Monday, August 17, 2015

Trek family reunion and other stuff

We had a fun stake-wide Church youth activity... a survivor themed Standard's Night on Saturday. I came up with the idea and the other members of the Stake Young Women's presidency just embraced it and brought lots of really fun ideas to the table. We had a lot of fun and I think the youth did too. At the end of the night we had planned to watch a slideshow of the pictures from TREK and having a mini reunion for all the families. This meant that Chris needed to be there too which meant, we were bringing our whole crew. Chris took car of them in a side classroom while I ran around like crazy during the activity then he came out for the Trek reunion part and we reunited with 4 of our 7 Trek kids. It was really fun to see them all together again and hang out and reminiscence and introduce them to their younger siblings. We missed Kobe, Brody, and Tyson!

One day we found out about this local (Sturgis) bikers rally that was coming through town 45 min after school. So we parked near the main highway and watched a movie while we waited. The bikers came through and it was fun to see them (even if it sort of made me dizzy!) Not sure we'll do it again next year, but it was fun to see once. 

Cute Frederick moment 'reading' on the beanbag. He cuddles up with a blanket and pillow and babbles out loud as he turns pages.

Grandma Dixie's birthday presents for Gwen came! So fun to see her in the ballet clothes. 

While my friend Christy was here she helped me get the built-ins above the washer and dryer primed and chalked and Charlie helped me paint it. It looks really nice! I'm so glad we did this.

All the kids love to play with Freddy when they get home from school and Freddy seems to be a more willing playmate, now that he has more alone time in the mornings. Him and Charlie kept these hooded sweatshirts on outside for a long time... in 100 degree heat! 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

First day of school

School starts early here in the South. We had dangerous heat indexes for the first couple of days. Supposed to feel like 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit! Know what that means? It means no recess. Poor kids. But still they are all so excited to go. Especially Gwen. She mentioned a few times that she was nervous but she never complained or cried or anything. She was all smiles from the minute she woke least I assume so since they all woke up and were dressed before Chris and I.  We were grateful to be given a bunch of extremely well kept handmedown school uniforms for Gwen from a friend who moved out of state. At first she complained that all the polo shirts and kahki and black shorts/pants were "boy clothes" and cried when she saw them. But after showing her there was also some skirts and trying to point out details like polkadot ribbon on the inside trim of the collars she stopped complaining. She even wanted to try them all on the day before school started. Haha... I don't know where she learned it but she would strut and pose a bit in each outfit. Gosh, she's growing up. 

Alec goes to 3rd grade, Charlie enters 1st grade and Gwendolyn starts Kindergarten! 

Freddy looks confused in all this pictures because we had to wake him up. Our morning routine is going pretty smoothly. Chris and I have an alarm that rings at 5:20. At 6:05 we get out of bed and one of us wakes up the kids while the other starts breakfast (we're trying to only have cold cereal 2 times a week) usually mush, oatmeal, eggs and toast, or apple toast, sometimes pancakes or German pancakes. Then at 6:30 we all sit down and eat breakfast together while Chris reads the scriptures out loud.  Sometimes I'll go around with a spray bottle and a brush and do the boys hair while they eat. Lunches, snacks and backpacks are all packed the night before. Then 6:55 potty time, teeth brushed (which actually rarely happens) and family prayers so that Chris and the kids can load into his little car and drive away at 7:00am. 

But the first couple of days, we all go in the van so I can walk any of the kids to their classrooms that want me to. Car pool drop off is CRAZY this first week and we wait for a while and barely get Alec to class ontime, but know that Charlie and Gwen will be late since they're at a different school. For Alec, its his first year at the 3-5th grade school: Henderson Ward Stewart. Drop off was so backed up that I had time to take a picture of Alec infront of his school, walk him to his class, take another picture and walk back out to the car before Chris is even close to leaving the parking lot! I hopped right in. On to Sudduth Elementary

At Sudduth they don't let parents get out of the car in the carpool drop off spot, so we planned to park and all go in, but parking and traffic is so backed up and the kids are already late so Chris dropped us off near the front office and waited in the car with Frederick.  I wondered if Gwen is going to go all shy and clingy and not want me to leave the classroom like she did last year at preschool so we walked Charlie to his classroom first. He was so excited to have his good friend Dash in his class again. He practically ignored me as soon as he walked in his room. He has Ms. Black (1st year teaching) and Ms. Brown as teachers.  Gwen has We walked alllll the way across the school to the Kindergarten hallways (theres over 1000 children at this school with only K-2 grades) Gwen really IS growing up! She did so great and walked right in (albeit at a turtles pace) and found her hook to hang up her backpack, let me take a picture with her teacher. Ms. Walls and then she just stood by the door and smiled for a while. I got a "I love you" out of her before leaving and I stayed just out of sight for a bit wanting to watch her longer. Good thing I still have Frederick waiting for me back in the car to fill my craving for chubby little arms wrapped around my neck. 

