Sunday, June 14, 2015

May 2015

I may or may not be a little (or a lot) obsessed with this sweet face. Emma is the perfect baby. I mean perfect. At two months old she is sleeping 8 solid hours a night without waking up to feed. All my babies have been fairly good sleepers, but she takes the cake for being the best.  She is growing and developing right on track and is beginning to smile and respond with coos when we talk to her. All her siblings are totally in love with her. She has brought nothing but pure joy in to our home.

The month of May brought a lot of spring cleaning. I even cleaned and sealed/painted my grout. Check out these before and after pictures.
This Grout refresh is awesome. Thanks for the inspiration, Jodi.
This is what the kids did while I was busy with the grout. Luckily they had the Paulos girls to entertain them and build chair trains with.
I also got a new rug. I actually prefer the old maroon one that has been in my living rooms for about the last decade, but I needed one that hid dirt and messes better and was bigger to hide more of our worn carpet.. Besides, I found this on a killer deal at Lowes for only $68. For the first time ever, Derrick and I bought our very first flat screen TV, a 40 incher, not pictured. We've always had old hand-me-down, heavy TV's but decided to get a new one before one of them fell on our children and killed them. 
Meanwhile, back at the University Hospital, Derrick was playing dress-up with fellow physicians. 
This is me braving Costco for the first time with 5 kids. Its so funny to watch people counting every time I pass. I'm definitely not in Utah anymore. People here act like they've never seen such a big family before. I want to make a T-shirt that reads, "If you think I've got MY hands full, you should see my Mother."
Don't worry, all I have to do is bribe them with food and they will be good....if I throw in some icecream.
And maybe a little cotton candy at the school carnival...
Waking up next to this doll is one of the most precious moments in life. I always feel guilty when I wake up to her staring at me and patently waiting for me to feed her, as I glace at the clock realizing that it has been way too long since she's eaten. Although I don't need a clock to tell me that. Any nursing mother knows what I mean :).

Farewell Luncheon
I put together a little party and invited a few friends to bid farewell to Emily Ashford, Alyson Lloyd, and Audrey McBerney. We sure miss these friends. We had lunch at Big'z, which has a great outdoor space for the kids. It was super fun. I love being surrounded by such wonderful friends.
A Sunday walk...
Goodbye Daddy
Derrick had to go to Canada for a military mission for two weeks. When he left it was cloudy and the sun didn't come out the entire time he was gone, which was a good reflection of how my heart felt while he was gone. Everything is more gloomy without Derrick. Funny thing is that the sun finally came back out to stay the moment he came home (see pics at bottom for proof).
But at least I had a good distraction lined up to keep me busy while he was gone.
Jake and Miriam's visit 
It's weird to think that Jake is 4 years younger than me and Miriam is 12 years younger. Here they look like they could be the parents of these children.

It didn't take long for me to put them to work.
The girls room desperately needed to be painted. So while Jake worked on tiling the bathrooms Miriam helped me paint the room. The girls had been begging to paint their room pink, so we compromised and I let them pain one wall pink. Luckily I found all this paint on the clearance isle for super cheap. They had two cans of the "accessible beige", which looks more gray than beige, but regardless I love the color and it complements the pink perfectly. I was impressed with what a good job the girls did. With the help of Miriam they didn't spill a single drop of paint on the carpet.

We did run to Home Depot for supplies more times than I can count, but these trips were always fun. Especially when Miriam and I ran around the store late at night laughing about how embarrassed Mom would be to see us in a store in our grubby paint clothes.
We also painted the hallway. It's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do.

