Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Mark informed Mom and Dad: night before
Mark's participation in writing the essay: little to none
It seems that Alan and I could still make it in 5th grade. We got a 100% and received an honorable mention in the school wide competition.
Thank you to Uncle Rick for being the coolest Veteran with the best stories that we know. It made for an interesting and exciting essay.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
A quick announcement to all those who are out of town and I don't get a chance to talk to very often. We are pregnant again. I am 17 weeks along due April 20th. We just found out a few days ago that we are adding yet another boy to the house. I would expect nothing else. We love our boys. It would be nice for Eleanor to have a sister but it is not to be this time. It's a good thing that Alan and I want more children so we can try for girls another time.
Besides that we have had a ton of sickness in the last month. We think that everyone but me contracted swine flu and we all lived. It wasn't fun and it wasn't short but it is over now and they all have a beautiful immunity to it for next time. Our bodies are amazing. I have been gone a ton with my calling lately. I am the secretary for the Stake Young Women in a very busy stake. We were gone 8 days out of 14 of the last two weeks. It is a crazy calling but one that blesses me and my family (I hope).
Alan's business is going along. We have good months and not so great months but they are still in business and enjoying the ride. We can not be grateful enough for the good name his Father left us in the business.
Mark, Bradley and Eleanor started a new school this year. It is a charter school that focuses on the Spalding method, discipline, high expectations and focuses on our founding fathers and the importance of the constitution. It has been great for Eleanor. She adjusted beautifully and has straight 99-100% and Outstandings in all her classes. She has made tons of friends and is very happy. Bradley adjusted a little slower than Eleanor but is now doing quite well academically. He is still trying to make friends and feel secure there. He has attended four different Elementary schools now so he tends to be reserved for several months before he will let himself make friends. Mark has had a tough time all around. He doesn't have friends that he wants to invite over but he loves playing all the sports at recess and seems happy with the other kids at school. Academically it has been quite the wake up call for us. He went from being an A student to straight C's, D's and even and F. By fifth grade they expect the kids there to do quite a bit and don't review much but so much of the curriculum was brand new to Mark. He is improving drastically but still has a ways to go.
Luke and Darren are very happy playing at home, going to preschool and playgroup and love having Co-op (babysitting) at our house on our turn. If I haven't told you about co-op it is one of my most favorite things and one I highly recommend. They have discovered the word "jerk" and use it often but still love playing together.
We are happy and busy.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
For quite some time now my Luke has asked me everyday if he can go play at the Perry's (cousins) or sleep over. He absolutely loves being at their house and he loves Uncle Joe and Aunt Carri. He tells me everyday that he is going to marry his three year old cousin Allison and it doesn't matter if she is her cousin because he loves her and he is going to marry her. He gets upset when I tell him he cannot kiss her anymore and he cannot be with her everyday. Today he announced that he is going to go live with the Perrys forever until he dies to death. He also said that Alan and I can just get a new family and they will be Perry's now. I don't know if I should be really insulted or just really happy that he has such great relatives. Carri has to tell Luke all the time that he can't spend the night every night and that their house is really boring and all they do is work so he doesn't throw a fit everytime we leave their house. Aunt Carri is especially the favorite. She believes that Aunts and Uncles should only spoil their neices and nephews and she certainly does. She gives them anything and plays with them so cute. They all love her to death. They also have an amazingly fun house. They live on an acre on a street with five other families. The yards are almost all connected and the kids just run from house to house. The Perry's have a great merry-go-round, a huge swing set that you could almost swing so high that you do 360's around it, and a terribly dangerous teeter totter that spins in a circle and goes up and down. Six adults can easily fit on it and do often. They have had concussions and broken arms and multiple people that have had the wind knocked out of them on it. It is crazy but tons of fun. The Perry's know how to have fun and their house is a party most of the time. Luke is not the only one in my family that is in love with the Perry's. Darren knows all of their names and talks about them constantly. Uncle Joe was the first non family name that Darren could say. Mark announced on Sunday that "everybody loves the Perry's and it is a good thing that we have a pool so people will love our house too."
We all love the Perry's and are so glad they are a forever family and are related to us. Thanks for being such great friends but could you knock it off a little so my kids will want to live with me?