I blissfully imagined subdued mornings getting the house clean, while Frederick plays with toys, at least brainstorming dinners if not slightly prepping them, having a tidy little lunch with Freddy and often Chris, then quiet afternoons of preparing church lessons, sewing, organizing while Frederick sleeps. HA! Turns out Freddy isn't so self entertaining as I thought he was. He must really only love playing by himself when it means he's older siblings aren't trying to clobber him or make him do stuff. He must really really be used to chaos because he practically cries at my feet all day long, if I'm not holding him or playing with him. When I do sit down near him while he plays with cars, trying to sort mail or *tons* of school papers, he'll bring his car ramp so it's half on my legs and then position himself with his little bum up and neck turned looking back at me, trying to sit as close as possible to my face. If I'm laying down, his favorite place to sit is on my neck. If I get up to walk across the house to grab my shoes, or go to the bathroom, he'll start crying, run after me, grab some piece of my clothes or my finger if he's lucky and hold on with a vice grip... probably 'cuz he knows from experience I can quickly unlatch myself and try and reach or put away this or that.  And who was I kidding? A tidy little lunch?? Freddy is still the champion messy eater no matter what it is we're having for lunch. Although all my dreams are realized during nap time. With lunch at 11:30ish, and naps until we leave to pick up the kids at 2:15 its a calm, quiet house for at least 2 hours. Big slow breath in and out, now smile. 

At 2:15 I get Frederick up and load him and snacks and books in the car in an attempt to entertain him for the next hour and a half. We picked up Alec first the first little bit of school. I wait in his carpool pick up line from 2:30-3:10ish then once he's in the car, we head over to Sudduth and wait in their carpool line for 20 minutes and then get home around 3:45. WHEW. Now the battle for patience and cool calm parenting begins and goes strong until the last kid is tucked in around 8:00pm. But thats for another time. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Summer days

This is the first summer we haven't moved in 5 years. And 5 years ago, the summer Gwen was born, we moved twice! We had an entire month at home this summer without any major plans or trips. It has been SO NICE! I was actually quite nervous for it since the kids usually quarrel and fight so much when they're all at home together, and also because its so HOT and muggy outside I knew the house would just be a disaster every single day AND also because there's pretty much nothing to do inside, in town for kids for free (well thats not true, there is the library and we did go there at least once a week..) Anyway the point is, I wasn't sure how much I would like summer and turns out I like it just fine. I let the kids watch a movie every single day and after getting them to realize cleaning up a few things doesn't actually take that long we've managed to keep the house relatively tidy! As well, I've gotten better at ignoring messes. 

One Sunday afternoon the kids built this elaborate "house" with blankets and pillows and whatnot. Each of them had their own space and they moved the couches together in a great big bed for Chris and I. They really wanted to sleep there so we had a little family sleepover in the play room.  I only consented because I was fairly confident I could read the book we'd been reading together aloud (The Rithmatist), long enough for Gwen and Charlie to fall asleep. I was right. But I wasn't serious about Chris and I sleeping there with them. Except when Chris got in his pajamas and fell asleep at 9:00 on his side of the couch, I followed suit. I slept horribly and was so tired the next day. We realized later that both of us thought the other of us wanted to sleep there and was just going along with it for the other one. HA. Guess we need to work on communication. Always communication. :) 

Other current everyday moments:

Frederick playing peek-a-boo with the sheer curtains in my room. He can sit behind there and play for a bit, then climb out grab a new toy and re-situate himself back behind the curtain for a long time. 

Indoor picnic with a friend or two. This cutie pie is our neighbor girl. She's adorably, completely southern. And that is Alec trying to run away from the camera. He's fast, but not fast enough.

The dinner hour is always Freddy's crankiest times and I can get really frustrated standing at the stove or the sink with him standing at my feet, crying, trying to push me away from it. One day Chris was home early enough to take him. Instead of sitting down on the floor watching Freddy hand him this block or this car, I suggested he take Freddy out for a ride on the lawn mower....and mow the grass while he's out there! Two birds, one stone. It was great and with Frederick strapped safely to Chris' chest with a baby carrier, they were out there for a good 45 minutes. Awesome idea... one point for Mommy! Awesome, patient, willing Daddy...2 points for Chris!

On Amazon Prime Day, (which we thought was totally NOT up to the hype or worth the effort) we did buy one thing on sale - this fly bike for Frederick. He loves it and rode on it for about a week straight. He's even mastered enough to take it outside and cruises down our long driveway. He's such a brave boy with a high tolerance for pain. 

And he loves being independent. He walks over to the pantry, reached up high for the box of raisins, grabbed some plastic spoons and then quickly ran away to find a quiet spot to feast in peace.  I still found him. His level of cuteness is like a beacon of light. That and the fact that it was pretty quiet and he wasn't in sight. Usually that means one of two things. He's either eating something he shouldn't or playing in the toilet...sometimes both at the same time.