Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'm the MUMMY -

so I guess that's why I spent the past several hours getting all the presents all WRAPPED up. (it supposed to be a joke, go ahead and laugh...

now I know why I usually wrap things as I buy them. it is crazy trying to get everything all wrapped at once.

HO! HO! HO! it's off to the kitchen I go! (to clean it up; so I can then mess it up again, making more neighbor goodies... 'tis the season!)

piano recital

Let's see if I can figure out how to do this... (posting a video I mean)

I did it!!! I wasn't even that hard.

Aaron and Katrina both did a great job on their pieces. (Although not "perfect" - which they were capable of, they had done them perfectly at home many times, but hey, who doesn't get nervous when playing in front of an audience???) I am very proud of them both!

the official christmas card picture

I am on the downstairs computer right now, so here is the picture we used for the Christmas card we sent out.

Now I guess I need to update the family photo in the upper left corner of the blog. that was the Christmas card photo for 2006. My little family just keeps growing, eh?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mission Accomplished

A couple days back in my "Christmas card" post, I set the goal to have my cards done and in the mail by Wednesday (which was yesterday.) I know you have all been on pins and needles... wondering if I managed to do it. Yessiree. I did. (except for like 4 more that are waiting for me to track down the correct addresses)

While I would hate to ruin it for those of you who are on my "Christmas card" mailing list, I'm going to post it anyway. (if you are on my list, feel free to stop reading here. You can just read it when the paper copy gets there.) Rather than type out a whole page long update letter, I just did bullet highlights of the year. That way I was able to get two per page. (less cost in copies) and it was much faster to write up. SO - here it is:

Merry Christmas from the ****** Family

Here is the condensed version of what we've been up to during 2008. For more details and photos, feel free to check out my blog at aficklepickle.blogspot.com. We send our love and holiday wishes!

Tim – still working at Navitaire * real estate transactions (as agent) * in process of buying another investment property * Scoutmaster * Scout camp in Idaho * lots of audio books during long commute *

Jeri – full time mom (that says it all) * blogging * primary chorister * school volunteer * seeing some improvement in my piano playing ability(slow and sometimes steady...)* generally sleep deprived * trying to be a gardener *

Aaron – 8 yrs old * baptized in July * 3rd grade * LOVES animals * started gymnastics * great improvements in reading * artistic * musical (piano and singing) * piano recitals * loves to build and create * fantastic imagination * geode hunting trip with Dad * swim lessons * cub scouts *

Katrina – 5 yrs old * barely missed kindergarten deadline but is totally ready * loves reading * started gymnastics in Nov. * piano lessons * piano recitals * good friend to others * loves to play “teacher” * super progress in speech therapy (everyone can totally understand her now) * swim lessons * a huge help to me during the day *

>Bryan – 3 yrs old * LOVES “primary” (his nursery teachers are the most amazing people EVER in the history of nursery!) * he is “Bryan the big boy” (and if you ever call him anything else, look out!) * loves to play outside * speech therapy * “mommy's big helper” * swim lessons * adorable * tiny tot gymnastics *

Caleb – 1 year old this month * started walking at 10 months * plays well with siblings and by himself * sweet, calm, easy going boy * blue eyes (only child in our family) * loves to laugh * peek-a-boo * loves baths (any water actually) * a complete joy in our home *

Family – weekend getaway at the Homestead Resort (work party) * rock hounding at Topaz mountain * new backyard playground * family reunion at cabin near Heber City * swimming * bowling * camping * hiking * hot dog roasts over the back yard fire pit *

This is NOT the picture that we had made into cards, but it was one of the finalists. I'm not posting the actual picture right now, because it is on the computer downstairs and I am too lazy to go down there right now. I'll get around to posting it one of these days... maybe...

PS - if anyone out there is just DYING to be added to my official mailing list - send me your snail mail address (I'll delete the comment after I write down the address) and I'll be happy to add you to my list.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

One Year Ago...

right now, I was lying in the hospital after giving birth (via emergency C-Section) to my sweet little Caleb.

What a year it has been. He is such a blessing to me. While it has been a very difficult year with depression (which I am attributing to postpartum), he has been such a wonderful baby.

Of the four kids, he has been the best sleeper. (Still not super fantastic by most standards, but really pretty good compared to the other kids.) He is generally so easy going and happy. (Not right now, of course; right now he is crying because he has a cough/cold and is miserable, is apparently having a bout of constipation, he is tired, and needs some motrin and he needs his mommy to rock him so he can go to sleep. Guess I'd better get right on that.

Here are some pictures:


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

gotta love it!

So tonight at dinner Aaron says,

"you know mom, how you've been making food that is healthier and costs less money?"