Sunday, April 26, 2009
We have had a fun and full week. We started the week on Monday with FHE at a member of our Stake Presidency's home for star gazing. In order to get ready for girls camp they had us over for treats and a cool night of star gazing with a man that new quite a bit about the heavens. It was a fun night even with Darren running all over and making way too much noise. There were about seven families there and we were definitely the noisiest. Everyone was super nice about it and Pres. Tilley was adorable with my boys. He wrestled with them for about 10 minutes. Wednesday was Darren's birthday and Thursday we had Pack Meeting. We started out with a dinosaur dig at the Riparian Preserve and then had awards. We have pretty ambitious boys in our pack so that always takes awhile. Bradley earned five belt loops, two pins, a silver arrow point and the cub scout outdoor activity award. Mark earned his Webelos badge, two activity pins, a compass point and four belt loops. I love the cub scout program. I would love to be released from the counselor over cub scouts and to be a den leader. Boys that age are crazy but a lot of fun. We just love our ward and how on top of scouting they are. It is great to have fabulous leaders that work so hard for your kids. On Friday my Mom called and told me my brother Colin and his new wife Paige were in town and could we please have a family party at our house. Of course. Alan and I love having parties. We had a ton of fun swimming, eating, playing volleyball and and the kids watching a movie outside while the adults played volleyball and talked. Living by family again is pure heaven. We missed it way too much when we were away. Saturday there was a Petersen family BBQ planned at our my in-laws but I asked Alan if we should call and offer it to be here since we had so much fun the night before. My mother-in-law was relieved to move it since they are busy getting ready to jet off to Europe for a quick trip to see their daughter and getting their house ready to go on a mission. We had another fun party with the Petersens. I was too tired to take any pictures of both of them. It is just too hectic to take pictures and host groups of 40+. We also had a primary activity day yesterday that went great. Luckily my part that I was in charge of was the games and took very little prep time. I love an easy assignment. I had sharing time today and it went fabulously. The spirit was so strong and the kids were absolutely silent, both junior and senior. They respond amazingly when you can invite the spirit and they feel it. I am so grateful for prayer and the power of preparation. What a blessing to feel the spirit. We talked about Jesus washing the feet of the apostles, serving our fellow man and becoming a Disciple of Christ by following his example. I love the Lord and I am so grateful to have a chance to teach his children in primary and to see how much faith they have and how sensitive they are to the spirit.
After stake leadership meeting and another camp meeting tonight we will be all ready to start a new week.
We love our Darren. He has been the sweetest and most adorable baby. Just a few weeks ago he decided to turn 2 a little early. He now wants to do everything, "myself, mommy," he hits me and anyone else that does not agree with him or immediately surrender to him whatever it is he wants, he usually adds a nice scream to that and he goes to time out about 100 times a day. Time out lasts about 15 seconds and then he is ready to come out and kiss and hug and say sorry. It is really adorable. When he is in time out he puts his nose on the wall and then covers his eyes. If he didn't have to go there so often on his own I might put him there for fun becuase it is so dang cute. He has been "potty trained" for almost three months now. That consists of him saying "bafroom mom" and me getting him on the toilet and so he can "finish" what he started. It is slightly frustrating but I would take this over diapers anyday especially since he wakes up dry 9 out of 10 nights. He talks like crazy. All of my kids have talked a lot young and it is very nice to understand what they want. Today in church he was looking at my neck and found a scratch and turned to Alan and said, "Daddy, don't ever hurt mom ever again. Don't scratch her ever again." He said it about 16 times. He then got down and was stroking my legs which I did not shave today and they were prickly. He was very concerned and kept saying, "Mom cut- scratch, don't cut ever again." Sacrament meeting is a night mare with him but he is so cute that you just can't stay mad for long. I love the way he speaks. All of my kids have spoken pretty clearly so when they speak any kind of baby talk I love it. He says all of his words that start with two consonants together with an uh between the two consonants like pu-lease, gu-ross, and Bu-radley. And just like Luke and Eleanor he loves food. He begs for lunch and snacks starting about five minutes after a meal. It is so hard to find nutritious snacks that don't fill him up much. We hope these terrible two's don't last forever but we will take them as long as we get Darren. He is definitely worth it.
