Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas only comes once a year!

Christmas is so great, we had to start our celebrations early! Nana and Bopa swung by and grabbed the kids on December 16th to start partying in Bend. Wish we could have joined them but Bopa survived a day with them on the slopes alone and Nana survived Urgent Care where she was diagnosed with pneumonia. :( Bad start. 
We joined back up a few days later - Daddy has a full two weeks off of work! So amazing! Of course I found out I had strep throat again. Nana and I made quite the pair! And Henry came with croup, which he then kindly shared with G and L... And of course the kids can't all smile nicely for a Christmas picture in their finest. Although, if I remember correctly, this one did turn out a lot better than last year's, even if G is chewing swimming goggles?
Ice skating! It's one of Ninnie's favorite things to do so we always try to when we we're together. J worked hard to learn how to glide backwards, M spent a lot of time on the wall trying to figure out how to skate on one foot, Dude got intimately acquainted with the ice, and G ... was G. Yes, she's doing snow angels. In the ice. And she tried to make snowballs. I'm not sure she really got what we were doing. 
Sick or not, ready or not, Christmas Eve arrived! And with it, the much-awaited, annual puppet show. It is pretty exciting.
And the traditional Christmas jammies. Thanks Nana and Bopa!
And everybody's up! All right, most are awake (G and L have been so sick - couldn't handle waking them when they were finally sleeping and breathing well). But one way or another, it is time. Can't keep everybody upstairs any longer. They were just all too eager to take the traditional Christmas morning on the stairs photo. Right?
Everybody was awake for the gingerbread man making though. We switched things up a bit (decorating cookies seemed easier for little hands than assembling full houses), but regardless, I think some people were still just in it for the candy! Not naming any names but there was that guy in green who puked rainbows shortly afterwards in the tub.
Pretty grateful for another wonderful, cozy Christmas with those we love. It was pretty much a miracle that it went as well as it did with all those germs that had been swimming around with all those people. It might've been a small miracle, but it was a tender mercy indeed.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Roughin' It

A couple of last things from our epic trip before they are lost to the scary recesses of my ever-dwindling intellect, starting with this happy picture of our sightless brood (minus a sleeping G who tragically slept through every s'more-making party we had, poor thing): 
G did not like the soap in the camp bathrooms (which by the way, were impressively clean), because it was "probably made of booders" (boogers).
She does, incidentally, prefer pink soap, which is not only her favorite color but has the added benefit of not looking like it could've come out of her nose. Which is what everyone looks for in a soap.
At the one hotel we did stay in, G pointed to the Kleenex and said, "that is a wiper nose," and then at the toilet paper, "and that is the wiper bum!" They should consider labeling it that to avoid possible confusion!
Bottom line is we did it! 5 straight nights of camping with 5 kids. True, Baby L thought the tent was a frat house where we should be partying all stinking night long. And yes, she loved investigating anybody who hadn't moved in awhile, making it more difficult for them to fall asleep. Additionally, she liked to roll around on our faces to find a more comfortable place to sleep than the ground, but changed her mind every few minutes and went to try out somebody else's face. Good to know that we should by no means trade in her crib yet! 
Beyond surviving the kids, we made it through an intense thunderstorm (actually had to even set the tent up in the dark with the wind trying to parachute our covering into neighboring states), mosquitos that, according to the park ranger, ALL decided to hatch 2 days before we arrived, an invading raccoon that wanted in on the s'mores ironically after J's MANY vocal concerns about their possible proximity (she actually had started panicking to the point of tears earlier when one family member who shall-not-be-named loudly passed gas, which she naturally mistook for "a raccoon's roar), and rain dousing our finally-made fire and dampening our children. But we survived! A little dirty and under-rested but let's be honest, is that a whole lot different than normal life?!?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Whenever mouths come up, this girl says, "I have a bid (big) mouf and lots of teeth, see," and then opens further than you'd have ever thought possible.

I was kinda confused when G kept pointing at Woody and insisting that he was "a dondey." Finally realized she meant cowboy. Good to know that donkey = cowboy.

"Lucy bit my tongue." What? "No. I mean my finger." That makes a little more potential sense!

At a friend's house tonight, Grace began telling them a story by saying, "One time, when my mom and dad weren't taking care of me..." This after she told me very seriously on the way up to their door, "remember you need to keep an eye on me." Kinda made me worry about what she was planning!

She got dressed all fancy today with a bow in her hair, a chunky necklace, and a spinny dress, and went down the stairs saying, "excuse me, I'm so toot (cute)."

"I ouched myself mom."

"What mom?"
What G? 
"A watermelon!"

When I didn't get mad at her for "not an accident mom, just a little pee-pees in my panties because daddy said I can do just a little," she looked up and said, "you're the best mom in the world mom."

"Look mom, my belly!"
Look G, here's mine!
"Yeah, except mine isn't big like yours."
(Me laughing hysterically)
"You're great mom."

