Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We're walking, we're walking

Alternate title: Never let your kids out of the stroller if you want a good heart rate on your daily walk.

Andrew is starting to express more interest (hint: stubbornness; individuality, iron will....) in riding a bike on our daily walk, instead of lounging in the double jogger.

So recently, I let him do it.

It took 10 minutes to go two houses, an hour to go around one block.

Fitting that he brought his stuffed turtle with him.

But I know he must spread his wings eventually and leave the nest of the stroller. It's exercise for him, it keeps him from taking a late nap lulled to sleep by the movement, and it teaches me patience in encouraging him along as he looks at sticks and snails.

It kind of reminds me of the long walk I took with Max at the same age Andrew is now. It's still one of my favorite blog posts.

Also, sometimes sweet baby James remembers his cranky first 3 months of life and hollers and screams after he's been in the stroller for what he thinks is too long.  My walk around Sugarhouse Park the other day became one where I was getting alternating stink eyes and worried looks from other people. So I took him out, and improvised some baby-wearing by zipping him into my jacket.

And the other day we had almost made it home when he was inconsolable as well. My heart melted when I unbuckled him from the stroller and he put those soft baby arms around my neck and laid his head down on my shoulder as I carried him home.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Andrew the alligator

Andrew often refers to himself as an alligator. So imagine his joy, when on his first day of preschool this month, he worked on the letter A -- and it was an alligator.

He carried it around for days, and took it to bed with him.

He LOVES preschool. It's more of a joy school, really. Five kids from our neighborhood and we trade houses every week, on Mondays and Thursdays, 2 hours each time. It's in the mornings at the other homes but in the afternoons at our house when it's our turn, so I can teach after work. I couldn't add one more thing to JB/Bishop/mortgage loan officer/dad/cook/cleaner's plate in the mornings,.

Andrew especially loves another little boy named Cory. He jumps up and down and yells "HI CORY!" every time.

I had my first day of teaching this Monday. I ran out of alphabet and number activities for these busy 3-year-olds and finally just let them play with our toys. Because, why not. And by 2:40 I was spent without my nap. And baby James wanted to nurse ("Are you feeding your baby?" came all the little voices).  But I look forward to tomorrow. They are the sweetest kids and Andrew is so happy to have this in his life.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What baby likes

James likely the Legos.

He likes them so much, he tries to eat them every chance he gets.

See that yellow Lego head in his mouth?

Don't worry, he didn't choke. We are constantly after the big boys to pick up Legos, but Andrew the three-year-old mischief maker tracks them everywhere like cookie crumbs.

Baby James also likey the remote control.  And any phone. And any laptop. He'll sneak up on ya, grab it, then giggle his head off as he tries to push buttons.

James also likes to walk now. He's still unsteady on his feet, like a drunk pirate, but he's trying those hind legs more and more now. 15 months ain't bad, it's when Max was walking and it beats me, my mom says.

Recognize these pajamas from Benny's first birthday? We repeat cuteness around here.

When it starts to get chillier at night he's going to wear them more, because he kicks off his covers. It's the worst when he's nurse-sleeping beside me at naptime and nightime and he kicks off the covers, because then I get cold.

So that's the other main thing that James REALLY likes. Nursing. And co-sleeping. But I still like it, too. Ccan't I keep my last baby a baby for a little while longer?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Temple trip

We, like hundreds of thousands of others, recently attended the open house for the newly renovated Ogden Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. A few years ago, we went to the new Oquirrh Mountain Temple open house in South Jordan, but the boys don't remember it.

Can I just say how amazing it was to see those crowds -- and hear that the crowds only continue, every day? I hope people were able to feel the spirit of the temple, and get any questions answered by the helpful missionaries there.   I keep pitching it as a story idea to do in the newsroom -- "The crowds!"

My only complaint was how fast you felt you had to shuffle through every room, because of the long line of people behind you. I wanted to talk to the boys about why we build temples and my testimony, but I could only do it in bits and pieces that day.

