Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Little Guy's Birth Story

It wouldn't be our family if there weren't some sort of adventure involved in everything, including childbirth. Actually, there wasn't as much adventure in Little Guy's birth as there was with some of the others', but there was still plenty of fun.

I had been having irregular contractions for a few weeks that weren't really doing anything. That didn't surprise me since my contractions never do anything. On Christmas Eve around 8:30pm, they started getting really strong and a lot more regular. Eating, drinking, and laying on one side didn't help so I knew it was getting close. I really wanted to be with the kids on Christmas morning, though. So, I stuck it out. After they opened presents Christmas morning, I fooled around the house a little cleaning some things up and doing a few final preparations. Finally, around 11am, I told the King it was time to go. His parents were in town, so it was okay to leave the four big ones with them. I knew they were in good loving hands.

At the hospital, they monitored me for a few hours and gave me IV fluids to stop the contractions. That didn't help, but I wasn't progressing. So, after a few hours, they gave me the option of going home until the next morning or just staying the night. The doctor would have delivered him that day, but being Christmas, there wasn't much in the way of staffing there. And who really wants to be born on Christmas anyway?

I was torn about what to do. I wanted to be home with my kids and The King. (His parents were only in town for a few days and it was Christmas, so I'd sent him home). But the contractions were really bugging me and I knew I couldn't really have any fun anyway, so I stayed.

In the time I was at the hospital just waiting to have the baby, Snort pulled the Christmas tree onto himself and rumor has it that it took five minutes to dig him out of it. At that point, the King decided it was time to just put Christmas away. So, I guess I did pretty well to miss out on having to clean all that up, right?

The next morning, they came in and I told them which type of anesthesia worked for me and which didn't. I've done this enough times that they just trusted me and did what I said. I got prepped for surgery and off we went. I did very well this time around, if I say so myself. I stayed calm and there were no glitches. Little Guy came screaming into the world at 9:05am Friday, December 26, 2008 weighing
7 lbs. 15.4oz and 19 inches long.

I woke up from the "twilight drug" about an hour later in a lot of pain since I'd opted not to have the stronger drug that made me itch all over. It took some time to get the pain under control, but I was a much happier camper once we did. Little Guy and I met up again in the post partum room.

So, that's about it. Well, mostly. The second night in the hospital, the King found a mouse in my room. That!!! So, we got upgraded to a better room. I was relieved because the new room was right across from the nursery, and Little Guy was having a hard time with some "boy problems".

I could have stayed until Tuesday, but I so wanted to be home with my kids. I felt like I was missing out on a lot in the hospital since I'd sent the King to spend time with his parents and our kids. So, I came home Sunday.

It's all been a little overwhelming, but I think we'll get it together soon. Once the big guys are back in school, things will begin to fall back into a routine I'm used to. There is always a little adjustment time required when a new baby comes home, and this time is no different.

Number One, The Beast, and Pretty are all in love with their new brother. Pretty thinks she just got a new baby doll and gets deeply offended if I try to take him out of her arms. Silly girl. The Beast wants to pet him all the time. I have explained to him that he's a baby, not a puppy. He now walks around explaining to everyone that we don't pet Little Guy because he's not a puppy. Snort hasn't even seemed to notice that there is someone new in the house.

I have to say this; I had no idea I even wanted to have another baby this soon. Little Guy was a total and complete shock to us all. But I'm completely in love. I can't imagine our family without him. What better Christmas gift than to be given our very own angel straight from Heaven.

Monday, December 29, 2008

He Is Here!!!

I have details, details, details for you. But they're all in my head right now. And my head is currently very clouded by nice strong drugs. Really, though, it's a good story complete with live rodents, super poops, and-of course-a most beautiful baby boy. For now, though, you'll have to settle for just a few details. If you want his full name, e-mail me or leave a comment so I can reply to you privately.
Name: Little Guy
DOB: 12-26-08, 9:05am
Weight: 7lbs. 15.4 oz. ( Out biggest one yet!!!)
Height: 20
Pictures: Well, I haven't gotten that far. Lucky for you, though, my friend is on the job. Click on this spot to see amazing pics. of him. Being that he's my child, he is of course practically perfect in every way.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Would Like 45 Robots Please

Saturday night was our church Christmas party. When Santa came in, the Beast asked me if that was his daddy. (He knows the King has a suit, too.) I said, "Nope, that's your dad right over there", and pointed the King out. At this point, the Beast's eyes got huge and he realized this really WAS Santa Clause. Immediately he had to jump in line to talk to the dear old elf.