So not G but worth including bc the other day I heard dude say from the other room, "I didn't do it! The elephant did!" Classic. He also asked recently, "Why didn't Heavenly Father design our car so the back windows could open?" Ha!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Itasca state park aka Mosquito breeding ground

Such a great way to start your day. It's like having an alarm clock that goes off 2 hours too early and attacks you when you don't get up the first time it tries to wake you. 
Eventually, when half the hair had been torn out of our heads, we gave in. As we packed up, the littles decided to get an early start on their hike. By themselves. With G leading. Anyone else think that's a bad idea?
Thanks to a more helpful guide, we made it to the mighty Mississippi River! Just dangling our little toesies in the headwaters!
And we did it! We walked across the Mississippi River! 
The head of the 4th largest river in the world begins right here, feeding out of Itasca Lake. And we just walked across. Some of us more successfully than others but we all did it! And then played. These kids are hilarious. A lot of work to keep them all alive at a place like this, but hilarious nonetheless.
The two oldest just kept crossing and crossings and crossing. As they gained confidence, they got much worse at it, or better, depending on how wet it was their goal to be. Soaked from head to toe? Nailed it.
Eventually we dragged their dripping, reluctant little bodies out to go hiking where G wanted to collect every rock in the path. Do you know how much that slows things down???
Swans! Beautiful.
All right, we made it to the tower. Despite being crazy tall, these kids didn't hesitate for a second. They probably would've run the whole way up!
Made it! Above the canopy of the super dense forest, the view was amazing. These kids are impressive. And I couldn't be more grateful for the safety fencing that kept me from having a panic attack when the littles wouldn't hold my hand every second of the way.
And of course, before we left M had to get a picture of her favorite lake in the state of 10,000. 

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

From Big Sky to Big City

This post feels slightly redundant since I've sent all these pics already to my family (who are the only ones who read this - Hi Mom!) in an endless barrage of text messages today. But we woke up after a ... night's sleep in our covered wagon. Wood floors are hard. But M found a friend!
Then we got our inner-pioneer on. J played the pump organ. Workout and music lesson in one!
M for her workout in pumping the sewing machine, which exactly the kind J says she's always wanted.
They held baby kittens, mocked chickens, 
Pet a baby calf and a week-old foal, road horses,
And learned to lasso. Okay, we have a little more practicing to do on that one!
Love this happy face!!
The pony carriage was so fun that we might have gone around more than once. Poor "mana-mana," as G called her (whose real name was Madonna) and Toby.
Carriage ride, anyone?
Then all the kids got to drive a real covered wagon! Those horses were HUGE and she said they were only medium sized. On the way, G pointed at a man on the wagon with us, and announced loudly, "he has none hair." Sorry bald guy.
Time for school! Look who was dressed and ready to learn, and delighting every old lady around.
Recitation time! The girls had a really hard time taking the costumes off. They loved it.
It was hard to leave the solitude. Just felt good to be there. Feel a little guilty for complaining. This was the nice wood shanty. You do not want to know what the dugout was like or how crazy claustrophobic one would've felt all winter long! There was a quote from Laura Ingalls Wilder on the chalkboard that said something about how you make do with what you have and are happy about it. Need to take her advice more often.
Then a long car ride later, we made it to the big city. We both commented on what a huge contrast this was going to be so we eased in slowly by hanging out at the wonderful sculpture gardens. Hello Minneapolis!


Mall of America madness

Favorite child for the day - the one to sleep in the longest!!
Everybody up. Time to eat!
As we got in the car to finally leave, G said, "I buttled! Bc if I didn't, I would pop through the walls and windows and I would die. I don't want to do that!"
Fortunately, we all made it safely to the biggest mall I could've ever imagined. And this was in the middle. Needless to say, the kids were a little excited.
It was over-stimulation at its best! Poor G had a rough time every single time the Big 3 went on a ride that she wasn't tall enough to go on. Lots of tears. Wish I could say she was the only one that cried that day...but at least the carousel was always there to make her feel better. You do not want to know how many times we rode that sucker. And always the kitty.
L was a big fan of the carousel too. Such a big kid!
One of dude's first rides was the ghost
blaster. Turns out the fun of shooting ghosts did not make up for the ultimate terror seeing them gave him. Such a face!
Meeting Dora was only slightly less terrifying for L. She would not take her eyes off of that enormous head!
G didn't enjoy the tiny bumper cars so much. Understandable since she spent nearly the entire time like this. Poor thing couldn't figure out how to go backwards!
But it wasn't all negative! Not sure why the pictures reflect that! The bigs did totally blow us away. Cannot believe some of the crazy rides they went on, more or less fearlessly. Dude rode this big drop ride and a pretty intense rollercoaster twice!
But still got a major kick out of the junior drop, which helped a very nervous G realize it was all fun and games!
Such a funny girl in her peent (pink) one of course.
And holy cow Legoland! Blows my mind that they made all this out of tiny little Legos that I step on every day at home!
Notice they're wearing something different. Luckily for us, after G ate spaghetti and Baby L dumped half a large pop on herself, there was a store nearby to make them look presentable again. 
Wish I could say they were this smiley all day! It was an absolute blast and we're so glad we went but wow. I tell you what, wow. Over-stimulation for 7 straight hours equals juvenile insanity. And tears. We were 5 for 5 on kids crying. Hopefully that's not what they remember bc it was tons of fun. And bc we're not doing anything like that again any time soon!