Thursday, June 14, 2018

Max eats everything

Max's first solid baby food was towards the end of May. He didn't really like it. But we've been giving him chances almost every day to try it in an effort to fill him up so he starts sleeping through the night better!  The kids love to help feed him, but Max also loves to feed himself now.  As his teeth come in, he loves to gnaw on stuff (his hands, my cheek, chin or shoulder or food) and is exploring other things to do with his mouth like sticking out his tongue and blowing raspberries! He takes this very seriously and will blow them for so long with such concentration. 









Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Summer progress and Max eats strawberries

We finished the demo! We debated taking out both walls around the closet area for a while. Well, actually, Chris always wanted to take both out, I'm was the only one debating for a while. I couldn't decide which would be better/more versatile: having it be a totally open studio or a small living room with a separate bedroom.  In the end we went with a totally open studio since it would make the place feel bigger and it would allow more options... since you can always put up a divider of some kind. 



The kids have been pretty good at self-entertaining. Especially right after we get home from the library:


Max continues to grow and is starting to eat real food. We started him off with strawberries and his favorite thing about it wasn't eating it necessarily but squishing it between his fingers. 







Friday, June 8, 2018

Swimming Lessons

We signed the kids up for a week of swimming lessons. This year, Freddy got to take them too! He's such a happy, eager little boy. He was good and brave for everything except jumping in the water. He always told his teachers to "Get closer....closer.....closer...." in a tone of voice like he's excitedly leading them on a hide and seek game. And then he'd jump as far as he could and practically land on their head. Haha. 



They put Charlie in the top group since he didn't seem nervous about swimming the entire length of the pool. Gwen and Alec and one other boy they broke off to be able to help them more, but Alec would've been fine in either group.





Meanwhile Max and I would sit at the tables outside the pool and pass the time talking with other moms. Max would enjoy watching the kids if I let him stand on the top edge of a chair back so he could see over the wall.  Gwen offered to trade the toy she picked out of the treasure box with another little girl who was crying about the toy she got. It was so nice and big of Gwen. I'm so proud of my kids. 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Shooting and Motorcycle rides with the Picards

Ryan Picard was our home teacher before the newly announced Ministering program changes. The kids have been begging him to give him a ride on his motorcycle so one Saturday Ryan, texted and asked if that day was a good day to come over. Every kid got a ride and enjoyed it! Even for just the few minutes that the motorcycle sat in the sun while we first talked about things, the seat got so hot, we needed to cool it off with a cool, wet, rag.  The helmet BARELY fit Freddy. Ha! Freddy's arms were so small, and the helmet so big that he couldn't fit his arms around Ryan with his head facing forward so he had to turn his head to the side. Ryan said 1/2 way through the ride, he felt Freddy's arms go a little slack and worried that the heat and vibration was putting Freddy to sleep so he had to quickly come back. hahaha. 





While Ryan and his cute wife Emily, who I work with in Primary, were over for the motorcycle rides, the kids begged Ryan to bring his little kid guns over to let them shoot. Ryan and Emily were so sweet and obliged a few hours later after buying some rounds (which he wouldn't let me pay for!) at Walmart.  He let them shirt the kid-sized shotgun and a handheld pistol.  He set up 2 targets about 40 yards away.  The kids LOVED it. Turns out Gwen is a sharp shooter! She was the first to hit the smaller target and continued to hit it almost every time! Impressive.






This one one of the highlights for the kids this summer. Chris and I were so busy remodeling the guest house with every possible spare minute that the kids were mostly left to fend for themselves and we didn't do a whole lot of out-of-the-house fun. 

Of course, Ryan let Chris and I have a go with the shotguns and pistols too. I wasn't good at the shotgun like Chris, but I did better with the pistol.  I can totally see why people do this for fun and it makes me interested in getting a gun.



Friday, June 1, 2018

Summer project and summer fun!

YUM! look at that sweet face. Theres no story behind this picture of Max, only that he's super cute and has the most kissable cheeks (although I may have said that about all of my babies).  I bring him into our bed most mornings to feed him around 5:30/6:00am. I hate to be awake at that time, but I love these morning snuggles and his precious, loving looks in the morning... like he did something hard by being away from me all night and is finally basking in my presence or something.  That sounds weird and its hard to describe.