Andrew wasn't so sure about the booties or shoe covers everyone had to wear to protect the carpets, but Max and Ben thought it was cool when I told them my family and I volunteered in 1997 at the St Louis Temple open house, and we spent hours putting booties on people there.

At the tent outside the temple was this statue of Jesus Christ. My boys were all smiling and making my heart swell with their sweetness. But I cut off the statue's head in the picture.

In this one I got the head, but James is ready to get down. That will have to do.

Friday, September 5, 2014

School is cool

The boys have now had 2 weeks of school, and so far, so good.

Their teachers know more than me, and I've already been hit up for money in around 100 emails and fliers and handouts. Three dollars for this, just a couple for that, $25 if you really want this, $98 if you want to do science....So yes, school is cool.

My first and fourth graders.

Finding friends on the first day of school.

Benny came home the first day and said, "We onwy wed a wittle and had we-cess." I think he thought he was going to learn everything in first grade right off the bat.

Max was nervous the first day but now really likes his teacher and class.

And now in the mornings, JB can take these smaller boys to Costco. Here's there first time sharing the top o' the ride:

Andrew has free reign while the big boys are gone on all their toys, and despite their best efforts to protect their Lego creations, he brings them upstairs and plays with them. And then baby godzilla James does his "Frankenstein walk/switch to a swifter crawl" and attacks the Legos, too.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Backpacking boys

The weekend before school started, JB took the bigger boys on an overnight backpacking trip, and I stayed home with the little boys.

By the way I have two sets of boys - big, and little. It used to be Max, "the baby;" then when Benny came along it was "the boys;" then when Andrew was born it became "the boys and the baby;" now it's "the boys and Andrew and the baby." Andrew refers to Max and Benny as "the boys" when he talks about them or is looking for them to come back from school.

Anyway, by all accounts the boys had a great time with daddy and some friends who also went along. They went to Ruth Lake in the Uintahs.

Look at my little hikers! 9-year-old Max had a fair amount in his (my unused) backpack; Benny was basically carrying a sleeping pad, his night-night and a flashlight I think. Maybe more.


They hiked about 3/4 a mile to their campsite, and built a fire. Man must have fire.


Cozy in the 2-man tent.

JB knew the weather could turn up there in the mountains, and it started to rain that evening.

And then it turned to snow. In August.

Max did not like having to leave the tent in the morning for some -- ahem -- personal time in the woods.

The hike back to the car in the slushy snow about did my boys in. JB was encouraging and supportive....but my children apparently thought they were going to die from their cold feet.

But look how beautiful!

Now they know they can do hard things, and they are proud of themselves. Plus they really liked the hamburgers they got when they reached Kamas.

The sons:

The dads:

Back at home, I took long walks with the double stroller, cleaned the house, cuddled the little boys, and watched chick-shows on TV. That's my kind of camping.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Kids that mind

JB had a birthday in August. Half our kids joined him for a pensive picture:

There's a good smile. Good thing he likes my carrot cake; I think I have made it for his birthday for years now.

For JB's birthday, I got everyone I could to write him a birthday message and I put it all in a booklet. I think I got almost our whole ward to write a message to Bishop.  I wanted him to realize how appreciated his hard work is.  Old friends and my family weighed in on Facebook, where JB does not have a profile (stay strong!) and I printed those out.  I forgot his siblings, though. But I think they tell him (in so many words) how much they like him, aw shucks. Right? Right?

JB now likes to say something that his mom used to say: when asked what she wanted for her birthday, she would respond: "Kids that mind."

A few days after his birthday, he got that wish.  One morning while I was at work, he secretly took these pictures of all four boys playing nicely and happily together.

Be ver-wy, ver-wy quiet! Don't scare them.....

Now the bigger boys are back at school, and Andrew starts a little preschool program next week. Another blessing.