After bouncing up and down and just itching to get his turn, it finally came. He jumped up there, and showed Santa the new shoes he'd purchased that day. (They weren't on his feet. He needed Santa to see details, so he took the shoes off for closer inspection-silly kid.) Finally, Santa was able to help direct the conversation to the Beast's list.

"I would like robots, please". This didn't surprise me because robots have been on his mind a lot lately. The next comment did surprise me a little bit, though. "Actually, I would like 45 robots, please". Ummmm.....hmmmm.....I'm not sure how Santa is going to make that happen. Last time I spoke with Santa, he didn't even have one single robot on his list for the Beast. He is interested in hearing if anyone knows where Santa might find a robot appropriate for a five year old, though.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Well, I'm Glad My Children Are Learning Something From Me

Apparently I'm rubbing off on my children. This is the conversation Number One had with me this morning before school started.

Number One: Hey mom! I know what sarcasm is.
Me: Really?
Number One: Yep, I'll show you. (turns to Beast) Hey, Beast!
Beast: (excited to be acknowledged) Yeah?
Number One: You're cool!!! (turns back to me) See, mom? That was sarcasm. (Walks away)

Ummmm....I don't know if I should be proud or ashamed. Either way, I think that just confirms the fact that he IS my kid.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Just Figured It Out

Last night, I decided that I needed to spend HOURS on end dipping little pretzels in chocolate and then into sprinkles to make Christmas gifts. Lovely gift, I know. But definately not something I'd typically do.

Then, this morning, I woke up and decided that I just HAD to strip all the kids' beds and wash all their sheets today. While the laundry was going, I decided that the master bedroom needed to be completely cleaned, the baby's bed washed and made with fresh sheets, the carseat ready to go, the changing table cleaned and stocked with tiny little diapers, and baby clothes ready to go. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?!

After it was all said and done, I looked around and realized something. I'd heard rumor of it for the past several months, but I hadn't really take it seriously. Rumors are just rumors, right? But, looking around today, I realized it was totally true.

What did I figure out today? I AM HAVING A BABY in just over two weeks!!! ME!!! There is a baby in there, and he is coming out SOON. And then, he's coming home to live with us and be a part of our family. AHHHHHH!!!!!!

I took a few minutes to breathe deeply while this wild new realization kicked in. I think I'm almost to a point where I might be okay with having another kiddo in the house. If I'm not to that point, I guess I'd better get there soon because it is apparently happening whether I like it or not.

So, there you go. That's what I figured out today. It's still a little bit of a shock to me, so if you see me around town, be gentle. I'm likely to spontaneously combust at any point. If it's not having another baby that makes me do it, it'll be something one of the kids I already have does to me.

*breathing deeply into my little brown paper bag*

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Kind of a Proud Mommy Moment

I got Number One four new pairs of pants in August, and they fit him fine. They now look like he's waiting for a tidal wave to hit. Seriously, well above his ankles. We didn't really have a ton of $$ for new pants, but I revamped the food menu so that I would have some extra money to take advantage of the holiday sales and get him three new pairs of jeans that would fit better. I'll have to get the fourth pair later. (The Beast also desperately needs new shoes, and I'm hoping Payless will have some awesome sale. Anyway, back to Number One...)

He has always had issues with gratitude and feelings of entitlement. It's usually kind of disappointing to get him anything because he never appreciates it, finds something wrong with it, or hates to say thank you. I know he's just a kid, and that's how kids are sometimes, but it still is often a real let-down to try hard to please someone only to have them disregard your efforts.

When I came home with these new pants tonight, he was ECSTATIC. I'd gone out of my way to get styles that he likes despite my own feelings about them. (If it were up to me, he'd dress like a little boy forever. He's really growing up, though, and it's time to let him shine a little more). He threw his arms around me, thanked me bunches of times, and giddily hugged the pants as he carried them off to bed. You'd have thought it was Christmas morning. (Actually, maybe I should have held onto them until then. I just wanted to let him try them on in case they needed to be returned or he hated them).

It's such a silly thing for me to be excited about. But it shows me just how much he is growing up. He can appreciate gifts now, and can acknowledge them. He even noted that he knew we probably had to give something else up for him to have them. (It wasn't like we're starving-just gave up some of the fancier meals in exchange for mac and cheese). Finally! All the lessons about gratitude, sacrificing one thing for another, and demonstrating appreciation are coming together for him. I guess he really is growing up...and maybe, just maybe, is actually hearing some of the things we say to him.

So, there you go. I had a proud Mommy moment today. (Now maybe later on I'll blog about the unfortunate incident involving the spilled water on our entry and my resulting belly flop on the carpet. That was NOT a proud Mommy moment in the least.)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Another Way to Lose Body Heat

We had an interesting conversation in our van the other night. (Nothing new really. ALL our conversations are pretty weird.) We were driving up to see the lights at the local park, and the King and Number One somehow got to where we can lose body heat from.

