Jacob loves animals! He really enjoys Sophie and usually remembers to be gentle with her.
Lately Jacob has wanted to carry Sophie. He’ll follow her, saying, “I wanna grab her!”
It’s a good thing Sophie is a patient puppy!
Our morning was fairly normal- dishes, cleaning, and lots of laundry- but our afternoon got a little crazy. I was getting ready to get take everyone to gymnastics. Things were already a little crazy because we were running late, the little boys needed diaper changes, and everyone was scrambling for socks and shoes.
Then the dogs got out. Ever since Tucker got lost in October, he was discovered the joys of running through the neighborhood. It’s stressful because he is hard to catch and he doesn’t remember where he lives so he usually ends up running into someone else’s front door. After our experience in October, I am always afraid that he won’t come home.
Rick’s parents gave us a dog collar, the kind that beeps near a certain boundary and then gives the dog a small shock if he doesn’t stop running. Unfortunately, it only works some of the time. When it works, it works great. It took Tucker two shocks before he started responding to the beeping noise by racing for home. But there are times when it doesn’t beep and doesn’t shock and Tucker can run as far as he wants. We are still trying to figure out why it doesn’t always work.
This afternoon when Tucker slipped out, the collar didn’t work. He raced away, not even looking back when we called for him. Sophie, who is usually good about staying home, succumbed to peer pressure and darted away with Tucker.
Grumbling to myself, I got my shoes and went after the dogs. It took a while to chase them down, and I’ll admit I wasn’t happy about it.
When I got home with a naughty puppy under each arm, I hurried to finish getting everyone ready to leave for gymnastics. It was then that I discovered that Asher was locked in my bedroom. I jiggled the handle and called through the door, asking Asher to unlock it.
“Okay, Mommy,” he responded. “I unlock it.” Then he ran and slammed himself into the door as if he was trying to knock it down. No matter how much we coaxed him, we couldn’t get him to actually unlock the door.
Our one key was missing and after searching it for a while, I decided it was time to take the door knob off. But then I realized that the screw driver was in my bedroom, locked in with Asher. So I ran up and down our street, to four different neighbors’ houses, looking for a screw driver. When I finally found one, it took me another 15 minutes to get the knob off the door. I finally succeeded and there was Asher, grinning up at me as I opened the door.
Needless to say, Brenna was late for gymnastics this afternoon.
As we drove to gymnastics, I told the kids that I was sorry we’d had such a stressful time getting out the door and apologized if I’d acted frustrated towards any of them.
Braden, obviously hoping for a treat of some kind, instantly piped up, “Okay, now what are you going to do to cheer us up?” I laughed out loud at his response; he’s always fishing for something!
And, just for the record, all that running and chasing and stress did nothing to start labor. I really thought Baby Boy would be here by now, but it seems that our little guy has a mind of his own already. Honestly, it’s rather comical. Just when I think I know my body and my typical labor patterns, Baby #7 bucks the system and throws us all for a giant loop. This is especially ironic after the three weeks I just spent on bedrest!
I went downstairs and found the dogs barking at the front window. As soon as they saw me, they ran to the front door and barked even more persistently. I wondered if there was someone at our house so I peeked out the peep hole and didn’t see anything. I was almost ready to walk away, but there was something so urgent about the dogs’ barking and body language that I decided to open the front door.
I found my two-year-old, wearing just a diaper, standing on the front porch! Yikes!
I scooped Asher up and held him close, feeling so thankful for my smart little dogs and so thankful that Asher was safe because of their persistence.
“I finding Daddy,” Asher explained as I squeezed him tightly.
I know Asher had only been outside for a moment. Rick had left less than a minute before. Asher had tried to follow him, but we stopped him. Apparently he had then slipped out the front door when no one was looking.
Even though I knew he couldn’t have been outside for more than a minute, it still terrified me. I was shaking as I held my baby boy and imagined all the horrible things that could have happened to him. He could have gotten lost or hit by a car or taken. I cried as I held him. It was so scary to think about all the bad things that could have happened.
The logical side of me said that it wasn’t my fault because I didn’t even know he could get out the front door on his own. But, for the most part, I just felt like a horrible, horrible mom!
