Thursday, December 31, 2009

Always on Her Tummy

Whenever I set Molly down these days she quickly rolls onto her tummy.
I used to be able to put her under her toys and she would be happy for a bit batting at the objects dangling down. Now she gets onto her tummy and pushes up and looks around or she arches her back and, with arms raised by her sides, she kicks and kicks. We call this flying. everything is off the floor except the tummy. I know she wants to get moving but I am really not ready for her to be mobile yet.

My baby is growing up too quickly!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Soup is Good Food!

Last night at about 5:00 I alternated between the fridge and the pantry trying to come up with something to eat for dinner. (I really need to start menu planning!) We had spent the day at the park and I was a little cold so I wanted something warm. I kept thinking soup sounded good. We had just had chicken for dinner the night before so I didn't want to make chicken soup. And I didn't have any other meat that sounded good either, so I knew it was going to have be a vegetable soup. I started pulling stuff off the shelf and adding it to the pot. I was so surprised how well it turned out.

I dumped in a bag of frozen vegetables that had asparagus, squash, a bunch of green beans and of course carrots and peas in it. I added them to a box of Vegetable broth that I found in the pantry. I threw in some garlic cloves, a bay leaf, and some basil. One can of diced tomatoes and one of black beans. I didn't have any potatoes and we had just had noodles so I decided to throw in the rest of the rice that was left over from last nights dinner. The soup ended up tasting great! I was surprised. My experiments don't always turn out so well.

The only thing lacking was a slice of fresh bread to serve it with. Instead I just made some toast. I couldn't believe my husband had three bowls for dinner and was thrilled to take some to work today for lunch. My kids on the other hand are not that fond of soup, despite my efforts to make them soup lovers. I have been making soup for dinner at least once or twice a week all Fall. I love soup and it is actually a lot easier than I thought.

My kids did eat at least some of the soup in their bowls. They still complained at the soup but, with fresh pumpkin chocolate chip muffins for dessert, they forced it down. It is always good to make sure there is an incentive when serving something I know my kids aren't going to appreciate as much as I do.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Christmas was a Success!"

Late on Christmas Day Sophie told me and my Mom that she thought Christmas had been a success. I took that as a sign that she felt like it lived up to her expectations. This coming from a girl who was put to be at 8:30 Christmas Eve and didn't actually fall asleep until at least 11:30. She kept her cousins and brothers awake most of that time and drove us crazy with all the times she had to come tell us that so and so was being too loud or that "the boys are going crazy". I guess that is what we get when we put all the kids (my three and my sister's two) in one small room and expect them to fall asleep.

Christmas morning finally came and the kids seemed to rush through stockings and presents quickly and then then settled in to explore the gifts and play with all the different toys they were given. The books of course were tossed to the side to be looked at later.
Sophie's stocking was full of CD's and a few American girl books. And a few chocolates too.
Henry had been telling every Santa we came across that he wanted a lightsabor. He has been looking at them Target for weeks and weeks. I kept trying to tell him that Santa doesn't bring anything that the Mom's or Dad's don't think are appropriate. But he persisted. Luckily Santa came through and Ian and Henry got lightsabors in their stockings. They were blow up lightsabors instead of the hard plastic ones.

The boys sure had a great time with them. One of them didn't make it through the day. The other ended up being left with Aunt Julie when we left Grandma's house. I think Santa knew best what to bring for my boys!

Sophie got another mini American Girl doll. She would have loved to get another full size one but it wasn't in anyone's budget this year. She was happy with Kirsten, which is good. Kirsten can play with the mini Kaya that she got last year for Christmas.

Ian's big gift this year was a case full of Star Wars action figures. They are an old used set I found on Ebay. Most of the figures are from 1977 and a little worn but Ian was thrilled. All his favorites were in there and many, many more. He was so happy. I love to see my kids get so excited about something I worked hard to find or make for them.

Molly's gift to Mom was a good night's sleep, and then slept in until 9:00 Christmas morning. She missed all the excitement but got lots of attention from mom because the others were so busy playing with their new things.

Grandma worked hard feeding, cleaning up after and hosting us during the past week. We wore her out! But she always says it it worth it to have us all there.

