelihood, my greatest blessings. And yes they throw fits sometimes. I just wish people would look past my full hands and into my full heart. It is all worth it.

Monday, November 9, 2009


My prenatal vitamin- on a platter.

With my last couple of pregnancies I have had a craving for broccoli. I can't get enough of it. With Kaitlyn it was steamed with salt and butter, this time around it's raw dipped in ranch. I love the stuff.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fun in the New House

Well, as I said, it's been a hairy couple of weeks, but we are getting settled, and we are having a lot of fun in our new house. Here are some of the perks that we are enjoying:

The kids love this great tree swing on the side of the house.

The backyard is beautifully landscaped, and we found a nice little setting for this kid-sized park bench.

Our trampoline fits perfectly on the small lawn out back.

And... I saved the best for last... this nice hot tub. We are having a friend come over to help us set it up Tuesday night... get ready for a ladies' night!!

This pellet stove will heat the house in less than an hour... and it's very cozy!

The Belly Report

Here's the belly at almost 24 weeks. I was sitting in Relief Society today and she started kicking at the top of my abdomen, so I'm sure she is head down. It's so fun now that she's getting big enough to make my whole belly jump! Forrest and I are very excited.

BTW, we came up with a middle name tonight... Rachel Madison. What do you think??

Friday, November 6, 2009

We're In!

Well, after a very hairy weekend, we are finally settled in our new home. We started moving in while Forrest was still doing the painting, so there was a lot of multi-tasking going on.

For the first time in 11 years, we are in an actual house, and it is a very good feeling. It was so strange to sleep there the first night and realize that there were no neighbors attached to any of our walls- we didn't hear any toilets flushing or doors slamming- just quiet! It was also very exciting to take the kids trick-or-treating in our own neighborhood, not one that we had to drive to get to.

Some of the highlights of moving into the new house have been:
*Our first sit-down meal of spaghetti and salad (tasted very good after a week of living on fast food.)
*Watching my boys roll down the grass hill in the front yard.
*Watching Ashlee go exploring in search of pretty rocks in the backyard (we've got a little bit of land.)
*Being able to choose custom colors for the interior paint job- we've never had anything other than apartment white!
*Having our very own spa in the backyard.

Some of the lowlights:
*Being so tired at the end of the day that you fall asleep in bed with the kids.
*Trying to get ready for church on Sunday when your clothes are at one house and your shoes are at another.
*Not seeing much of your husband for the past two weeks.
*Living on take-out food (the novelty wears off after a while.)
*Thinking you keep a clean house only to realize that dust bunnies, toys, candy wrappers, etc. live under the furniture.
*Deep-cleaning an apartment for someone else (the perk will be getting our insanely large deposit refunded.)
*Trying to carry boxes upstairs with a pregnant belly in the way.

All in all, we are so grateful to be in this new home. We have a one year lease for now, but we may eventually purchase it if all the pieces fall into place. We are 1.7 miles from where we used to live, but in a much nicer neighborhood. I have not yet had the chance to go exploring, but it looks like there are some really nice areas to go walking (or, eventually, jogging.) I have two friends right across the street, and my visiting teacher is two doors down. I am so thankful for all the help we recieved, there is no way we could've done it (as quickly) on our own.

As a side note, our Internet provider does not service our new location, so we are off-line for the time being. We have the same phone number, so that is the best way to reach us.

I am currently in the library doing this post, and I'd better go grab my kids from the children's section before they take every book off the shelf. Oh, and there's the not-quite-finished house waiting for me. Until next time...