I am so, so thankful for Sophie and Tucker. I am 100% certain that they knew Asher was in potential danger. Their barking and general behavior was so unusual and so urgent. They were letting me know that Asher was outside. If it hadn’t been for the dogs, I wouldn’t have even suspected that Asher was outside alone.
Now that Asher is tall enough to escape out the front door, we are buying a chain to put at the top of our door.
Tucker is a bad dog. Adorable, yes. Totally loved, for sure. But lately he’s been very, very naughty.
He got lost the week of Halloween and it was honestly a miracle that we got him back. Since then he has decided that it’s fun to run. Whenever he gets the chance, he slips out the front door and bolts. He’s not a very smart dog though so he usually goes home to the wrong house. If this keeps up, I worry that eventually he will not come home at all.
Today he and Sophie got out of the backyard. They must have dug a new hole under the fence. Sophie came right home when I yelled for her, but Tucker took off. I decided to chase him down because I really do worry that our naughty pup will disappear one day and never come back.
The other kids were not minding well while I went after Tuck. I asked them to stay in the house with the door closed, but they kept opening the door anyway. This allowed our other small creatures to escape from our house. I ended up chasing after two dogs and one toddler who were all going in different directions. Thankfully, Asher was actually pretending to be a dog so he was crawling around and barking and he wasn’t very fast. The real dogs were the ones that were hard to catch!
I was still in my jammies and socks (I’m trying to rest today because of contractions) and I was chasing (read: waddling after) two bad dogs as they darted around the common area of our neighborhood and I was being followed by a barefoot toddler who was crawling along the ground and barking. We must have been quite the sight! Nothing like a 15 pound puppy to make you feel like a complete fool.
I caught Sophie first and handed her to Brenna (who was also in her pajamas) to take home. Then I chased after Tucker with Asher still barking and woofing and crawling along in the damp grass. A neighbor offered to help and she was able to catch Tucker. Then she scooped up my “other puppy” (Asher) and carried him home for me. I was so grateful for her help! (And only slightly embarrassed to have her see me in my ratty pajamas.)
We are all home now and the front door is shut tight. No more escapes today, please. I am now spotting thanks to all that running around, so I am back to resting. The house will likely fall apart before Rick gets home from work tonight, but I feel like I need to put my feet up now more than ever.
We have enjoyed a wonderful trip over the last few weeks. Unfortunately, Rick had to work so we left him home (Sophie stayed behind to keep him company). The kids and I loaded up the van and spent nearly two weeks visiting family out of state.
The fun began with a reunion for Rick’s side of the family. We met at Grandpa and Grandma’s farm. Most of the families pitched tents out on the lawn, but a few of us stayed indoors at night. After a grocery run, we spent all of the first day simply enjoying the sunshine. The adults sat around and talked and napped in the shade of Grandpa’s giant tree, while the many cousins played together. They splashed in the wading pool, had water balloon fights, created a super-size slip-n-slide down the big hill in back, got in a mud fight, shot arrows for target practice, climbed trees and rigged a tarzan swing, and had a blast together. They helped feed the chickens and visited Mama Kitty and her new baby kittens out in the shop.
That evening, the younger kids had a cousin movie night while the older ones and many of the adults went out to the movies. Brenna, just reaching an age where she wants to be involved with the older cousins instead of the younger ones, was heartbroken that she couldn’t go. I wanted to take her, but knew Joshua and Maddie would want to go along as well. I didn’t have the money for that, I hadn’t had a chance to research the movie the kids were going to see, and there wasn’t room in the suburban for the kids carseats. Ultimately, it made more sense to leave all of my kids home with Grandma and Grandpa and all the cousins closer to their ages, rather than take them out to the movies with the older kids. Aunt Elaine stayed home as well and she stepped in to comfort and distract Brenna (who was the only cousin sad to stay home) by letting her pick out giant stickers to print for her bedroom walls. I saw Eclipse with girls and really enjoyed it. I came home at nearly midnight to find all my kids, as well as the rest of the younger cousins, sound asleep. The adults stood around in the moonlight and talked and laughed while the older cousins played night games in the dark.
The next day we packed up and drove to the lake. We spent the day there, eating, playing, relaxing, swimming, and riding the jet skis. All my kids loved the jet skis. I could hear Maddie’s excited screams from across the lake and Braden begged and begged for another ride. Even Asher got to sit on a jet ski, but he became nervous as the waves made it bob up and down. I took a hard fall on the slippery shore of the lake, but thankfully both the baby in my tummy and the baby in my arms (Jacob) seemed to be okay.