Number One: When it's cold, you need a hat. Most of your body heat is lost from your head.
King: There are other places you can lose body heat.
Number One: Like where?
King: Well, like from your back end.
Number One: Yeah. That's because of that hole back there. All the heat can come out of it.

Yep. I'm a proud mama.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

You Can't Tell Me God Doesn't Answer Prayers

I've never doubted the existence of a loving Heavenly Father. It's been easy to have faith because He's always been there for me. Yesterday was one of those times when I just knew I had to document what happened. As small and simple as this may seem, it was just one reminder of how much God loves his children.

I got a call around 12:45 from the principal at the Beast's school. She sounded nervous, so I figured that he'd fallen into the lake at his field trip or something. (That, or she's still afraid of me from the beginning of this year.) She told me that his teacher had called to explain that he was playing in some leaves at his field trip. Somehow, he lost his processor in the leaves. She said to please call the teacher's cell phone.

I called his teacher and the poor thing sounded just frantic. She said they'd all been looking for a really long time to no avail, and they just didn't know what to do. She felt terrible. I assured her that all would be well and that I was picking up some people to come help me look and would be right there. The King had just walked in for lunch and said he'd stay with Pretty and Snort. So, off I went.

On the way, I called Marlene to see if she'd come. She willingly came along with me. Another friend, Brianna, said she'd also meet us there. Then, I called one of the MOFia girls and asked her to post what had happened and ask for prayers that we could PLEASE find this processor.
Finally, I started calling church members to see if anyone might have a metal detector. Surprisingly, Janna mentioned that her husband had one. She said her son, Alex, would be off work shortly and could bring it to us. Hooray!! There was hope!!!

Nothing could prepare me for what I'd find when I got to the location of the field trip. I thought there might be a pile or two of leaves to go through. Not so, my friends. Not so. It was a huge area, easily the size of a football field completely covered in leaves. His teacher showed us where he'd been (which was EVERYWHERE) and then had to go back to the school. She was almost in tears with worry over what would happen. I assured her that we'd be fine and that it would be okay even if we never found it. These things happen. He's a five year old and this is a small piece of machinery.

So, there we were. Just the three of us literally looking for a needle in a haystack. Just as a matter of reference, the processor looks like a large hearing aid. Attached to it is a wire about an inch and a half long with a circle attached to that which is just larger than a nickle. So, not a very big piece. And it's all black except for one tiny green piece I'd added to it for fun.

I had a prayer in my heart the whole time. With every leaf I lifted, I just prayed that we could be guided. Brianna and Marlene stepped aside and had a prayer of their own. We all remained so calm and cool and collected. A sister from the ward called and said another family who owned an x-ray business offered their services. If all else failed, we could bag up the leaves, x-ray them, and know where the processor was. And, of course, the metal detector was coming.

I knew we'd be there a long time looking. After all, a huge group had just been there with teachers and students all looking frantically to find it for a long time. And there were just three of us. Suddenly, after less than 15 minutes of looking, Marlene yelled "I've got it!". There it was. Covered in dirt and leaves, but in one piece. One tiny part, the circle part, was sticking out and Marlene spotted it between those thousands and thousands of leaves. And in record time.

I called to let everyone know we had it and we headed home. The King went back to work and I went on with my day as if nothing had happened. But something had happened. Something big which could easily be mistaken for something so small. The simple prayers of many were answered. The King and I both commented on how calm and cool we were about the whole thing. We knew that was God's hand, too. He heard our prayers. He knew the Beast would be lost without his "baby ear", and He provided a way for us to find it for him.

So, I just had to share that with you all. It had a big impact on me about how mighty works can come from small and simple a prayer in our hearts.

Happy Birthday, Snort!

Snort turned one on Sunday. I took a little tour down memory lane with him. I thought I'd share it with you, too.
He was, by far, my biggest baby weighing in at 7 lb. 9.5 ounces. He was strong and healthy.
His brothers and sister couldn't get enough of him. (Well, maybe his sister could. She was less than impressed to say the least.)
Even from just days old, he was a happy and content baby. We were so pleased to have him as part of our family.
At just a few weeks old, on Christmas Eve, he got sick. Very sick. We almost lost him. It was the scariest parenting moment either of us had ever experienced.

But, he bounced back and came home. He maintained that happy disposition he'd had from day one.
Then, he developed a problem with his belly button that had to be repaired right away. So, back to the hospital he went.
But he came home and went right back to being the happy sweet boy he always was.