I am certainly glad that Sophie felt it was a success. I sure felt like it was too! We have a great family and that is what makes it so fun. We went shooting, played Settlers of Catan, took the walk several times, ate bunches of really good food, and did a lot of sitting around and just talking. It was very nice.

P.s. Aunt S. and Uncle N. the kids love their new bath towel animals. They couldn't wait to use them after their very next bath. Thanks for thinking of such a fun gift!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Homemade Bears are a Hit!

The last few weeks we have been listening to an old 1938 radio show called The Cinnamon Bear. I downloaded it from Homeschoolradioshows.comThe kids have loved it. I printed out the coloring book for each of them and they have colored each picture while they listen to the different episodes over and over again.

While at the library last week they had a display with books about homemade gifts kids can make. One of them was about making homemade teddy bears. I picked it up and brought it home. Sophie found the book in the library bag and started begging to make a bear of her own. She said it was going to be her own Cinnamon Bear.

I went to my stash of fabric got out some brown fleece that is left over from a costume or something I made ages ago. She traced the pattern from the book and cut it out. I then showed her how to pin the pattern onto the fabric and then she cut it out too. She loved getting to stitch up the sides and stuff it. We picked out some buttons for eyes and even one heart shaped one for decoration. The whole project took less than an hour or so and she has a bear that she made and stitched up herself.

The boys of course couldn't go without a "Cinnamon bear" too so I quickly cut out and stitched theirs up for them. They weren't interested in sewing them themselves but they did stuff them and pick out the buttons.

These little bears have been a hit. The boys carry them around in their pockets and they all have used them in countless little stories and play throughout the last day. It is amazing what a little fabric and thread will do. Who needs expensive toys!

This was only the small bear pattern included in the book. Sophie dreams of making the bigger teddy, 16", which is much more complicated. I am sure it won't be a quick and easy project. There are also clothes patterns included so you can make vests, pants and even shoes for your big bear. We will see if this happens! For now the kids are happy acting out the adventures of the Cinnamon Bear with the ones we made.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


It is almost officially Winter but we are still enjoying our Fall leaves.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Meaning of a Name

While listening to Christmas music in the car the other day, Sophie asked me what Emmanuel means. She had heard the name used several times in different carols and songs we had been singing and listening too. I explained that it was another name for Jesus and we talked about all the different names he has gone by or called in the scriptures. My husband of course knew the exact meaning of the name, which is "God is with us". The kids got all excited about the meaning of names and they each wanted to know the meanings of their names. So we went through each one, explained the meaning and then discussed why we had chosen that name.

Sophia was given two names which belonged to a great grandmother on each of our sides. Her first name means Wisdom and her middle name means Light. We didn't know at the time but we gave very appropriate names to this smart, radiant, energy filled girl.

Ian is a Celtic (Scottish) version of the name John which means "God is Gracious". I always tell Ian that his Dad picked out his names. We had such a hard time finding the right boy name and even in the hospital we couldn't decide so finally I just looked at my husband and told him to choose. Ian was one of the names on our list when Sophie was expected. It isn't exactly a family name but there certainly are a lot of men named John in our family history. My husband also picked a good celtic middle name for Ian too. Ian is a rather new name for both sides of our family which usually stick to what my sister calls "prairie names". This just means we have usually stuck to traditional names and spellings and such.

Henry was a name I choose, but I often say Sophie named Henry. Again we were having a hard time picking out a name for another boy and went back through our family history and baby books to find names we liked. Henry was on my list when we were expecting Ian but my husband kept saying he didn't really like it. He wanted George or Gordon. I wasn't happy with either of those so we left it up to Sophie, who promptly pointed out that all of them on the list were names of Thomas trains (Thomas was on the list too). But Soph decided he was going to be Henry so even when there were months to wait for him to come we were calling him Henry (My husband kept thinking we would change it when the baby actually came). We had a number of people tell us we shouldn't give such an old fashioned name to our new little baby. That he would hate us later in life or that it would somehow traumatize him. Once he was here he certainly has lived up to his name which means "ruler of the home". The name just seems to fit him and his personality.