That evening we had another delicious dinner outside. Braden, who had been allowed to relieve himself in the weeds by the lake earlier in the day, made everyone laugh and his mommy blush when he dropped his pants during dinner and went potty on the lawn.
As darkness fell, we went down the hill and out near the fields to start a big campfire. The cousins all wore glow bracelets and necklaces and we made enormous s’mores with giant marshmallows and fudge-covered cookies.
I took my kids in the house in pairs. I started with Asher and Jacob. I gave them a warm bubble bath (Jacob’s bath time was short though because he disliked Asher’s constant splashing and wiggling). I put Jacob to bed and then Asher and I snuggled and watched NickJr. A warm bath and some mindless TV is the magic recipe for getting an over-tired toddler to sleep- Asher was out within minutes.
I joined my older kids for more s’mores and then brought Maddie and Braden in for their baths. It was late and they were exhausted. They went to sleep quickly.
Brenna and Joshua really are growing up. This was the first year that I left them to play outside with their older cousins rather than putting them to bed. They played games in the dark- kick the can, hide and seek, and a few other random games. They had so much fun! It warmed my heart to know how much fun they were having. It’s fun to stay up late, but it’s even more fun to stay up late on a summer night, on Grandpa’s expansive property, with 20 cousins to run around with. I’m thankful that they had that chance. Cousins are great!
It was midnight when I finally brought them in. I gave them quick baths while they excitedly told me of their adventures outside. They weren’t disappointed to come in before the older kids, they were just thrilled to have joined them in the first place. They both fell right to sleep and, with all my kids in bed, I went to sleep quickly too. (I heard that Grandpa told the rest of the cousins to go to be bed when they were still playing around 2am.)
Sunday morning, we enjoyed breakfast as a family and then the kids and I packed up and left for my parents house. We had a wonderful time at the family reunion. It was sad to leave, but we were glad for the good memories and we were excited to see my side of the family as well.
At my parents’ house, we celebrated all the July birthdays (my brother’s, Asher’s, Maddie’s, and my own) with dinner, a group party, ice cream sundays, and presents. It was fun. Afterwards we watched a movie together and the kids stayed up late.
We began Monday with a trip to the ER. The short story is that Joshua got bitten by a spider at Grandpa’s house, his leg became very swollen and red, his pediatrician recommended an ER visit, and he was fine in the end. I’ll share the longer version in another post.
We visited my Grammy and helped her vacuum and shake out her rugs. I put Jacob down for a nap and then fed the kids an early dinner. In the evening, we went to Uncle Jonny and Aunt Michelle’s house. The cousins played and then we all watched Shrek 3 together. Once it got dark we roasted marshmallows over their fire pit and made s’mores. The kids played in the grass together. We stayed late and had a great evening. It was sweet of Jonny and Michelle to invite us over and host such a fun party.
On Tuesday, cousins Kylie and Taylor came to play. The kids ran through the sprinklers together and painted large rocks with water and paint brushes. We spent the afternoon talking and playing. We had another late night and lots of fun.
Wednesday, while my parents worked at the Temple, the kids and I visited friends. We used to live just 20 minutes from my parents home and we made many life-long friends during our six married years there. We spent the morning with friends at a large, new, crowded park and brought a baby gift for their new little girl. The kids all had fun together.
At lunch we said our good-byes, ate in the van, and then met up with more friends at a different park. Bernadette and I have always been close. When we were young and our kids were tiny and our husbands were working and going to school constantly, we supported each other. Bernadette has always been like my sister and our kids get along wonderfully. We chose to meet at a park downtown, the one we used to play at every single day when we were apartment neighbors and our kids were small. It was sentimental to be there again. Our kids picked up and played as if they’ve never been apart. Bernadette and I sat in the shade and talked for hours. It was a wonderful afternoon. I am so thankful for sweet, dear, life-long friends… especially Bernadette!
In the evening, my sister-in-law Michelle and I went shopping together. She took her two-year-old daughter and I took Braden and Asher. The kids rode in a mechanical ride for 50 cents and loved it. We stopped for a few groceries and grabbed a movie while we were there. At home, once all the kids were in bed, the adults enjoyed the movie together.