We got to celebrate Darren's birthday a few times this week. It started with the morning birthday breakfast and then the next night when everyone could be home we had the birthday dinner and cake and presents and then both Friday and Saturday we had family over and celebrated again. Darren loved his Dinosaur bucket from Grandma Petersen. All of the kids have enjoyed playing with them. Darren loved helping to make the cake just as much as seeing it and blowing out the candle. We had to relight the candle seven times so he could blow them out again. That was his favorite part of his birthday. He has walked around all week repeating over and over again, "Darren's berfday, Darren's berfday."
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I really started to fall apart way back in September when I didn't blog about Mark on his birthday and I missed blogging about all of the holidays and few more birthdays. I cannot necessarily go back but I am recommitting to begin again and improve. I am such a morning person and I think it is mostly because of the thought that today is a brand new day and I can do anything and shape it anyway I want. I don't have to repeat my mistakes of yesterday.
A few things that have consumed me for the past while are of course my children who I love dearly and have had to neglect somewhat because of all the rest of my projects. I am currently the second counselor in primary over scouts and cub scouts has had one event after another lately that requires so much time. I just got to spend 3 and 1/2 hours last Saturday at Leader Specific Training. I had no idea about all of the training I would need for this calling. I was called about two months ago to go to girls camp on the stake staff over 3rd year certification. Another thing I had no idea the time committment when I said yes. I love girls camp and am so excited but yikes! It takes so much preparation and time. I have canned 34 quarts of boneless skinless chicken in the last week. I made 12 quarts of yummy strawberry freezer jam as well. I decided we really needed to have a garden this season!!!!! so I took on the project of building four 4x4 garden grow boxes. Alan did not appreciate the project but he took it on anyways. I spent over a week planning and purchasing all of the supplies and then on conference Saturday Alan built the boxes while I mixed the soil, filled the boxes with the soil and then planted the garden. It was an excruciatingly long and tiring day but the boxes turned out beautifully and I love it now. We hope to add 8 more boxes for the fall planting season. Supposedly that will be enough for our family to eat out of and to can and preserve. I am still exercising like crazy with my group of girls. I do not love it anymore. I am exhausted all of the time and sore and wonder daily just why I need to have this "six pack". I need to give up something and I really should give this up but I love being with my freinds and we work out at my house and when else will I find time to exercise besides at 5am? Only six more weeks of P90X. The last major thing that has kept me so busy lately is the darn coupons craze I am on. I am enrolled in Coupon Sense and I spend way too much time getting amazing deals. I rarely go to the store without saving at least 80% on my purchases. I get most things for less than .50 cents or for free. My shelves are completely loaded with food and we are acquiring our 3 month supply and year supply for really cheap but it takes way too much time. I will not do this forever but I feel a need to do it now.
I talked to my sister-in-law the other night about how busy I am and how much I hate it. A friend of mine said to me "Amy, you do everything!" I did not take this as a compliment at all. I feel horrible that I have myself spread so thin. I am not doing everything. I have let so many of the most important things slide. I rarely sing to my kids at night anymore or tell them stories. I don't spend enough time helping with homework and going through backpacks. I haven't gotten out that Faith in God book in about two months to help Mark and Bradley work on. I don't spend nearly enough time cherishing my kids and playing with them. I am missing too much. My sister-in-law was in a very similar situation a year ago when a horrible car accident brought her life to a screaching hault. I do not want to have to learn the lesson that way. She has changed her life a ton and is so happy. She is my inspiration in so many ways. We really have to prioritize and constantly reevaluate what is most important.
I am committing to cutting back. I can't cut out all of it but I am going to cut back and enjoy my kids more. I feel time slipping by way too quickly. Tomorrow when the kids want to swim I think I will actually get my suit on and swim with them instead of clipping coupons, watering the garden, reading or the hundred other things I can think of doing while watching them swim.
Tomorrow is a brand new day!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
6 cups pureed Strawberries (I just put them in the blender and blend to the desired consistency)
2 cups sugar (you can use less and it won't affect how much it jels)
8 Tbsp Ultra Gel
Puree the strawberries. Mix the sugar and Gel together and then add it to the strawberries. Stir them together. Mix well. Pour into jars or tupperware and freeze. This will last for three weeks in the fridge and much longer in the freezer. We are still eating jam from last year that tastes great.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Anyways, wish us luck and come join us anytime if you would like. After this race we are actually thinking of switching it up a little and doing that P90X (or whatever it is called).
