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5 months old

October 17, 2017

How has it been five months already?  I could look at this little face all day! I’m pretty sure this is the happiest baby I’ve ever had (although he didn’t really want to smile for the camera this day.)  He will give huge gummy grins to anyone who makes eye contact with him.  More than a couple women at church are absolutely smitten with him.  He has the sweetest personality to go along with the smiles.  He has discovered his hands and loves to hold toys now.  It doesn’t last for long though unless I’m also holding them.  He’s also getting more and more interested in the food we’re eating.  I’m not quite ready to start feeding him although the doctor said we could start any time.  (I really dislike the baby food stage so I need to gear myself up for it.)We’re still waiting on nighttime sleep to improve.  Every once in a while he’ll sleep until 5 a.m. which is wonderful!  More often though, he’ll wake up around 3 or 3:30 for a bottle if Dad feels up to it, or to nurse with me.  However, he’s a dream baby when it comes to naps.  I change his diaper, swaddle him up, stick a pacifier in his mouth and rock him for a little bit, and within minutes he’ll go to sleep and stay asleep.  I remember Little A being a terrible napper (45 minutes to get her out, then 15 minutes of sleep.. if that), so this has been such a blessing, especially when we’re in the middle of our homeschool work.  He is truly a joy!  I am so glad he came to our family!


Starting School 2017

September 11, 2017

This was quite possibly the most unprepared I’ve felt at the beginning of a school year (I think I said that last year, too!)  But I’ve been in baby mode for the past four months, and have had a really hard time getting my brain back in school mode.  DH said the beauty of homeschool was that we could start whenever we felt ready, but I said if that were the case, we might not get started until Christmas, so it was best to just go for it now.

For the most part we just continue on with the next level of whatever we used the the year before, so it’s not that hard to start up again.  But I did want to make some changes in a few areas, and it was mostly those changes that were holding me back.  I just had the hardest time finding a quiet opportunity to sit and research and ponder all my options.  I kept telling DH that I just wanted one day off, where all I had to do was feed the baby, and he would take care of everything else in the household, but those plans kept getting thwarted by his work schedule mainly.  (He’s essentially doing three jobs at work, plus his weekend gig, and has only had maybe two days off with no work of any kind anywhere in the past month.)

Somewhere I eked out some quiet time and I think I finally have everything figured out now that we’re two weeks in!  I’ll type up a summary of everything we’re doing soon, but on to the pictures:

I was so amazed that E was perfectly willing and happy to be in the first day pictures this year!   
We use that door to compare their height from year to year, so I figured I better line them up the opposite way too so the littles could be in front of the door.  (I think of them now in terms of bigs and littles, three of each.) Our old house had double sliding doors for everyone to stand in front of, but there’s only a single door here, plus we’re growing in number!  
A, 11th grade
C, 9th grade
D, 7th gradeE, 2nd gradeLittle A, preschoolS, adorable babyWe have a tradition of striped shirts for the first day of school, but I’m about ready to toss it.  It was so hard to find stripes this year.  I thought it was hard to find stripes for the boys, and then I went to the girls’ department.  Everything there was neon colors and graphic designs.  Hardly a stripe to be had. Hardly anything decent without words or pictures on it.  Too much Disney.  Where have all the classic children’s clothes gone?  It was depressing.

So we came home to try amazon.  How hard could it be?  She wanted a pink shirt and I wanted stripes on it.

I’m never shopping online with a 3-year-old again!

She has very definite opinions and nixed just about everything I suggested!  After looking at about 327 different options that weren’t outrageously expensive that we could get shipped in time for school, we ended up with a pink bunny dress with striped pockets.  Next time I’m not asking for her input!

I did tell A that in four years or so I’m going to mail him a striped shirt to wear for the first day of university.  Maybe we’ll keep the tradition going just that long.

Lagoon 2017

August 21, 2017

Poppa and Grandma took us to Lagoon amusement park last week.  We didn’t go last summer, so it was like a whole new experience for Little A.  She was big enough to go on rides this time, big enough to play at Lagoon-a-beach, big enough to throw a screaming fit when we had to leave…

Actually, her first fit was when we were done swimming.  She hadn’t figured out the joy of riding rides yet, and was so heartbroken that we were packing up from swimming.  She got over it though, and caught on quite quickly to the fun of rides with her brother.

First though, the big boys had to ride Rattlesnake Rapids with Daddy and Poppa.  Mommy and Grandma weren’t eager to get soaking wet, plus someone had to watch out for the littles.  We officially have bigs and littles, an equal number of each now, although E is getting more and more grownup by the day and will soon be in an in-between category all by himself.  
Speaking of the bigs, I don’t have too many pictures of them.  We would send them off to wait in super long lines for super short heart-stopping thrill rides while we let E and Little A try out almost every little kid ride there was.  And they’ve added more since we were there two years ago.