"when can we go back to having food that tastes good?"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Cards

Over at Pikes Pickles, is a short post about how she loves getting the annual Christmas cards and letters each year. She asked the question "how do you feel about Christmas cards. My "quick comment" got longer and longer, so I figured I'd just put it here as an official post instead.

The Traditional Annual Christmas letter... I LOVE getting them in the mail. Tim is the mail opener at our house. EXCEPT for Christmas cards. I rip them open as soon as they come. I then display them somewhere in the house (usually the kitchen so I can look a them more often) for the month. When it is time to pack away the Christmas stuff, I file the photos and letters, organized as families, in sheet protectors, in a binder I call "Who's Who? - Who's Where?" It is so fun to flip through the pages and see the Christmas letters and photos. Each year as I add the new photos to the binder and I flip through each family's pictures and marvel at how they've grown and changed. I often end up pulling out letters and re-reading them. It takes me WAY to long to get this particular job completed. And I LOVE it!
Also in the binder I keep copies of all of the letters and photo cards we have send out for the past 8 years. I love to look at the changes in my own family. It is just fun see all 7 photos, all in a row, and see the changes. I'm running behind this year and haven't gotten this years letter and photo done yet. Ive got 2 pictures I'm considering using, but I don't really like either of them. I'm going to try one more time tomorrow, and if I don't get a picture I love, I'll just have to "settle."
The only thing I don't love about the whole tradition is that the price of copies and stamps and photo cards keeps going up; and when you send out close to 100 letters, it really adds up - but I love the tradition too much to give it up. (Much to my husband's chagrin. His opinion is that I should "just send an email.")
I just got my friend Adrienne's card in the mail today, and she had a great idea. She just put in a little paper that said instead of an annual letter, she just invited people to check out her blog instead. (By the way Adrienne - you (and the whole family) look absolutely beautiful!) We'll have to see what I do this year... I need to hurry. I've told myself I have to have them done and in the mail by next Wed. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 8, 2008

HOORAY - a great day!!!

Finally - today was a great day.

Yesterday was another really rough, depressed day; and I was starting to wonder if it would ever end. I told Tim that maybe it was time for me to try using St John's Wort again, or something else to try to help me even out these horrible ups and downs. mostly downs recently. (I took St John's Wort about 9 years ago and felt like it really helped even me out, but I had to stop taking it once we decided to start our family since it has abortive side effects. So there I was, sitting there last night planning to go buy the herbs today, and I realized that before I start trying to find an external fix to my problems... I'd better stop, REPENT, and do any internal fixing that I could first. (I've been staying up later and later, getting up later and later, no exercise, junk food, etc... I couldn't find the will to make myself clean the kitchen/house, yet looking at and being in the mess made things seem SO much more insurmountable. It's really a Vicious cycle! I went to bed last night determined to give today my best effort and SURPRISE!!! It worked! (I think all the scriptures about people being quick to forget, and slow to remember their God - were written about me!)

SO - this morning I was up and dressed by 7:30, spent some time talking to Aaron and praising him for getting himself up and totally ready to go to school quickly and without being asked or prodded (aka nagged). Ate a healthy breakfast. Read my scriptures. (something I've been slacking in) cleaned up the kitchen. read scriptures to Katrina and Bryan. cleaned up kids rooms (they helped). made bread. I made the conscious effort to notice and comment about all the positive things my children did throughout the day. Katrina was very helpful throughout most of the day, and was focusing on practicing using good manners. It was really darling, because she was "teaching" Bryan how to do the same. ("Bryan, say may I have a drink of water please?") Very cute.

When I picked Aaron up from school I asked how his day had been. His reply was "great!" (this was a pleasant change, and I asked why it was so great. His reply, "I learned something today. I learned that school is more fun when you do your work instead of talk." Wow! what a great revelation. He proceeded to tell me that he was talking (of course) during literacy time, and his teacher reminded him that he is trying to earn his shark by not talking to others during class time - an working hard to complete his work. (it's a baby shark preserved in a jar that he has been trying to earn.) He said that when his teacher reminded him, he stopped talking, and he was totally amazed to find that once he stopped talking, and I quote, "I finished my work in like 3 minutes!"