Molly was never a name on our list until she was on her way. Henry was going to be Evelyn if he had been a girl. We just always new Ian was going to be a boy so never had a girls name picked for him. Sophie was either going to be Ian or Cedric and we had briefly considered the name Anna when she was expected. For some reason, this time around, I really liked the names Mary, Miriam or Margaret. Molly is a nickname for Mary and Miriam. And when I read the book Wives and Daughters, Molly Gibson explains that she was named Mary after her mother but when her mother lived she was always called Molly. I loved the name ever since. Molly or Mary has a disputed meaning but the one I like best is "wished for child". Once we talked about the meaning of her name my older kids have been calling Molly "wished for child". We talked about how after Henry was born we thought we may be done having children. Henry wasn't the easiest of babies and living where we do is so expensive we thought three was all we could afford. Some of the people around us think we were crazy even to have a third. But we still felt like there was supposed to be one more. So we waited for the fourth to come. The others had all come two years or so apart but no new baby was coming. Sophie kept asking and even praying for a sister. As time passed we thought maybe God had other plans, until finally Molly decided to make her appearance. So she truely is a "wished for child".

We had such a great discussion about names and how each of their names was chosen. We have talked about them several times since. We did run into a problem though. Grandma likes to give the kids Christmas ornaments with their names on it. This week when we went to decorate the tree the kids were pulling out their ornaments. They each have a little baby cradle with their name and birth date on it. Then there are several more for Sophia and Ian and even me and my husband. Molly was given her little cradle and one more with her name on it from Grandma today. But for some reason she can never find ornaments with the name Henry on it. It isn't a strange name but I guess in such little use that you can't find it. It is going to be my project in the next few days to see if I can find an ornament with his name on it. He was a little disapointed when the others got to hang up ornament after ornament with their names on it and he didn't. We purposefully made ornaments this year and put our names on them, so at least he has that one.

I am glad my kids are happy with their names. It is hard to pick just the right names for your children. We tried really hard to pick names they would be proud of and it is amazing how each name, even though they are given before you really know them, fit their personalities.

p.s. Close up pictures of ornaments really show off our plastic, fake Christmas tree. It certainly isn't authentic looking or smelling but it has been a great tree. 5 Christmas seasons already and hopefully more to come!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another Christmas Tradition

Over the years we seem to have added traditions onto our Christmas season. Our kids don't seem to let us skip them one year or replace them with something else. So even though this event is exactly the same each year we go to Bethlehem and the kids look forward to it and tell everyone we know about it so they too can go.

I also think it is a tradition for it to rain the weekend that this event is put on. The last few years we have been well bundled and attended even though it was pouring rain.

We started in the city where the Romans patrol the streets. The mostly clear the path for Joseph to lead the donkey carrying Mary to the well for a drink and then to the census taker and finally to look for lodging.

They are told to go to the stable where the baby is then born (behind closed doors).
Across town we see and here the angel appear to the shepherds who the come running through the streets and crowd to the stable.

The scene isn't complete until the wise men come, with great pomp and riding on camels, to see and worship the baby Jesus.

After watching most of the show we wander back through the streets of Bethlehem and visit all the different stalls. There is the Perfumery where we were able to see and smell frankincense and myrrh. Henry particularly loved the carpenter workshop where you could try out some of the tools.

They had booths with pottery, basket weaving, wool spinning, cloth dying, and even food stalls where the kids got to see some of the foods and grains that they might have eaten in Bethlehem at that time.

After leaving the busy streets we went to see the angel appear to the shepherd outside the city walls and then to the wise men's camp to see the fire dancing and listen to the wise men discuss the new star that had appeared. The show is continually going on. Every half hour or so the different parts of the show repeat so if you miss one part then you can catch it later.

I am always glad the kids won't let this tradition go. Every year I am glad we attended even though it is raining and we are muddy going home.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

So Little to Do, So Much Time...Wait... reverse that!

I have talked a number of people recently and they are all feeling "the December stress". I would almost say it is just the after Halloween stress. For some reason this time of year is just jam packed with things that need to get done and events that need to be attended and fantasies that need to be fulfilled. I have felt like we are juggling it all and fitting in everything but it does feel a bit chaotic and stressful.