Later, he had to go back and forth for more troubles with his breathing. More hospital visits and more doctors and more pokes. But, always the happy baby he always was.

Eventually, we noticed that his eyes were very crossed. The dr. noticed, too. So, Snort got glasses.

Can you see how he has maintained his sweet, happy disposition?


Friday, November 21, 2008

I am Thoroughly Humiliated, But You Can Laugh at My Expense

***Warning. Some of this may be rated least.***

My friend, Buffy, has been a little down lately. On her blog, she noted that she was feeling better because she got some good text messages. I decided to be a smart aleck and send her a REALLY good text message. You know, the type that's totally off-color, but sure to make her laugh her adorable little hiney off.

I got her cell number and texted something to the affect of "You need great sex. It releases endorphins which will make you happy." But it was slightly than that. She texted back that it'd been a while and she needed it. I replied that she needed to go to the local novelty shop and get something to make it REALLY worth her time. Being the great friend that I am, I gave specific details of what she should get.

The text conversation went back and forth for a while, and then she says to me "Am I being punked? Who is this??". I replied with just my first name because, really, how many people with my name and spelling do you know? She replies, "Hi, Aimee. My name is Marc. I think you have the wrong number, but you've made my day anyway." OH. MY. GOSH!!!! I apologized profusely and told him I was off to find a rock to die in. Now. You have to understand that this was a VERY colorful conversation including details such as batteries and remote controls. Yeah. Don't ask.

About an hour later, he texted me again that he'd be at the local bar nursing his tequila if I wanted to stop by. Apparently I'm intriguing. I replied that I'm extremely happily married, but would let my local single friends know. That was the end of that. Honestly, I'm sure he'd have been surprised to see a very pregnant mother of four with two cats, two dogs, a turtle, and some baby fingerprints on her butt arrive at the bar. I know. I'm quite a catch.

In my horror, I checked again to be sure I had the right number. That would be a big fat NO. I was one stupid number off. Yeah. I'm dying inside. Go ahead. It's okay to laugh at me. The King is beyond laughing. I think he's just glad it wasn't him.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Memo to My Cats

As Number One will tell you, being pregnant makes me slightly more irritable. Maybe it's the huge watermelon I appear to have swallowed which remains at my waistline continually gaining in size and making my poor, sad little body more and more sad. Whatever the cause, I feel the need to express my displeasure to a few I also have issues with those people who hog up a whole lane at the Wal-Mart parking lot while they wait for someone to unload and pull out. I'll be giving those geniuses a post of their own, though. And it WON'T be pretty.

Okay, so the cats. I have two cats. Well, the King has one cat and I have one cat. But, I suppose I claim them both. (Although my cat is practically the queen of the world and is moderately perfect while his cat appears to be riding the kitty short bus. I'm just sayin'...) Overall, they're good cats. They stay out of my way, don't damage the furniture, and only meow when the children have destroyed their food supply or simply have opted not to feed them for days on end.

Occasionally, however, they make very bad choices. Very bad. This memo applies to those times.

Dear Mouse and Marius (That's their names.):

It has come to my attention that you are unaware of a few social faux pas which you have repeatedly committed. While I realize that Marius is usually the culprit, I'm opting to address you both so you can't come back and meow at me that I never told you. Consider yourselves told.

1. It is considered rude to continually go out the front door only long enough to eat grass. If you are afraid of your own shadow, you should simply stay indoors. While I'm sure the grass seems delicious to you at the time, you should know by now that you will vomit said grass up every. single. time. you eat it. Behavior like this could lead your mildly irritable owner to feel the urge to put you out with the dogs for a few minutes just for a good laugh.

2. It is great that you have such impeccable hygeine (mostly Mouse. Marius is just pretending to bathe so I won't throw him in the sink.), however I don't want to HEAR you licking your privates. Licking one's privates is generally frowned upon no matter where you go. This is not just an issue of me being irritable. Trust me. For your own safety, and in an effort to extend your life, I strongly discourage you from laying at the foot of my bed and licking your privates loudly and for extended amounts of time. When a pillow is thrown at you for said licking, please be advised that simply moving two feet away and starting over doesn't make the situation better. It just makes me angrier because I then have to actually get up and put you in the cat room so I don't have to hear your disgusting licking.

3. When you decide it's time to cough up a hairball, please refrain from making that awful hacking sound while walking all over the house. It's gross. I mean, seriously gross. I don't chase you off for my own thrills. I do it so you can go into the cat room where things are easier to clean up. If you wouldn't lick your privates so often, you'd more than likely find that the hairballs are reduced quite a bit. If you choose to vomit on neatly folded clothes, please note that I will be a bit grumpier than usual for the remainder of that day. If you choose to vomit in or on my shoe, please note that said shoe is likely to come flying at you.