And then Miriam personally put contact paper in all my kitchen and bathroom drawers. By the time she was finished I felt like I had a whole new house.
Miriam and Jake were being sneaky in the garage when I went out to find they were assembling a brand new wet/dry vac they purchased for me as a gift. I still have to hold back the tears as I think of their generosity and kindness. This gesture means so much to me and I love my new vacuum. I have already used it a ton to vacuum out the Yukon and I bring it in my house to suck up ugly spiders/cob-webs and also to vacuum around the baseboards since my Kirby doesn't have a hose.
Jake is so handy and walked around my house with a screw driver fixing things. He also did a killer job on the tile. Luckily my landlords paid him well for his services cause he definitely deserved it. The first day he sent me to Walgreens to grab some Gatoraid. I came back with 6 thinking that would last him the full week, but the next day he went back and got 12 more large bottles of Gatoraid. 

Jake and Miriam worked their butts off. Literally. Within the first few days here Jake repoted he had lost 7 lbs and Miriam 5. Neither of them were eating very much because they claim the heat killed their appetites. Or maybe it was my food that killed their appetites.
But we also made time for fun. One day while the tile was setting they spent the day at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Jake was feeling the love by receiving free cans of coke with his name on them. I also sent them to get their very first-ever massages (using a Groupon). Which were much needed after all their back-breaking work.
Miriam really is the baby whisperer. Alyssa had been having a hard time going to nursery. I'd all but given up on it, but with Miriam's charms Alyssa went to nursery and stayed the whole time without crying. It was Mother's day that day and that was the best mother's day gift I could of been given. During Sunday School Page recruited Jake and Miriam to cut strawberries for the Mother's day Yogurt Bar. Which if anyone needs a fun idea, this was a huge hit. It was way better than any ward mother's day treat I'd ever received.

Crack the egg turned in to crack to ankle...
luckily it was just a sprain.
Yep, still can't get enough of this girl.
Here are the before and after pictures of the tiling job that Jake worked so hard completing. Can you tell from the pictures how much better the bathroom smells without the urine-filled carpet?
And the before and after pictures from the master bathroom. Well, almost "after" there is a little more to the story...
So, Jake recommended we go with a "Bone" color for our grout. I insisted I wanted something darker to hide the dirt and to not show traffic lines. He told me several times not to do it and that "Bone" would look the best. Being stubborn I didn't listen and he finally relented and let me have my way. When we were all finished grouting I loved it.The grout was exactly the color I wanted. I went to bed smiling about my new beautiful bathroom. The next morning I woke up mortified when I walked in to the bathroom and saw that the grout color had changed as it dried to an unattractive cream color that didn't complement Jake's superb tile laying job. I put on a happy face and told Jake and Miriam I loved it, but inside I was tormented with remorse over my poor decision and for not listening to Jake. I was so mad at myself and couldn't get over it. Not that I care so much for my own personal sake. After all we are only renting this home for another couple of years, but because I felt responsible for it. And I knew this tile would be there for many many years to come and I felt awful for whoever had to look at it every day. Jake and Miriam left on a Saturday and by Monday I knew I had to fix it and do it fast before Derrick returned home Wednesday. So I hired a couple Hispanic men to come saw out the grout and mix up some of the "Bone" grout for me. They only charged me $70 for their work. and I used the skills I had learned from watching Jake and personally re-grouted the entire bathroom. It turned out beautifully. Although it was a lot of work cleaning up the mess made from all the grout dust. I had to wash EVERYTHING. But it was totally worth it cause now every time I go in my master bathroom I feel happy and smile. I guess I learned my lesson the hard way. Thanks Jake for being such a great teacher.
I don't know what we were thinking going down to Corpus Christi in such terrible weather. We were pounded with rain on the drive down down. We kept getting flash flood warnings on our phones and there were signs on the freeway saying "don't drown, turn around". Once we got there the waves were fierce and it was windy. Luckily the Lord protected us in our foolishness. At least we were in good company, the baby slept the whole way in the car, and we ate some good chicken while there. What more could we ask for!

Church's chicken was finger lickin'.

On the way back we stopped at SAS shoes for some 5 cent popcorn and 10 cent cokes.

Good thing Emma had Uncle Jakey there to keep her safe and warm while her daddy was gone.
Unfortunately he couldn't protect Alyssa from walking right in to this pond and falling in as we walked around the downtown Riverwalk.

