Monday, September 23, 2013

Mother of the Year

Oh, boy.  I just read one of the many newsletters the school sends home.  Today was picture day.  If only I'd read that newsletter before the kids went to school.  I would have had Claire turn her shirt around; it was on backwards.  And I would have had Damon comb his hair with something besides the pillow.  And maybe I would have had Anne wear something other than a "Peace" shirt. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Trek West: Part 2

I'm counting on my pioneer ancestors to have good senses of humor--I'd hate for them to read my last post and despise me for describing a cross-country trip in an air-conditioned minivan as something difficult.  Of course, they probably have better things to do than follow my blog, so I won't worry about it anymore.

Here's my grandma with Julia.  (These pics are all in Malad, ID.)

We got Claire baptized!  We've been worried about this day for about a year.  Claire's not into submersion.  But, my mom did her hair all cute, and then with the dress on (same one I wore when I was 8!) Claire was entranced.  Seriously.  She couldn't stop talking about how gorgeous she was and how excited she was for all the people at her baptism to see her looking like a beautiful princess.  Gulp.  I purposely invited almost no one because I didn't want her to feel too humiliated if she wasn't able to go through with it in the end.  But she did it!  Hyperventilated all the way into the font, but she did it!
 Sibs and cousins.

 All the Firth grandkids at the time, except Eli who had just barely been born in Pullman, WA.

The kids riding Yogi.

 My mom and Julia.
Random snippets:

The day after her baptism, Claire saw a necklace my mom was wearing and said.  "Uh-oh, I'm not perfect anymore.  I just coveted."  Anne liked the necklace, too, but they both coveted it less when they found out it wasn't a locket.  It just looked like one.  (Note to self: lockets would make good stocking stuffers this year.)

Anne, regarding the Cache Valley Mall play area:  "This place in permanent to my heart.  When can we move back to Logan?"  (If you're familiar with this particular play area, you might be surprised it could have such a hold on anyone.  I certainly was.)

Damon with BB gun in hand:  "Is it cruel to shoot grasshoppers while they're mating?"
Jake, in an aside to my dad: "Well, I know I wouldn't like it."
My dad: "All's fair in love and war."

At Family Home Evening Claire gave us lecture on healthy foods.  Special thanks to Justin, Lex, and Grandpa for the perpetual questions that stretched this lesson to a record 30 minutes.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Trek West: Prologue

You might be wondering how one survives two days (as in 12-14 hours each day) of driving with 4 children, one of whom is a newborn baby.

1.  The newborn is the easiest.  The car seat puts her to sleep.
2.  Make sure the older kids are addicted to computer screens (movies, games, etc.)
3.  In the months leading up to the trip, limit screen time to 2 hours per day, which they have to earn by doing housework.  Expect lots of whining and crying, but keep in mind the torture is worth it: once the trip begins, the addicts think they've died and gone to heaven with unlimited access to the laptop/iPad.  Just make sure there are enough screens to go around.
4.  You need to love something that you hardly ever get to do, but can be done while in the car in-between tossing snacks and DVDs to children (in my case, reading). 
5.  CRUCIAL: You need to hit a huge pothole during your turn driving so your spouse would prefer to do all the driving himself rather than let you take the wheel again.

If you are unable to meet those 5 requirements, do not attempt the journey.  Skype or bite the bullet and buy airplane tickets.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Trek West, Part One

 Grandma and Grandpa H's house, where we blessed Julia.

 Anne dictated who and what was in the above photo: she had to hold Julia in front of the cabinet that held treasures (she made Grandma H get them out for her more than once), and her cousin Ayda had the privilege of standing next to her.  Anne and Ayda really hit it off, though they had a hard time remembering each other's names.  Whenever Ayda lost track of Anne she'd wander around saying, "Where is my friend?"  When Anne lost Ayda she'd ask, "Do you know"

 Grandma H and Julia.

Anne with Mic (who left for the MTC in Mexico City two days after this picture) and Maycee.  Anne has a thing for older boys.  As in she falls in love with every cute one she meets, even her own cousin.  This worries me. 

Wish I had more pics of our time in southern Utah--we had a really great time.

Gotta get dinner on the table and head to the YW activity so I'll chat at ya later. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What the...

Why are random phrases in my posts suddenly underlined in red and linked to ads?  Is this a bizarre cyberattack on my blog?  Or is this just a manifestation of my computer ineptitude?  Does anyone else see this?  Has it happened to you?  How do I get rid of it?!