Thursday was a blast! We celebrated Maddie’s sixth birthday with a makeover at a little spa. It was so fun and I took so many pictures, that I think I will save this for a special post all its own. Here I’ll just say that I’ve never seen Maddie quite so delighted! Several of her cousins came and it was a memorable day for all the girls. I was thrilled that I could make this precious girl’s biggest wishes come true this birthday! She is such a special girl and so very sweet and she deserves every happiness that I can give her.
Friday we had a wonderful day. We took a quick trip to get Maddie’s left ear re-pierced (more on that in another post). Then we spent almost the entire day at the water fountains. The kids spent hours and hours playing and splashing in the fountains while the four adults relaxed on a blanket in the shade. Jacob crawled around on the blanket, giggled and chewed on things, and took naps in the shade as he needed them. Papa bought everyone snow cones, Grammy bought everyone french fries. The kids played games of tag with other kids and they collected hundreds of tiny acorns under the oak tree. They were fascinated by them and wondered if they could sell them for a penny each.
The kids were exhausted by the time we arrived home. Papa made a massive bubble bath for them in their huge tub and the kids had a great time. We made beds on the floor and watched Enchanted together. When the movie was over, we snuggled up and listened while Papa told stories from his childhood and read from the life history that he recently recorded. The kids loved it! I thought it was so neat that my children had the chance to hear some of Papa’s childhood stories and it meant a lot to me because I Daddy’s bedtime stories are still some of my favorite childhood memories. It was a nice way to end our fun week with Nammy and Papa, with all the kids gradually falling asleep to the sound of Papa’s voice.
We had intended to stay through Monday so that we could see my brother William when he came home on Saturday night, but there was a family emergency and we needed to leave early. We left Saturday morning and returned to Rick’s parents’ house so that I could watch Kate, Eli, and Hailee for the afternoon and evening. Watching them wasn’t the actual emergency, but it was a chain of events in previous days that made it necessary. We were sad to leave Nammy and Papa, but we were happy to help Elaine and her kids. She does so much for our family that it’s always nice to return the favor.
The kids had a great time with their cousins and the 9 of them were more wound up than usual. I got the house cleaned up, fed the kids dinner (we played “hot dog restaurant,” put them all in pajamas, and then put a movie on for them. A few more cousins joined us for the evening. By 10pm everyone was in bed, with all but the youngest two “camping out” on the living room floor together.
Sunday morning we packed up, cleaned up again, and loaded the van. Aunt Elaine helped the kids cut out awesome vinyl stickers for their bedroom walls- their name and a few pictures for each of them, all in the colors of their choice. They were thrilled!
On the way home, we stopped at Kevin and Kami’s house to pick up our brand new puppy! This new addition is worthy of his own post as well, but for now I’ll just say that he is totally adorable and I think he’ll be a great addition to our family.
We made it home in the afternoon and we were so excited to see Rick! He was just as excited to see us. It was great to be reunited again. Sophie had missed us all and went crazy barking and licking and saying hello to everyone. It took her a while to settle down. We had a wonderful, fun, memory-filled visit with family. Even though it was sad to be without Rick for so long, I am so glad that we had the chance to go. Thanks to all the wonderful family and friends who made the last two weeks so fun and memorable!
I feel so behind in blogging these days. The days are extremely full and race past with amazing speed; I never find time to sit down and blog. Plus my laptop is having issues, which makes blogging at night in bed difficult. So here’s a brief update on what we’ve been doing lately.
Homeschooling is going incredibly well. The kids are learning and progressing and we’re all having a great time. Our workload is really heavy right now and our curriculum is time consuming. We spend a large part of each day homeschooling. I love our implementation of daily cover sheets and reading logs. The kids are thriving in homeschool, and each day this decision to educate our children at home is reaffirmed.
As usual, activities keep us hopping each afternoon and evening. We have kids running to gymnastics, wrestling, choir, drums, and cheerleading multiple times each week. Brenna now has Activity Days twice a month, Braden will be starting baseball in May, and the four older kids are signed up for swimming lessons.