Some inside Jokes should never be let out....

I've heard several times in my life that Jake and I look alike. This is our first ever selfie to prove that we don't...or crap, maybe we do.

Eating at Casa Rio on the Riverwalk. 
The next day we ate at Pappasitos where they gave the kids tortilla dough balls to play with while we were waiting for our delicious fajitas. Yummo.
Awe, the traditional sit-on-the-counter-top goodbye pictures. See all the junk food on the the fridge behind them? Apparently Jake and Miriam are related to my dad and I should never let them go to Costco alone. But oh those chocolate covered almonds. We pretty much came home from our beach trip sick to the stomach from all the junk food. But oh those chocolate covered almonds.
TOP 10 things Jake taught me during his Texas trip 2015:
1. If  you just tap your blinker it will automatically turn off after a few seconds.
2. Loosen the straps of the carseat before putting the baby in to avoid ripping her arms off.
3.The right hand lane downtown is for buses only.
4. How to change the settings of a ceiling fan for summer or winter.
5. How to use cruise control (or birth control according to mom).
6. How to catch fruit flies in a cup.
7. Texas flags are the only flags that don't have to fly lower than the US flag.
8. How to properly use the call function in the car on bluetooth
9. How to fix a sprinkler head.
10. How to change a fuse in the car.

I enjoyed Jake and Miriam's company more than I could of imagined. They are so much fun and we had a riot hanging out, laughing, working, and playing together. I hope they come back for a visit soon.
Meanwhile back in Canada...
Derrick had a wonderful time at this military training. It involved three countries and basically they played war. Luckily he only got killed three times in their mock war drills.
Derrick is an awesome Soldier and an even better doctor. One family practice physician that Derrick worked with a lot during this mission came home reporting that Derrick is "a force to be reckoned with".

We were so glad when he came home home to us.
Blue skies...nothin' but blue skies.
During this mission Derrick was chosen out of his unit for an award for his superior service.
Now back to life as we know it.

Brynlee finally lost her first tooth!
At Emma's two month check she weighed almost 12 lbs. She is growing so fast.

Alyssa at the dentist. No cavities, and she even sat still while they cleaned and examined her teeth. As she is getting older she really is becoming more friendly and not so clingy to me.
The Pine Wood Derby
Last year Kennan's pine wood derby car did terrible. That experience gave Derrick the drive to work hard this year to build an awesome car. 
And it worked! Kennan won first place.

He was so proud and excited.
Kennan did an amazing job at his piano recital. He had all three of his songs memorized. Jan, who is nine months pregnant in this picture, is a gifted teacher.

Kennan and Brynlee won first place in their grades for their school and therefore were invited to the city-wide bike rodeo competition downtown. It happened to be the day of the Ward family reunion, which is why we are all wearing matching Texas t-shirts. Except Kennan. He was too cool to match us downtown. Actually, he just wanted his shirt to match his bike.
The above right picture is from a few weeks prior when Kennan and Carlos attempted to fix the bike tire and then go off a jump. Upon landing his  tire flew off, his face hit the pavement, and his crooked top tooth penetrated his top lip.

The Otto's and the Peterson's kids were all there competing too. Because we all ban together to ensure our kids are over-achievers. :)
Looking cool at the Ward Family Reunion, Texas style.
Our kids favorite place on Earth...Bass Pro Shop! This day they had a super cool catch and release fishing pond for the kids. Carson and Everett joined us.

This motorized Barbie car is the best hand-me-down ever. Thanks Jodi and Jan.
Kim built a pinewood derby track in her back yard to practice racing the dozen cars she made for the derby this year. She is hard-core.
We have had so much fun with our carpool this year.
Cami was so blessed to be in Sister Bernet's preshool this year. I cannot believe how much she has learned. Sister Bernet is a gifted teacher who uses her talents to bless the lives of children as she does this preschool free of charge.
 Cami's last day of preschool was a water party. Here she is with her two favorite friends Grant and Emory.