Monday, September 16, 2013

time travel

The kids went back to school the day after Labor Day.
Is Anne taller than Claire?  Probably, but I'm avoiding having that officially confirmed just yet.  I slip in comments once in a while about my Aunt Annette being younger than and taller than Grandma Becca, my brother Justin being taller than and younger than Lex, and Lynsey being just as tall as me but 4 years younger--trying to brace Claire for the inevitable, while not making a big deal out of her doctor appointments to have her growth (or lack thereof) checked.

A few days prior we were winding up our road trip out West.  On our way home we stopped in Nauvoo, Illinois.

The temple was rebuilt to be as close to the original in size and location as possible.  I can't get over how the early Saints built the original in only a few years, continuing to work on it even as they prepared to leave.
 Here's a replica of a ferry the Saints would have taken to cross the Mississippi River during the exodus.  Poor Julia looks like she is dying of heat exhaustion.  It was crazy hot and humid while we were there.
 Kids in front of Joseph and Hyrum statues in front of the temple.

 Random family at the Mississippi River where the Saints began their exodus, starting February of 1846.
 Here's Carthage Jail, where Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed.

I'm so glad Jake wanted to see Nauvoo.  I didn't think we'd be able to handle it (looooong road trip+new baby=frazzled exhausted parents who need to go home), but now I'm so glad we went. Those early Saints were extraordinary, and the senior missionary couples who run the site are wonderful.  I left feeling spiritually uplifted, which is peculiar if you think about it--it would be natural to feel bitter and angry about how the Saints were forced to leave in the middle of winter.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars.  Be sure to go if you ever get the chance. Oh, and did I mention everything (and there's a lot) run by the LDS Church is free?  The Community of Christ Church also gives tours, and I think they only charge a few dollars, but we were pressed for time and are all about free, so we didn't do that.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow (or the next day) as we continue our journey backwards through time and show pictures of our stay in Utah and Idaho!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary

One of my friends taught me the "Is it kind, is it true, is it necessary?" test at a YW's presidency meeting a while ago when we were trying to get the YW to say nicer things to each other.  For months I've been trying with little (maybe no) success to get my kids to apply the test to the things they say.  Take this morning for example.

"Mom," says Anne at the breakfast table, "I don't like the way you look."

This came as a surprise.  I had some make-up on and was wearing church clothes that, according to the magic mirror on my bathroom wall, made me look 10 lbs lighter.  Ah, I remembered, my hair.

"Well, I haven't done my hair yet.  I'll look better when my hair's done."

"No," said Anne.  "I don't like your shirt."

Hmmm.  OK.  Well, I'm nursing and not quite back to my pre-pregnancy size, so my options are limited.  But I'd brought up my hair.  Big mistake.  My hair is Claire's pet peeve and she jumped right in.

"You need to grow your hair so it's long and curly instead of short and ugly."

Sheesh.  It's a good thing I was born with an extraordinary amount of self-esteem.  But maybe not everyone Claire comes into contact with was, so I started the lecture I've repeated at least 20 times in the past year:  "Just because you think" (heavy emphasis on 'you think') "something is true, you shouldn't say it if it isn't kind or necessary." 

Some day the lesson will sink in, right?  Otherwise, Heaven help the people my girls tell the truth to.

Friday, September 13, 2013

What Love Is

"Good night, Claire.  I love you."

"Good night, Mom.  I do love you, too, but here's what I think about love and the members of my family.  I don't feel my love for them, but I do like to have them around and I want them to live as long as I do.  I don't want any of them to die while they're kids or anything."

Good enough.  We'll take it.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

good baby

Guess who slept through the night last night!  9:45 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., and she would have slept longer except my shirt was soaked and I needed to relieve some pressure.  Hurray for Julia!  Please don't make this a one-time thing, sweetheart. 

 Julia at 6 a.m. this morning.  My photography skills are sick.  (I gather from my hip nephew Mic and from Sunday's Doonesbury comic [I don't like Doonesbury.  Why is it in the funnies and not the opinion page?  And why can I not stop myself from reading it?  But last Sunday it was actually funny without being totally left-wing.  No offense if you're a left-winger.  You probably didn't like Mike Royko when he was alive, but I don't hold it against you.  Anyhow, moving on...] that 'sick' means awesome.  The traditional definition might apply better here, but I wanted to display my knowledge of cool person slang.)