4. While we love that you want to be so affectionate, please take note of the fact that laying on our heads or drooling while we're trying to sleep or do some bonding of our own does NOT count as a way to get us to love you more. Instead, it makes us want to lock you up for the night. There are calling hours posted during which times you may come for your daily petting and scratching behind the ears...assuming you haven't broken the above listed rules that day. If we haven't personally invited you to sleep on our heads and drool on us, please assume you may take your usual place at the foot of the bed, but remember that is not the place to lick your privates.

Feel free to copy and refer to this memo frequently. (I understand that you're bothered that the dogs didn't get a memo. Let's be honest, though. They're NOT smart animals and no memo is going to change that. There is little or no hope for them.) Should you feel the urge to do something questionable, think about whether or not it's listed in this memo or if it might be something to bring about another memo. If it is, simply do not do said behavior.

Thank you!
-The Management

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Well, I Guess He is Our Kid Afterall

Snort will be one on Sunday. I know. I can't believe it, either. He's been our easiest, most well-behaved baby of the four. We were starting to wonder if maybe he was switched at birth because he seemed to be far too mellow and laid back to be one of our wild children.

Then it happened. He's turned to the Dark Side. His siblings have taught him to use the Force for evil, evil things. The other day I found him in my tupperware cabinet. He'd pulled every single item out. What?!? It must be a fluke, right? My sweet innocent little Snort would never CHOOSE to do anything causing me more work. He's too perfect.

I opted to redirect him for a few minutes while I went ahead and put the cabinet back together. When I finished just five minutes later, I had to track him down. Where could that sweet angel be? I had no idea the horror I was about to find. There he was in Pretty's room. He'd pulled every stitch of clothing out of the dresser. Well, all that he could reach anyway.

Where did I go wrong with him? At what point did he decide to join the ranks of his wild siblings and cahoot with them to bring me more gray hairs? (Yes, I have gray hairs. I don't like to talk about it much, though. It's just too painful.) When did he *gasp!!!* learn to play with his sister cooperatively???

It gets worse. This morning, I was doing Pretty's hair after I got her out of the tub. I gave Snort LOTS of toys to play with. I even made sure they were his favorite ones. I finished her hair and went to where he was. Well, where he should have been. Was he there? Nope! That little sneak had gotten into the cat room and had his way with the cat food. There are tiny morsels everywhere!!!

I guess the good news is that we now know he wasn't switched at birth. The bad news is that I think the four of them are planning on teaching all they know to the new baby and then plotting a mutiny one of these days. Should I ever go more than two weeks without posting, you should probably call and check on me. Chances are my children have me bound and gagged and are doing cruel things like feeding me copious amounts of broccoli.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Pretty didn't really want to go to bed tonight. The Beast felt bad for her. He didn't like that she was crying a little bit. This is what he had to say about it:

"Pretty is sad. She needs a song. (singing) Twinkle, twinkle little star how I wonder what you are....(speaking) Um, what comes next? (I gave him the next couple lyrics). Okay. Thanks. (singing again) Up above the world so high like a diamond in the sky. (stops abruptly and goes to speaking again) Mom, it's not working. She's still awake. I'm going to bed now."

He may be a little eccentric, but he's got a heart of gold and the voice of an angel. How could anyone NOT love that kid?

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Think I'm Onto Something

I've shared this idea for a little while, and everyone sort of chuckles at me. I think the truth is that deep down inside, they're just jealous that they aren't as brilliant as me. The idea? Well, here it is...the long-winded version...well, I guess it's long-winded.

Anyone who has ever had children knows that the laundry seems endless. I could honestly do four loads of laundry a day and STILL never find the bottom of the laundry pile. It's like my laundry read the Bible and decided that it needs to multiply and replenish the laundry room. And, do you know what's the worst thing about laundry? You're NEVER done! At the end of the day, you get undressed and there in the basket is more stupid laundry to wash.

My solution is brilliant, I think, and environmentally friendly. Naked weekends. Yep, you heard me. Naked. Without Clothing. Not even a loin cloth because that would have to be washed. Maybe a fig leaf, but I'm not sure where to get those. Of course, plucking leaves from trees isn't environmentally friendly, so I guess that'd be out too.

Honestly, people. Let's think about this suggestion. If everyone went naked for the whole weekend, wives and mothers everywhere could finally catch up on the laundry. And just think of how much less they'd have to do. Plus the time we'd save in general everyday living would be incredible. Ever tally up how much time it takes to unbutton those pants before going to the bathroom? And then pull them back up? For a pregnant woman, it's even more time. I'm just sayin'...