I am happy to report I am now officially done shopping and just need to start wrapping. I have ordered what I needed online, I have found what I needed for each person at the stores and have even finished the items I needed to sew. It is a great feeling. I do admit that this morning I made one more purchase though. While I was reading through blogs I read about a giveaway that Cocoa is doing on her blog for a CD of new Christmas songs. I would love to win the prize but couldn't help but want the CD and didn't want to wait to see if I was one of the lucky ones. I went ahead and bought it for myself. It will be my gift to myself. I can always find another person to give a CD to if I was lucky enough to win it.

Sophie has been rather upset that we haven't been doing everything we usually do at Christmas time. We have had to cut a few events this year because we just can't fit everything into our schedule. We did however get ourselves to the Christmas Creche exhibit that a LDS stake in Palo Alto puts on each year. It is one of the things the kids look forward to each year.
We couldn't take any pictures of the actual Creche displays so here are our kids in the children's room playing with a few nativity sets that are out for the kids to handle. I think we need to get the playmobil nativity set next year. The boys sure loved it!
The marionette show is always a highlight of the visit. I had never seen the show so packed with people!
We run into so many people that we know in the children's room each year. We are always looking for faces that we recognize. This year I passed a guy in the hall carrying his two children and I thought..."he looks familiar". It took me a moment to place his face and realized it wasn't a guy I knew but that Steve Young has a face that I just recognized.
The boys were more interested in playing with the nativities, Sophie was thrilled to get to dress up. She dressed up as a wise man and then a sheep and finally Mary. It was a lovely event and the nativities on display were beautiful. It is always a highlight of our Christmas season.

We have been doing school, more or less, between events, shopping and sewing. I have even attempted to keep to doing at least one experiment a week. This past week we made borax slime.
It turned out more like gloop. I think I put in too much borax and it hardened a little too much but the boys had fun playing with it so I guess it was a success.

I have made and the kids have been doing a bunch of file folder games recently too. This is one of Ian's favorites where he gets to follow the directions on the letters to deliver they to the right mailboxes.

So yes, we are busy, but busy doing good things.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Great Christmas Stories.

I admit that we are going rather light on school this week. We have spent a lot of time reading Christmas books. I picked up a bunch (10 of them to be precise. We are only allowed 5 per library card) of them last week and then picked up another 10 books this week. Many of the books are the same ones we have read for the past few years and others are new ones that I just decided to give a try. We have really enjoyed many of them while others are.... well lets just say we aren't going to be keeping them or checking them out again.

Here are two that we really liked from this weeks stash.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey is a lovely story about how one man is brought out of his gloom by a little boy and a nativity set. It made we want to get out our Nativities. But I am holding out until Monday which is when I told the kids we would get out all the Christmas stuff. We will see if I don't relent and get them out tomorrow.

I also found this one was made into a movie. It is over a hour and a half long so it really fleshes out the story and very beautifully filmed. My kids really loved watching the story come to life in this film version.

The other book we really connected with isn't a particularly spiritual book but it was one we could relate to. It is called My Penguin Osbert. The little boy in the book has his heart set on a penguin and then when he gets it he realizes that it isn't quite so fun to have a penguin and wants Santa to take it back.

I remember one year Sophie told every Santa she came across that she really wanted a stuffed Cheshire cat that she had seen at Costco. It was the only thing she wanted and just knew that Santa would come through. It ended up being by her Stocking Christmas morning and she was thrilled. But when night time came, she didn't want to sleep with it or even have it in her room with her. It had to sleep out in the living room because it was too scary. She continued to have bad dreams about this Cheshire Cat so we ended up getting rid of it.

I remind her of this Cheshire cat whenever she wants something that she feels she just has to have in hopes that she will think about the gift and make sure it is really what she wants.

It is a good thing there are so many Christmas books at the library. We are going through a bunch of them everyday. I think I need to get Ian and Henry library cards so that they too can each check out 5 books. Then we could have 20 Christmas books out at the same time. We have gone through that many this week. Do you have any that you think we really need to try?