I think this was their favorite.  I wish I could have captured Little A’s face when the planes first lifted up. Little A didn’t measure up to the 36-inch line to ride the Jeeps by herself (although she hit the mark on all the other rides), so A was the responsible party who went with her. D on the swings:E on the train (He’s looking so grown up!):and on the boats:Little A had to ride in the pink one of course.  E didn’t want to be her buddy here.On the Red Baron ride:We all rode the train and the merry-go-round, even Baby S, who was surprisingly good-natured throughout the day, and took everything as it came without too much fussing.

This was actually Little A’s fourth attempt at the merry-go-round.  The first time we were the last ones to get on and she couldn’t get an animal that went up and down, so she sat in the swan seat the entire ride.  Then she wanted to ride a horse.  Daddy waited in line with her and again, they were the last ones through and there were no carousel horses left. A third try–same outcome.  I said to DH, “Why don’t you just tell the guy to let you on first the next time around?”  But by that time, Little A wanted to ride the boats again.  After the boats and sensing that our time was getting short, Little A wanted to give it one more try.  I was done nursing S, so I took her and E and they both got carousel horses.  Well, a zebra in her case.  After the ride was through, she told me his name was Marty.  A zebra named Marty–I think she’s watched Madagascar a few too many times.
And that thing on her face?  She was adamant about getting her face painted.  (The boys have never wanted their faces painted; just another one of those differences between them and the girl in the family!)  But did she want a butterfly or a fairy, or something else girly?  No.  She wanted a hawk on her face.

I guess you could call that a hawk.  $10 for the hawk and then she had a drink of water and it smeared the facepaint first thing.  But she was happy, and Daddy was the sucker who paid for it! 

One last photo of C and D before leaving for night (and E having a fit because, “The park is still open, so why do we have to go hoooooooommmmme?)

MTC and ice cream

August 13, 2017

We’ve had a busy week.  Tuesday was S’s 3-month birthday.  He’s sure a cute and very happy baby!  He’s much more aware of the things and especially the people around him.  We are often rewarded with smiles when we pick him up or talk to him.  That same day we had tickets to do a walking tour of the new Missionary Training Center expansion down in Provo. We picked up DH from work and headed south, hitting rush hour traffic.  It was horrible!  It’s been a long time since I’ve had to drive in rush hour on I-15, and I couldn’t believe how bad it was, and it was only a Tuesday!  It seemed like holiday weekend traffic to me.  Once again, we were exceedingly grateful that we moved west rather than south of Salt Lake when we did, or else DH would have had to navigate that traffic out of downtown every single day!

So I thought I had planned plenty of time to get to Provo and go out to dinner before our tour time, but we had to eat very quickly and barely made it on time.  E was excited to ride the shuttle bus up to the MTC:  “We haven’t ridden a bus in forever, Mom!”  (We never ride the bus anywhere, so yeah, it probably has been forever.)

We all had to stand in the aisles and hold on tight except for A who was holding Baby S who was charming everyone at the back of the bus.

It’s hard to believe it’s only two short years until A can go out on a mission.  I’m trying not to think about that too much.

The new building is so beautiful: tons of windows to let in natural light, and beautiful artwork and murals.

S was not a huge fan of the carrier, but he endured it.

No trip to Provo is complete without a stop at the BYU Creamery which makes the best ice cream we know of, hands down!  I had raspberry cream cheese and it was so good!  Apparently Dad doesn’t do group photos, so here are all the kids enjoying their ice cream.

And one more shot of the MTC as we headed for home.

Blessing Day

August 6, 2017

Today was Baby S’s opportunity to (officially) receive a name and a blessing.  The bishopric counselor announced what his name would be, “Unless his father feels inspired to change it…”  DH whispered, “Tempting!”  But no, he was blessed with the names we had picked out, which both have a lot of heritage behind them.  It was a wonderful blessing.

It was a wonderful day.


Since we had afternoon church, we invited family to come over to our house before church for a brunch.  It was a fun change in menu from the lunches and dinners we’ve had after our other baby blessings.  We had egg and potato casseroles with ham, sausage, or veggies, along with fresh fruit, mini muffins, juices, and yogurt/granola/fruit parfaits.

While Little A was getting her pull-up changed and her dress on for church, I did manage one picture of the five boys.  I can’t believe I have five boys!

We then attempted a family picture.  Ha ha ha.  With each new child, it gets exponentially harder to take a good family photo!  And of course there’s always that one kid that you’re just happy if he’ll agree to be in the photo.  Smiles are completely optional!

Poppa was creative in including E in this one!

This is what real life looks like!

It took a good part of the day, but I finally managed a photo of everyone with the baby.

With Grandma and Poppa:

I think this was where he was just tired of getting passed around, or maybe just tired!

3 Generations:

We’re so grateful to have this sweet little soul as a part of our eternal family!

Finding Family in Maine

July 19, 2017

This is a reworking of a post from 2011 for the Family History Travel with Kids Blog Link Up at Family Locket.  Click the link to read more posts on incorporating family history
in your family travel plans.

The boys had been telling everyone for years that we were going to Maine in 2011.

People would say, “Oh, do you have family back there?”  And we would say, “No…..”