Brenna is having a blast in her second season a Level 4 gymnast. SHe will be training as a Level 5 starting in June. Brenna loves gymnastics and competitions and all her friends. I love all the physical, social, and emotional benefits the sport offers her. She’s also still singing in the children’s choir and learning to play the piano, and she loves both. She has a great ear for music. Now that she is eight years old, Brenna is attending Activity Days at church twice a month. Her first activity happened to be a Mother/Daughter event and it was such a fun way to start off! We both had a great time! Brenna is doing great in school. She is bright and creative and inquisitive. Math continues to be her most challenging subject, but she is still a grade ahead in math anyway. She loves to read! Brenna is turning into a little “tween” right before my eyes. She loves her ipod and her friends. She loves clothes, shoes, and jewelry. She’s mature and helpful, a natural nurturer with the younger children. She enjoys cooking, sewing, writing, and taking pictures. Brenna is a sweetheart. Even when we have a disagreement, she is so careful to say “I love you” and so quick to say “I’m sorry.” She is a joy to be around. So even though she is growing up rapidly, we’re still not dealing with the attitude that pre-teens can sometimes have. I hope it stays that way! Brenna was baptized in April and her testimony is growing daily.
Joshua’s main sport is still wrestling. He’s had such a great wrestling “career” so far. He’s very talented, and he loves wrestling more than any kid I’ve ever met. He’s getting ready for the last big events of this season: AAU state, regionals, nationals, and AAU grand nationals. He’s put himself on a “no sugar” diet and is exercising to stay in shape. I’m so proud of his hard work in the sport of wrestling! He is starting up a lawn mowing business to earn money. He will put half the money he earns in his mission fund (he already has $250 in the bank for his mission!) and the other half will help fund next season’s national wrestling tournament. Joshua is only seven, but he is such a hard worker and I know he’ll do great with this new business of his! Josh is also still taking drum lessons. His teacher says he’s great at reading music. Joshua loves his piano lessons. He doesn’t have his Daddy’s ear for music, but he has a truly amazing ability to sight read! He’s taking a trial gymnastics class next week. We’re debating about enrolling him during the “off season”… that brief time in July that’s in between wrestling and football. Joshua is doing amazing in school. Everything comes easily for him. He loves math and catches on to it so quickly that I often joke that he doesn’t even need me as a teacher. As a 1st grader, he’s nearly finished with his 5th grade math curriculum and already has plans to attend college “early.” Josh is an amazing kid. He’s such a hard worker, so focused and determined and passionate about the things he loves. His testimony is so, so strong. On his own, he’s studying the scriptures daily. He’s already in 3rd Nephi in his personal reading of the Book of Mormon. Joshua is a great, loving big brother and such a good example.
Madalyn is delightful! She just started cheerleading. After months of waiting, she is loving it! I wish we’d started her sooner. Her coaches say she is catching on quickly and they want to move her up to the next level in May. Maddie is a darling cheerleader, especially with those big brown eyes of hers! Maddie is doing well in homeschool. She is “reading” but it still hasn’t totally clicked. She loves to learn. She’ll start piano lessons next fall and will probably join the youngest non-audition part of the children’s choir. She loves to sing and perform. Madalyn is such a sweet little girl. She truly has the most tender heart I’ve ever seen. She goes out of her way to help everyone. She never gets into trouble and she is so quick to help. Maddie is happy and full of life and she is enthusiastic about everything! She is so much fun!
Braden is nearly four now. Thankfully, he seems to be outgrowing his defiant, boundary-testing three-year-old habits. I’ve really worked to give him extra attention and that has made a huge difference in his behavior. (He was never really naughty before- he just liked to do little things to test boundaries and get attention and push his limits.) Braden still loves his tools and dinosaurs. He is currently obsessed with wrestling and baseball. In May, he gets to take an “itty bitty” baseball class at the rec center and he is thrilled. He talks about it constantly. Braden’s new best buddy is Joe Joe, the younger brother of Joshua’s friend on his wrestling team. He’s doing some homeschool and loving it. He loves his letter sounds and sight words. Braden has always been timid, but he’s really coming out of his shell now. He’s a little dare devil at the park now! Braden absolutely loves his younger brothers, and he is an excellent big brother to them. He is such a cuddlebug and he loves attention and hugs and kisses from his mama!