So.... we decided to remodel the guest house! This couple contacted our President Linford, our branch president and asked if anyone in the branch had a little apartment or something they wanted to rent out. They are looking for something for only 9 months or so and most places in town were asking for a year's lease. Chris and I had already told our trek daughter, Emma Grace, that she's welcome to live with us if she needed a place in Starkville while she goes to college and so we've been thinking about cleaning out the guesthouse for her, but then we found out she would only need a place for a 2 months and the money to completely redo might not be worth the meager rent we'd charge her for 2 months. Then this couple came on our radar and we thought 9 months rent would make it more possible and Emma Grace was ok with living IN our house for the short time she needed a place.  We were hesitant to start on demo until we were SURE it'd work out to have renters, but with summer underway, we really needed to get started.

Demo Day(s).


A view directly inside the front door. Theres the AC unit and water heater within a few feet of the door, and then a small (chemestry lab style) sink and a rickety counter to it's right.  Then a door on the left would take you into a small closet area with a bathroom to the right. The bathroom was poorly designed and obviously made with scrap left overs - a large pedastol sink that left about 10 inches of clearance to squeeze onto the toilet and 3-wall tiny shower with a dingy curtain next to that.  Then there was another doorway that led into the back room that felt fairly spacious compared to the rest of the place.


Our plan was to knock out some walls and really open it up as much as possible. We had to re-position the water heater and change the AC to an over the head wall unit. We originally planned on leaving the drop ceiling and just replace whatever wall tiles we needed but once we started the demo on the old stuff we just couldn't stop and wanted to take out everything!  We were just piling all the debris on the ground outside while we figured out how to get a dumpster.  Before we took down anything potentially structural, we called our contractor, Vick Pitts from our kitchen remodel to come look over things with us. He helped us find a dumpster guy and recommended some plumbers. It was so helpful!




Despite my own feelings and tendencies, we couldn't just work on our project 24/7. Chris still needed to go to work and the kids needed some summer fun. My good friend, Audra helped get us out of the house for Lake Tiak-o-khata's opening weekend. Max's first time in the water outside!  Remembering how fun we had at the lake the few times we went last summer when Freddy was independant enough to just wade and hang out in the shallows with a life jacket and floaty and the big kids off doing whatever with friends, I didn't fully prepare myself for how challenging it is to be at the beach with a baby.

Someone pretty much had to hold Max the whole time, even during his naps. I laid him down once under the shade of an umbrella all wrapped up but he woke up right away. It was SO SO SO hot. These pictures make it look really nice but it was so so humid and high 90s. Even the shade was sweltering.  Alec was so helpful though. He never complained once and even though he didn't have a friend his age to play with, he entertained him self wonderfully and played with Freddy or other little kids.  He's amazing in circumstances like this.






It would've been pretty difficult without my friends there to help hold Max and assist Freddy or the kids with food when ne



Good thing Max is so cute!!


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

End of School Year!

All of the kids' Awards Assemblies happened while Chris was gone in Florida, so Max, Freddy and I went.  Alec wanted to dress up a little this year. (In past years, he doesn't want to stand out at all and will wear school uniforms no matter what) He looks so handsome!! He's such a good looking kid, he looks so much like Chris, lucky boy.  His VIVA art class this year (that he had to try out for at the end of last year) did cool fundraising thing with making wooden blocks and selling them. (Which, admittedly I wasn't super happy with when it happened.  There are always a million fundraisers it seems. This one in particular felt a little forced since Alec told me that if we didn't buy one, he wouldn't be able to make one. Anyway, they ended up making over $2,000! The kids chose to donate most of it to other groups, like charities and to a boy in our school district that got diagnosed with Cancer a month or so ago.  It was a neat opportunity for Alec. 



Then, of course, there are all the good grade awards. Alec got a Presidential award and a few others for good grades.



Gwen and Charlie actually didn't have any awards assemblies (that I was aware of!) But they each got straight As this year and are amazing students. 

For some reason, I thought it was a good idea to invite a bunch of kids over for an end-of-the-school-year party. Alec invited 4 or 5 friends from his team (including a girl Chloe... ooOOooo) :) And Charlie had his friends Dash and Brennan over.  I didn't have any more seats for more people.  We got out the water fun with our little wading pool, sprinkler and whatnot and I had some treats. Hurray for Summer!