Yes, I know it would seem a little awkward at first. I'm sure a few people would feel strange at church with a naked preacher, but if we're ALL doing it, then it would just'd eventually just be the norm. Think of how liberating it could be, too! Women wouldn't have to wear panty hose or uncomfortable skirts that ride up. Men wouldn't need those tight shirts with ties around their necks. And no one would have a butt snuggy all weekend long!!!

Seriously, people! This is a stroke of genius that I'm onto. Maybe I should call my local politicians and see what I can do about making it law. President Elect Obama seems like a fairly open-minded guy. I should call him. Or maybe not. I wouldn't want him to think I'm too brilliant and offer me a job as a cabinet officer or anything. I'm content just being a mom for now.

All in favor? What? Why am I only hearing crickets out there? You people KNOW you think this is a brilliant plan. Just admit it. *sigh* I guess I'll go do yet another load of laundry while I wait for you people. While I'm at it, I might go get some sunless tanner for when this idea really starts to catch on.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Missionary Mondays

I've mentioned before that we happen to have a really good set of missionaries right now. They've started a new little tradition with my kids, and the kids can't get enough of it. Missionaries get a day of prep. to do their laundry, shopping, playing, etc. on Mondays. So, these wacky guys some over when the boys get out of school and play with them. On their free days. Are they crazy?!?! Beats me, but the kids think it's great. I have LOTS of pictures to show what it's like when these guys come around. Oh! And I should mention that they always bring some sort of activity to play with while they're here. Sometimes it's football (well, there is ALWAYS football). Other times it's tennis. We've had water balloons, screaming flying balloons, and some leaf raking. It's become quite the thing to do on Monday afternoon to the extent that we now have neighborhood kids coming along to join in the fun now and then.

The Beast conned Elder Barnes into raking and re-raking a pile of leaves for him to jump into. I swear that kid could sell ice to an eskimo. It's amazing the things he gets people to do for him.

Number One can't get enough of practicing football with Elder McNamara. I have to laugh at the way the boys say his name, though. Number One calls him "Elder McMara" and the Beast just calls him "Acanara". It's pretty cute.

Number One also loves playing tennis. Elder Barnes is always happy to have a tennis partner.
Why is this picture of a rake here? This is the Beast's way of getting on top of things. He decided it would be best to rake the leaves out of the tree so they don't mess up the grass in the first place. Silly kid.

The Beast got a hold of my camera. This is the shot he got of Elder Barnes with the tennis racket. Nice.

Who doesn't just love a missionary who can make paper airplanes that go "super high into the sky with the aliens" ?
What happens after playing football with Elder MacNamara? You get tired kids, of course.

Here's the Beast's best effort at taking pics. of "Elder Acanara"

There are other crazy things these guys do, too. They showed up one morning with two loaves of lemon bread that they "made because they had free time and some ingredients and they hoped our family could enjoy it". They've come to spray poison to kill my poison ivy. On the nights that they come for dinner, they usually get into the dress-up stuff with the kids. The foam swords come out every time, and it's sheer chaos. But, who could ask for more? My kids feel loved when the missionaries come around, and that's the best part of all. (Well, the fact that they're entertained for a few minutes isn't too bad, either).

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What Parent Forgets the Camera on Halloween??!?!

Hi, my name is Aimee and I forgot to take even one single picture of any of my four children on Halloween. While I acknowledge that this is often grounds for stoning, I beg your forgiveness. It's not that I don't love my children. It's just that there are so many of my children that, in the process of making sure they were all accounted for, I simply forgot the camera.

I can tell you about our Halloween, though. Just use your imagination as I tell the story. Whatever you're picturing is probably pretty close to how it really was. If all else fails, picture organized chaos. See it? Yep, that was our Halloween.

Number One went as a football player. I figured that we put so much money, time, and heart into getting him that uniform that we'd let him get every minute out of it that he could. He was pretty proud to be wearing his Bearcat uniform. (Honestly, I think he just likes wearing it because "chicks dig it".)

The Beast was feeling a little bit indecisive this year. For his school party, he wore Number One's old Peter Pan costume. He apparently thought he was some sort of porn star because when his teacher asked him what he was, he said "I'm Peter Pants. Wanna' see my sword?" Those of you who really know me would also know my brain went straight to the gutter the minute he uttered those words. For the actual day of Halloween, he wanted to be a pirate. So, I threw together a pirate costume to wear to school for trick-or-treating at the hospital. He forgot to bring home most of the pieces of that costume (which also went to the Peter Pants costume), so he trick-or-treated as a soccer player. He was pleased with that because he still got candy. That's what really matters, right?