Asher is hilarious! He is at such a fun age. He mimics everything he sees. He talks well, through signs and words (my current favorite word that Asher says is “taco”). He loves to run, play, and climb. He thinks cars and balls are the coolest, and he has a great throw. He loves slides, swings, and riding his bike. Obsessed would not be too strong a word! Asher loves to wear Joshua’s old wrestling gear- shoes, singlet, and headgear. He loves to wrestle and workout, and he’s such a strong kid. Asher finally is over his fear of the bath and he now cries when I get him out of the bath instead of when I put him in it. He constantly finds me, and begins signing and saying “bath” at the same time. Asher loves the big kids and loves to be included. He adores Jacob and is always hugging and kissing him. Asher loves to read. He loves to participate in school, and he already knows about 1/3 of his letter sounds. Asher is such a fun little boy. He’s excited and curious about everything, so happy and social, very sweet, and a big time cuddle bug. He’s still my little miracle.
Jacob is a doll! He is so social and loves to interact with those around him. Jake’s not doing a lot physically (in the way of sitting, scooting, etc) because he’s so busy talking and interacting instead. He has the cutest smile and the best laugh ever! I love his big, dark eyes! Jacob is still on the small side, but he is filling out nicely. He has cute, fat thighs and darling, round cheeks. Jake is an easy baby. Even as he has battled repeated ear infections, he’s maintained his happy demeanor. Jacob is a good sleeper and a good eater. I am proud to say that we are STILL nursing! He does get some formula, but I am thrilled that we’re still breastfeeding in spite of all the pain and problems. Jacob has such a sweet soul. He is adored by every person in this family and he is such an incredible blessing to us!
Sophie, our little puppy (yes, I’m including the dog in this update because she is a part of the family), is so sweet with the kids. She puts up with them wrestling with her, pulling on her, sitting on her. She willingly takes anything the kids can dish out and she is so gentle and good with them. Sophie does have a naughty streak- she constantly tries to run out to the front door to explore the neighborhood. We’re working on that. Overall though, she’s a good girl. She loves her mama and keeps me great company when Rick is working nights.
Rick is doing well. Work is good. He enjoys his job and the people he works with. He’s putting in extra time in the hopes of “climbing the ladder” a bit more. I am so thankful for his hard work. I’m thankful that Rick has a good job and works hard to support our family so that I can stay home. Rick is working out again and eating healthy (it helps that Josh is his new work out buddy). I’m so proud of him! Rick is an amazing husband and an incredible father. I am so, so blessed to have him as my husband and my best friend and my companion for all of eternity.
I am also doing well. I find great joy in my family and in being a mother. Not every day is perfect, but each day is beautiful. Attitude makes such a difference in life. When I am thankful and cheerful in all things and when I study my scriptures daily, everything always goes better. I used to struggle to find time to study my scriptures by myself just once a day so I began to study them twice a day instead. That has been amazing in my life. I have been given much and I feel so blessed!
In general, our family is doing very well. Life is good. We love each other, we have fun together. We study the scriptures together daily and pray often as a family. I always tell the kids that even though they do many important things in their lives and even though they are good at many things, there are some things that are more important than anything else. Their personal relationships with Heavenly Father, their testimonies, nad their desire to follow the Savior are the most important things. Above all, I am striving to raise these children to Heavenly Father. It is ONLY with His help that I can. I am thankful for His help, guidance, and love in my life.
Well, let’s see… Here’s what’s been going on lately…
*We had an “Avatar Party” last night. We watched Nickelodeon’s Avatar and ate junk food that “related” to the four tribes… Salt WATER taffy for the Water Tribe, Pop Rocks for the Earth Tribe, cinnamon bears for the Fire Nation, and AIRheads for the Airbenders. It was lots of fun. Even Mommy is an Avatar fan now… I like that it’s a fun show for kids, clean and not too scary, teaches good morals and values, and that the kids enjoy it.
*The kids are already planning their Halloween costumes around the characters of Avatar. Brenna wants to be Katara and Joshua wants to be Aang. It’s strange to think that our tiny Jacob will be ONE by the time they wear the costumes they are planning! Wow!
*Asher has learned how to climb into the bathtub and turn on the water. The kids have still not learned to keep the bathroom doors closed, but we’re working on it. Funnily enough, Asher still hates taking an actual BATH.
*Jacob is rapidly becoming my little hip baby. He’s got the strength and balance to perch on my hip during the day, and he’s starting to really enjoy the view from there!
*I’m behind on laundry… but working through it as fast as my washing machine can handle it. We produce about 2 loads of laundry every day so it’s easy to get behind.