Sunday, February 15, 2009
We had a Valentine night out but we stayed in. We started out going to "Petersens" a fabulous resturaunt complete with menu's and a several course meal. I even let them decide whether or not to have salad and vegetables. That was not easy but I did it. I was the server but had to change my title to"Matre De" so Eleanor would let me sit down and eat with them. We got out all of our china (which isn't much) and had a fancy dinner. I went a little crazy and made lots of really great food. The kids loved every bite. Earlier in the day Mark said he wasn't going to like anything I made. I told him I would pay him $10 if he didn't like it. He tried to say it wasn't good during the meal between bites that he was scarfing down and enjoying every bite. There was no money exchanged. We started out with a green salad, garlic cheesey bread and shrimp cocktail. For drinks we had strawberry daquiris and pina coladas. For our main course we had a fabulous marinated flank steak that was so tender and delicious with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus. For dessert we had a yummy homemade cherry pie and ice cream and chocolate dipped strawberries. The entire meal was exciting and so fun. It was great to have the kids feel "fancy" and to choose their meals. Each item was given a different love themed name and they had to order using those names instead of the name of the food.
After dinner Alan had heated the hot tub and lit the fire in the pool area. This was only the second time we had heated it and the first time the kids got in. It was great to spend this day showing my love for my family. I am so grateful for all of my Valentine's. (Alan and I even got some great romantic alone time after the kids went to bed.)
Friday, February 6, 2009
His language is exploding lately. He has even started simple sentences like "where mom go?" and "mom, milk please" and "mom, look gain gain(train)". He is in love with Thomas the train. He carries around a Thomas computer game that we have and shows everyone the train pictures. He is very good about saying please and "Kank you Mom." It is nice to have at least one polite child for the time being. He is still whispering but not as often as he used to. Anytime he really wants something he just whispers "mom, mom, mom" until I notice and then he asks for it. It is my absolute favorite. It is sweet and polite and so darn cute. When Alan comes home he just stays where he is and whispers, "Dad home, dad home." I will be so sad when he stops doing this all together. I have tried to get it on video but he is not good about performing on command. He only whispers when he feels like it and will not repeat. It is usually when everyone else is being loud. He has learned that it melts my heart every time and I will give him just about anything if he whispers. He loves to say people's name and does a pretty good job. He tackled Eleanor quite early. He calls her Nenenore. He says Ukey for Luke and can say Mark very wll. He does not however ever call Bradley by name. I don't know why but he just calls him Mark too.
Darren is very curious and climbs everywhere and gets into everything. He empties cupboards and opens everything to check it out. He, of course loves the kitchen still and rifles through the drawers and cupboards on a daily basis. I keep all of the plastic kid dishes in a low cupboard that they can all reach so he gets those out and sets the table with all of them. He loves to explore any cupboard. I find my makeup with finger marks in it and spread all over my bathroom. He loves to rummage through the pantry as well. Food is his main motivator. It is his constant pursuit. He loves to eat and snack all day long.
Darren is my buddy. He wants to be where I am and he loves to snuggle. There just isn't much not to adore about my sweet baby. His adorable eyes and smile sure don't hurt either.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Alan and I got to be spoiled rotten in November and go on a cruise. This was the first trip we had left all of the kids and gone somewhere by ourselves in ten years. We loved every minute. We did the seven day Mexican Riviera cruise on the Holland America Line. There were lots of things we loved about that line but one of the best was that it caters to the older crowd. There was a lot of older retired couples and some middle aged couples and even a few families. None of the hard core partiers and crazies. I guess we are most comfortable with that crowd. We had such a relaxing fun time. It was nice to take naps, eat whatever whenever, enjoy sun bathing, reading, being together all the time, the entertainment, getting to know other fun couples, participating in various shipboard competitions and being without kids. It was so nice but hard not to feel a little guilty for leaving our kids and having such a relaxing fabulous time. Every couple should get to do this from time to time. We would really like to get away together much more often than every ten years. It is just so healthy for your relationship. It felt good to just be us and not Mom and Dad. Next time we might like to go with other adult friends or family too.