Pretty reused her Tinkerbell costume from last year. This year, though, we told everyone she is actually Stinkerbell, who is the naughty cousin of Tinkerbell. I don't know if Tinkerbell really has a naughty cousin, but she does now. Pretty represented her character well, and has the scrapes on the tops of her feet to prove it. That's what happens when you constantly run away from your mommy and daddy and fall down face first in the street only after removing the socks and shoes your mother has just finished lovingly placing on your feet. It's my own fault really. I should have just let her carry the football she wanted to carry. (Has anyone else caught on yet that she's just a little bit of a tomboy?)

Snort wore the Scooby-Doo costume that both of his brothers have worn before. He couldn't possibly have been any cuter. He was a little disgruntled to realize he was stuck in some silly outfit and got nothing to show for it. Well, almost nothing. Sister Adams gave him a glow stick at the ward party. Thank you, Sister Adams. He was so proud of that thing!

As for festivities, there were plenty. The Beast's school had a fun little party, then there was the Halloween carnival at the high school, and finally Trunk or Treating at the ward Halloween party at the bishop's house. I am more than ready to be done with Halloween. Of course, it wouldn't have been Halloween if we didn't do the real trick-or-treating. So, after the ward party, we spent some time touring the neighborhood with a helmetless football player, chatty soccer player, barefoot fairy, and blissfully unaware Scooby-Doo. Oh! And the missionaries aparently are suckers for punishment and asked if they could come with us. It was actually lucky that they came. They make great hand holders for small people in dark costumes.

So, there you have it. Picture it as you will. Whatever you're picturing is probably how it really did look. (Just make sure you're picturing all four of them looking really cute. No matter how crazy it was, they were all really cute...even the porn star with the sword).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Number One's Big Day!

We've had lots of challenges this season with football. There's been the whining and crying about practices, complaining that his equipment hurts too much, late nights practicing, not enough time for friends, not enough play time, frustration with being unsure of what to do, and anything else you can think of. The King and Number One kind of wanted to throw in the towel. Number One because, well...quitting is easier than working hard. The King was okay with letting him quit because he didn't feel that the kid was getting enough play time. Quitting would certainly have made my life easier, but I wasn't okay with the idea. Just think of the amount of money we'd dumped into this sport. Then, the amount of time and energy we've already poured into it. Plus, I told them from the beginning that playing would be totally up to Number One, but he'd have an obligation to finish it out once he started. I was the bad guy, but I stuck to my guns.

Yesterday it all paid off! He was hesitant about going to the game, and came up with the usual list of complaints to explain why he shouldn't have to go. I wasn't having it. So, off he went. I'll be honest. I was hesitant about him going, too. I just didn't want him to sit and keep the bench warm for the whole game again because I know how discouraging that is to him. I was seceretly hoping for a miracle for this kid.

The first half of the game, he just sat on the bench. I went over there a couple times and asked him if he really wanted to be there and he surprised me with a "yes" answer. So, I'd go back to my seat and just watch and wait. Finally, the second half of the game came. I was beyond stunned to see my baby being put on the front of the defensive line as a tackle!!! Did I mention that he is beyond the smallest kid on his team?? Well, he is.

As soon as he went out there, The King's eyes started to sparkle and his whole demeanor changed. He just really perked up. Then came the play. Number One sprang into action and seemed to remember the advice his dad had given him that morning. "Go for the quarterback and then find the ball". At first we thought maybe he'd done what he was supposed to do by accident. But it happened over and over and over again. By the end of the second half of the game, Number One had heard his name over the loudspeaker four times for being the one to make the tackle!!!! It literally brought tears to the King's eyes to see his boy out there playing his heart out and succeeding.

He was walking taller on the way off the field at the end of the game. There was a fire in his eyes we hadn't seen before. He'd finally proven to himself that he COULD do it. At last my point was made. If you put in the right amount of work and are prepared for the opportunity, it will come. And, when that opportunity comes, more will follow if you make the most of it. There is a new level of confidence in my Number One now. He knows he can do anything. Just think of it!! The absolute smallest kid on the team leading the defensive line and doing the most tackling. It's not the size of your body that matters. It's the amount of heart that is in it.

We couldn't have been more proud of him. It wasn't a matter of him being the best defensive player out there. It was more an issue of him being the best player HE could be. He finally found that in himself. We made sure we told him so, too. After the game, he found his coach and said, "Coach! Did you see me? I got FOUR tackles in a row." The coach responded with a genuine smile and a pat on the helmet. "Boy, if you show up at every practice this week and play your heart out like you did today, I'll make you first string for the next game". This coming game is the last game of the season, so I guess he'll be going out in a blaze of glory.