*Our dog, Sophie, got a bath today because she rolled in… well, you know. Thankfully, Rick bathed her for me!
*We’re planning for a huge local tournament this weekend, and it will officially mark one year of Joshua wrestling competitively. The following weekend, we’re driving far away to attend another national tournament.
*The spring competition season of gymnastics starts this month. Brenna is thrilled! Let the juggling begin!
Josh was scratching the dog’s tummy when he suddenly became very serious and gave her chest an abdomen a closer inspection. “Hey,” he said after a moment. “Sophie has six drinking holes!”
We had a marvelous Fourth of July, as we do every year. We woke the kids up early, dressed them all in their festive, coordinating Fourth of July clothes and drove south to the big, annual parade, grabbing breakfast on our way. We took our dog, Sophie, along. She did so well in the crowds and was like a tiny, four-legged celebrity and strangers tried constantly to pet her. As we waited for the parade to start, rain began to fall in great, big, icy cold drops. It was surprising and cold, but we toughed it out. Once the sun came out, it got very hot and we ended up wet and sticky and hot.
We enjoyed a delicious lunch. We’d planned to make grilled kabobs, but Rick got a last-minute craving for BLT sandwiches so we had that instead. Along with our yummy BLT’s, we enjoyed strawberry jello with strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows mixed in, potato salad, lots of fresh fruit, chips, drinks, and other appropriate picnic fare.
Rick played patriotics songs on the piano and we took time to discuss the birth of our great nation. The kids were attentive and sweet and curious as we talked, and I found myself quite emotional as I explained it all. I told the kids about how Heavenly Father made this country possible and the people who died as they fought for freedom. We talked about each line in the National Anthem and imagined how it would feel to live those words. We spent some time singing patriotic songs as Rick played them on the piano.
I made a batch of chocolate gluten-free cupcakes. While they baked and cooled, the kids and I worked together to make festive rice krispie treats… pink with blue sprinkles and cut out in the shape of stars. I filled the kitchen table with three colors of frosting (red, white, and blue of course), lots of sprinkles, whipped cream, fresh fruit, and tubes of icing to write with. The kids had a blast decorating lots and lots of cupcakes, and I loved- as I always do- seeing their creativity shine!
We spent several hours at the park, enjoying the coolness and the magic of a summer evening. We played in the grass, chased our adventurous Asher, and enjoyed a picnic dinner. Asher loved the soccer ball that Brenna brought and, when the older kids weren’t using it, he spent a lot of time pushing it forward in the grass and then crawling rapidly after it. Baby Soccer. It kept him quite entertained. After several hours of waiting, the sun disappeared and the sky grew dark and it was time for fireworks.
The show was spectacular this year, with lots of big, beautiful fireworks and great music. It seemed longer than usual. Our kids were delighted. Braden giggled and clapped with delight. Asher was fascinated. However, being small and still going sans nap that day, Asher fell asleep on Daddy’s chest before the show was over. We left late, fought traffic, and got home after midnight. We skipped street fireworks and put most of our sleeping kids to bed in their pajamas.
It was a wonderful day, filled with memories. I enjoyed my time with my family. I reflected a lot upon the freedoms that we enjoy. I thought a lot about Asher, and about how last year I was big and pregnant and having contractions and wondering when this baby boy would arrive. It was sentimental for me to recall that day, just one year ago and a few days before Asher was born. I also felt grateful to pregnant again, to be carrying another sweet son within me. Rick and I also speculated about future Fourth of July celebrations, imagining how it will be when we share this holiday with 8 kids, 10 kids, 13 kids, and so on. It was fun to imagine the future.
Sophie, our cute (and sometimes naughty) little Shih Tzu, has been in need of a haircut for some time. Life gets so busy for us, that a trip to the groomer is often my last priority. This week I finally scheduled an appointment for our unkempt little pup. Sophie’s fur had grown so long that is was quite matted in several places. The groomer had to shave her quite close to get under some of those mats. Poor Sophie’s fur is now so short that she is almost bald. She looks like a black chihuahua. The change is so drastic that we joke that we wouldn’t even recognize her if it weren’t for her still poofy tail and that fact that she seems to know us all so well. At least she’ll be extra cool during the hot summer. And at least her fur will grow back.