The ship was beautiful and the food was great. We did have to buy soda for Alan when we got to our first port because Alan refused to pay ship prices for that. The entertainment was so fun. Our favorite was the Elton John impersonator. He was hilarious and a great comedian as well as a great singer and piano player. The piano bar guy was super good too. The ship singing and dancing cast was ok but nothing too special. The magician was so cheesy. He would tell a joke and then turn his head and shake his shoulders up and down and pretend to laugh. His majic was not that impressive either. He did choose me to go up on stage one night though to have my neck pierced with a sword and smoke blown through it. That was fun but I almost punched him when he lit a cigarette and kept bloking smoke in my face. We also loved to go and sit and listen to the string quartet every night. They were excellent. Ship life is quite amazing. It is a floating city that is very compact and totally relaxed. I loved being able to eat all the time. We even ordered free room service at 2 in the morning. I loved running laps around the ship for exercise. That is a little strange with the ship pitching and rolling. My legs were super sore- it was like I was running hills the whole time. I loved having a pool to lay by in the sun and read. I even liked the movement of the ship. You didn't notice it very much except for the first and last nights. The first because it was a new sensation and the last because the sea was rough. We were never nauseaus but it did feel strange to be moving like that. I loved the chance to dress up in formal wear two different nights. Alan didn't love it as much but he didn't complain. We met a really cute older couple that took us polka dancing-much to Alan's chagrin. It was thier 27th cruise and they were adorable. It was great to do whatever you wanted whenever you wanted. We took three naps in one day. I don't think there is much better than a day like that.
The ports were lots of fun too. The first port was Puerto Vallarta. Everyone told us not to purchase an excursion on the boat becuase you will pay almost triple for it than if you just get off the boat and haggle for activities with the locals. Since Alan speaks spanish we were completely comfortable with that. We hired a guy to take us to Lover's beach and for snorkeling equipment the first day. It was beautiful. The weather was perfect and the water was warm. The beach had beautiful white fine sand. It was great to lay out and snorkel and explore the beach. One of our favorite activities to do together s probably people watching. There was plenty of that to do that day. We didn't see a ton of fish snorkeling but there was some pretty ones. That beach was nice because there are no hagglers walking the beach trying to sell things to you constantly. When we got back we found a mall that had a great little restuarant with really great food. I loved my fish tacos with fresh salsa and rice. It was "real" mexican food! Our next port was Mazatlan. We didn't want to spend much money that day so we chose to go to a time share presentation to have our food and taxis paid for. It turned out great. They weren't too pushy and they let us go in the exact time they said they would. We had lunch on them and the yummy pina coladas and then went to the beach. We rented body boards and had a great time riding the waves and playing in the water. Then we layed out in the sun under an umbrella and read. It was a great day. I just couldn't stop thinking how great it was to have a break from kids and the stresses of the past 11 years of school. Our last port was Cabo San Lucas. This one we haggled with a guy and got a great price on a Zip Line tour. We drove in an open bus up the mountain for about an hour and then did about 15 different zip lines over the jungle canopy. It was stunningly beautiful and such a thrill to zoom that high up and for such long distances. Our guides were fun and pretty goofy. They film it and make it into a movie since it is made in the place that Arnold Swarzenegger (sp?) filmed some action film. We of course did not buy the film but we had a great time.
I highly recommend a cruise. You can get them for fantastic prices right now if you are willing to book them two or three days in advance.
Thank you Alan for a wonderful trip!
Friday, January 23, 2009
Aftyn cried out quite a bit as if she was telling us how hard her journey just was and how much hard work it was to make. She finally settled down and nursed beautifully after about 20 minutes. She was the perfect pink color and has big beautiful lips and the Petersen nose. What a joy it was to be a part of. Thank you Andrew and Jessica for letting me be a part of this sacred experience.
I will post a picture soon.
I was very reserved about it for a few weeks but I absolutely love it now. My number one feature on it is the back up camera. I am always terrified that I am going to accidentally back over a child. That worry is no more. It is complete peace of mind. I love the on star feature and the leather interior and just about everything. It isn't even hard to park like I thought it would be. Thank you GMC for such a great vehicle! And Thank You Alan for not listening to me and buying it anyway.
In November we were having a very normal average Family Home Evening. I was teaching the lesson and everyone was quietly listening and participating when the giggling began. I guess Alan decided my lesson needed some spice and he happened to have a rubber band on hand. He thought it would be a great addition to the lesson to contort Luke's face with the rubber band and then Bradley's and his own. It actually ended up to be very funny and entertaining. Much better than my boring lesson. You are supposed to have a game or activity anyways, right?