I didn't mention that we lost the game. We've lost every game so far. I don't think Number One could possibly care less about losing the game. He won the battle.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

So, I Yold You A Lie, but Not on Purpose

A while back, I told you a lie. At the time, it was the truth. Now, it's not. The lie I told? Well, I told you that we had finally selected a name for this little guy. Then, as time passed, we went back and forth and both decided that we're not really 100% sold on the name we chose.

One little problem with the name we'd chosen was that the middle name wasn't after someone in our family or a close friend, which has always been our tradition. The middle name was a name I've always loved, but parting with tradition was bugging me. Then, last night the King came up with the perfect middle name (at least today it seems perfect. Who knows about tomorrow?). I also still need to speak with a certain family member about the use of the name.

So, we've gone back and forth and back and forth about naming this baby. Finally we have a short list of names. We want YOU to help us name this kid. PLEASE respond to the poll on the right side of my blog. And, of course, leave a comment about names you like or dislike. I can't promise we'll go with the name that's most popular for the rest of the world. With our luck, we'll choose some name that isn't even on the list. But, we do want to hear what you think of the names we've chosen.

Oh! And remember, we like our kids to have a little bit more unique names. Happy choosing!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Want Some Cheap Entertainment? Invite the Missionaries Over.

Every now and then, a particularly good set of missionaries will come through. It's not that they are necessarily spiritual giants, but it's more a matter of them just really being able to "get" the people in their area. That's what kind of guys we have here right now. Actually, the past couple of sets have been pretty good.

These guys are awesome because they don't take themselves too seriously. They always stay well within the missionary "rules" and always leave with some sort of spiritual message, but they're FUN. My kids want to grow up to be missionaries because they really enjoy the ones who are here now. They set great examples for my boys.

Don't think for one second that there's anything typical about coming to our house for the missionaries. Honestly, I think they come here for the cheap entertainment and easy laughs. That's okay. We have them over for the cheap entertainment and easy laughs, so I guess you could say it's a trade-off. Since these guys have been here, all of the following things have happened:

*The Beast joined them at the dinner table with absolutely nothing on his bottom half.

*Number One has used the word "crap" at least 5 times.

*Number One has demonstrated the art of hand the dinner table.

*Pretty has launched her dinner far enough to land on a missionary's clothes.

*Snort has displayed the art of explosive pooping.

*Sword fights using foam swords have ensued on countless occasions.

*A simple family prayer followed by a spiritual thought has morphed into a three-ring circus.

*Number One has learned to play Marco Polo with a towel over his head. I'm not sure how he could breathe during that one.

There has been more. For therapeutic reasons, I try to put it out of my memory. My children's antics will be the death of me one of these days. Anyway, these are great guys. They have been real troopers in putting up with my kids. I'm hoping that coming to my house has in some way been a form of birth control for them later. I'm not counting on it, though. These guys are gluttons for punishment, which I can only assume is the reason they keep coming back.

Traditionally, when a missionary gets transferred, we take them to Chili's for molten chocolate cake. Elder McDaniels is moving on today, so he should have had his Chili's last night. Well, the truth is money is tight right now. So, I made my own moltens at the house and we had them over. I have to say it was waaaaaay more fun, and my baking skills are freaking GOOD!

Here are a lot of pictures from the grand event.

Enjoying a most delicious home-made version of molten chocolate cake.

Number One demonstrates his well-developed hand farting skills. The missionaries' laughter just encourages this great behavior.

They all are very good at showing some level of interest while my children talk their ears off.

Pretty felt the need to take on the roll of family dog while she attacked Elder McDaniel's feet under the table.

Elder Barnes is just sure it's so funny to watch my kid wander around blindly trying to catch him. Well, he's right. It's hilarious to watch. How does the kid breathe, though?

We stripped Pretty's clothes before giving her ice cream. Later, she wanted to climb all over the missionaries. They freak out when kids try to sit in their laps, by the way. It's funny to watch.

Pretty managed to launch her ice cream onto Elder McNamara's pant leg. Classy.

Elders McDaniel and McNamara thought they'd be safe inside the supergate. Man were they wrong. That just maded them easier targets.

Another proud Marco Polo moment.

Some lovely family pics. taken by Elder Barnes.

Elder McDaniels waving good-bye. He gets transferred today. Hopefully someone will warn the new guy about us before he comes over for his first visit.

All joking aside, these are great missionaries. As the mother of many boys, I have to say that their own mothers should be proud.