Not now, but we did.  Both of my parents have family lines that come through Maine and I think there’s just something about Maine that must be in my blood.  My husband also has ties to Maine.  His grandmother was a Goodwin and we can trace the Goodwins clear back to Maine in the 1750s.

His 6th-great-grandpa was one Samuel Goodwin, a major in the colonial militia and one of the Kennebec proprietors who settled the Kennebec River valley in the 1750s.  When the Pownalborough Courthouse was erected on the east bank of the river inside Fort Shirley, Major Goodwin and his family moved in as caretakers.  When the town of Pownalborough was split in the 1790s, the court itself moved to the town of Wiscasset, and the Goodwin family and its descendants remained as the inhabitants of the “Old Court House” until the 1950s when it was finally sold to the Lincoln County historical society which still maintains it.  Today the Pownalborough Courthouse is the only pre-Revolutionary courthouse still standing in the state of Maine.

DH and I decided to take kind of a dream trip for our 10th wedding anniversary and track down some of our roots in Maine and Nova Scotia.  We were able to have a personal tour of the Pownalborough Courthouse after we ran into the president of the historical society by happenstance and mentioned we were related to Major Samuel.  Both the tour and walking through the family cemetery on the grounds were an amazing experience for us both.  Our tour guide left us with these words, “Be sure and come back in 2011.  The courthouse will be 250 years old and we’re going to have a big birthday celebration.”

So we came home and told the boys we had to go back to Maine in 2011.  They started planning!  We were always hearing about “our trip to Maine.”  Then suddenly it was 2011 and we had to sit down and figure out if we really could pull off a trip to the East Coast that year.  Thanks to SkyMiles and a nice tax return, we worked it out.

And so in September 2011, we found ourselves on the banks of Kennebec for a day of fun and celebration and the opportunity to experience some of the life our ancestors must have lived.  The trip was not without its mishaps (as most of our family trips never are), but it was an incredible experience that I don’t think any of us will ever forget, and worth every penny!

Standing on the land of their forefathers:

The view in the opposite direction, overlooking the Kennebec River:

Visiting the cemetery on the grounds where many family members are buried:

Colonial games, this one is called Cat and Mouse:

Nine pins:

Rounders, the grandfather of baseball (and much more fun in my opinion):

There were a number of re-enactors there that day.  This guy was dressed as a French-Canadian settler and cooked some amazing salmon and sourdough bread over his fire.  He also gave me a hair clip made from a turtle shell that would have been used to repel bugs when rubbed with bear grease.  He said it will also work if sprayed with insect repellant and then worn (which is much more appealing than bear grease!)

Incidentally, in 2012, my father and I broke through one of our genealogy brick walls and discovered that our ancestor in Maine, a very English-sounding George King, was in fact of French Canadian descent, so this re-enactment was actually relevant to our family history as well, although we didn’t know it at the time!

Members of the Goodwin and White companies who provided us with musket and cannonfire, and military drills for the kids:

The current head of the historical society portraying Major Samuel Denny with the judge come to take  possession of the courthouse and declare court in session, 250 years and 1 day after the original anniversary of Sept. 9, 1761:

Following the judge in the procession into the courthouse:

The courtroom (photo from 2007):

The boys were still going strong with their muskets long into the evening while period music and dancing were happening on the courthouse lawn:

One last view over the river:

Scottish Festival

July 16, 2017

Looking through all my recent photos, there are two themes: babies and bagpipes.  I’m trying to catch up on posting about both.  I think I’ll start with the most recent.

In my new life as a bagpipe mom, I’ve committed myself to a lot of parades, summer sunshine, and pipe music at Scottish festivals!  Last week was a busy one with C’s pipe band playing in the Freedom Festival parade in Provo on the fourth of July, and then in another Scottish festival all day on Saturday.

We took everybody but A down on Saturday to support C.  E was not happy to be there, even after time spent on the playground, but after some kettle corn and frozen lemonade, and a short train ride around Main Street, everybody perked up for the parade and opening ceremonies at noon.

Baby S was pretty happy until the very end of the day.  After the parade, we dropped off the other three at Grandma’s house with some hot dogs to make for lunch and movies to watch.  Then DH drove S and me back to the park so we could hear C’s band play in the pipe competition.  He was going to stay too, but between work and baby up at night, he’d had a rough week of sleep, so I sent him back to take a nap instead while S and I parked ourselves on the lawn for the afternoon.  It was so hot, but at least we were in the shade all day.  We went to another Scottish Festival at the state fairpark a month ago and it was incredibly hot with little to no shade.  This was much better.

C marching in the parade:

His band marching out, ready to perform:

I’m still learning the ins and outs of bagpipe competitions, but apparently you have to have a certain number of pipers to actually compete.  For the Salt Lake festival, some of the band was out of town, so they could only play for critique.  But this weekend they were able to compete and took third place with one of their medleys.

It’s only because C joined this band that they even have enough pipers to compete at all, but one kid graduated in May, so they’ll be too small again next year.  At least they always get to play with the massed bands.  Here are the closing ceremonies from Saturday:

I think I still have bagpipe drones ringing in my ears.

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