All in all, it was a really great day. My dear friend Holly and i used to go walking every morning at 6:20. When Holly went back to work (at 6 in the morning) at the first of November our walking came to an abrupt halt. Since then, I have done ZERO exercise. (is it any wonder I've been in a slump?) We have decided that since we can't go in the mornings anymore, we will go at at night, after the kids are supposed to be in bed. Hopefully we will be able to get the kids into a solid routine so that Tim won't resent me leaving every night and leaving the kids for him to get off to bed. Tonight was our first night walking, and we are trying out walking at an indoor track rather than walking outside in the COLD and DARK! While I don't like that we have to DRIVE to get there, and I know that Jasmine really enjoys getting out and walking with us, it was really nice to walk at the track tonight. We found that we walked a lot faster and at a more steady speed than we do when we walk outside. We went just over 2 miles tonight in under an hour. (it was about 45 minutes I think.) Our goal is to walk for the rest of December, and then in January introduce a bit of jogging into the mix, a little at a time. We both really don't like the whole running thing at all, but figure we need to raise the bar a bit since right now we are mostly just "maintaining." (the "we" in that last sentence means ME mostly, she's actually down a pant size... GO HOLLY!) Anyway, it felt really great to be walking (and talking) again. I have really missed our morning visits. I know that it is better for the body to exercise in the morning , so that my metabolism can be fired up for the day, but hey, this is WAY better than the whole month of NOTHING that I have been doing.

Anyway, it is PAST bedtime again (11:45 right now) - but I just didn't want to go to bed without being thankful for such a great day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Here you go Melissa - a new post

My dear friend Melissa has rightly 'chastised' me for not posting for so long. No, Life isn't THAT "disturbing." Right after my last post I got really sick, and I'm still not fully recuperated. I had the whole aches and pains, plus a fever and cough and sore throat and everything. Totally lost my voice for a couple days. Now I am mostly fine, just a lingering cough (mostly at night when I lie down to sleep. The problem now is that Caleb is sick. He was running a 103 temp Saturday - Monday, but now just seem to have a cold. Life is never dull! My house sort of imploded while I was sick, and I still haven't quite got it all back under control.. (Of course, truth be told, it is very rarely under control, sick or not...)

Anyway, my major trial right now is parenting. I went to the library yesterday and checked out some new parenting books that I hope will help me in my quest to be a better parent, particularly in dealing with Aaron. Today I got the 'pleasant' (NOT) surprise of receiving a phone call from the principal at Aaron's school. Apparently, Aaron and 3 other kids used their scissors to drill holes in the desk tops. AARRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!! The consensus from the teacher and administrators was that it was just a case of kids not thinking - nothing malicious or purposely destructive.

Then this afternoon I attended his parent teacher conference. (it had already been scheduled, it just happened to fall on the "desk drilling day") His teacher expressed her observations that matched mine, that the past 3 weeks Aaron has been really acting up. It's happening at school and at church. Neither of us can pinpoint what the underlying problem is... I told her that he has asked a couple times in the past few weeks if I could pull him out of school and home school him because he "hates" school. He has also expressed a lot of concern about cursive writing. They've been told that starting in January they need to submit their writing work in cursive, and Aaron feels he can't do it.

I can't help but feel that the behavior problems are directly related to his low self-esteem and low self-confidence issues. I also can't help but think that I am the main reason behind these feelings of inadequacy. While I don't do it on purpose, I fear that I use shame techniques and am too "emotionally unavailable" to him (and to everyone else). The trouble is, I don't know how to fix myself!

Tim did a great job talking to Aaron tonight about choices and consequences. Aaron is going to be grounded for the next few days from all TV and Computer use, and he will be doing some extra jobs around the house to earn money which he will then donate to the school to make some restitution for the damage done. He (and the other kids involved) will be missing a few recesses and they will spend that recess time doing service in the school (like picking up trash, cleaning scuff marks from the gym floor, etc...)

On the drive home, Aaron cried and said I don't love him, and that his teacher yells at him all the time and is always mad at him. (I know she does ask him to be quiet often, since he is always talking out during class and has real trouble staying on task and completing his work) Tonight while Tim and I met with him to discuss the problems, I asked Aaron what Tim and I can do to show him and help him know that we love him. He said that I am always spending my time cleaning the kitchen and I never play with him. He wants me to stop cleaning and play more games and spend more time with him. Tim pointed out to Aaron that one of the reasons I have to clean all the time is because he and the other kids are always making giant messes and not cleaning them up.

I guess the good news is that I have a place to start. I will be focusing on getting my cleaning done earlier in the day and spending more time playing with the kids.

This parenting thing is SO hard. I just feel like I don't have a clue what I'm doing, and I worry that I'm ruining my children. (It doesn't help that Caleb still isn't sleeping well (due to being sick) and I am majorly sleep deprived! Oh well. Nobody said life was going to be easy!

How was that Melissa? Betcha now you wish I had waited to put on a happier post. Oh well. I do actually have a couple fun and happy posts in my head, I just can't ever seem to make the time to get them posted. maybe tomorrow. (you know how it is with sick kids, you just sit and hold them all day long...) love ya bunches - glad ya missed me.