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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.

2 months already!

July 11, 2017

Baby S is two months old already!  We went back to the doctor yesterday for a checkup.  He now weighs 7 lbs. 13.8 oz.  and is 20 inches long.  He’s newborn size!

The doctor was impressed with his weight gain, but wants me to keep feeding him two supplemented (with super high calorie preemie formula) bottles of milk everyday until she sees some real catch-up growth.  (Last time she said she wanted me to supplement until she could see some real chunk on him.  I should have told her that we don’t do “chunk” at our house.  Not a single baby of mine has ever been remotely chunky.)

But I don’t know if I can keep pumping for another two months.  I am so sick of pumping milk!  I’ve slacked off a bit lately because it’s just such a pain! I’d love to just sit down and feed my baby with no worries about when to give him a bottle and if I’ll be able to pump enough for the next bottle.

Everything else looks healthy and normal.  The doctor was highly impressed with his neck strength.  She’d seen another 2-month-old earlier that day who was much more floppy-headed than S and he wasn’t even a preemie.  Like all of his siblings, S wants to hold his head up and look at the world, and has really good control of his neck muscles.

He is so very close to smiling.  A swears that at least he’s gotten a real smile from S.  He would; he always seems to get the first smiles.  I don’t what it is about him, but I’m still waiting for a real smile from S myself.  For now, I’ll have to be content with my pleasant-looking boy.

A math problem (and other thoughts)

June 19, 2017

Question: What time should we go to bed?  Factor in:

  1. the hours of sleep we need
  2. the amount of sleep deprivation we’re currently suffering from
  3. how many times in the night the baby will wake up
  4. how much time it will take to change, feed, burp, and possibly change him again
  5. the probability that he will go right back to sleep and not fuss and spit up everything he just ate during the next 90 minutes
  6. the time the alarm will go off signalling Daddy’s six weeks of paternity leave are over and he must go to work again…

Answer: about 5 hours before we actually did (and technically I’m not in bed yet, I’m typing this because I don’t have to go anywhere in the morning, and I needed to spend a few moments by myself, just to hear myself think, without a single child needing anything from me!)

Also factor in the fact that it’s June, and the sun never seems to set, and we have other children who think it can’t possibly be bedtime if it’s still light outside, whether Daddy needs sleep or not.

So DH goes back to work tomorrow and it’s definitely going to be an adjustment, although I’m incredibly grateful he’s had six weeks of paid leave this time around.  He’s only ever had two weeks off before and considering we spent the first nine days of S’s life driving back and forth to visit him in the hospital (blog post coming soon), I was really glad DH didn’t have to go back to work five short days after we were all finally home together.

Overall we’ve done ok, and I think this baby has been kinder to us during the nights than the last two were (as I remember it.)  He must know we’re old parents!  He’s actually slept almost 5 hours in one stretch several nights now.  DH has also been very kind to me.  He will take the first feeding of the night and give S a bottle so I can get a longer stretch of uninterrupted sleep.  Then he’s been able to sleep in if needed and I can get up and make it through the day (usually) without feeling utterly exhausted.

But DH has already had to be at his weekend job at 6 a.m. the past two days and I’ll admit, it’s been rough, especially after last night when he got a total of four hours of (interrupted) sleep.  His regular job is more flexible as to start times though, which I think will be a blessing this week, but we’ll have to see how it goes.  It’s a good thing babies are cute!  (DH says it’s a survival mechanism.)

I haven’t had S weighed in two weeks, but he feels like he’s getting heavier.  We’ve quit taking 101 pictures every day to compare, but I think his face is also filling out.

DH said the last six weeks have given him a taste of what retirement will be like.  Although when he can retire for good, who knows.  He can retire with a pension in 2 ½ years, but at that point we’ll have a 2-year-old, and probably the first of many missionaries out, so he’ll need another job, that’s for sure!  Actual retirement will be a long ways down the road!

Personally I hope retirement isn’t like the last 6 weeks.  We’ve had no routine at all other than feeding the baby approximately every three hours, night and day.  When not sleeping, DH has been trying to build garden boxes for me, fix the air conditioning in the suburban, and various other projects around the house and cars.  I think he was overly ambitious as to what could be accomplished in his time off, but we did finally get a garden planted and seeds are actually sprouting!  We only lost about a month of growing time, but we may reap a harvest yet!

The high priest’s group in our ward came over last Saturday and completely cleaned up the rest of our yard.  I don’t know if DH requested or suggested it as a project, or if our neighbors finally decided we needed help with our weeds, but it was incredible how much they accomplished in just 80 minutes–probably more than we could have done ourselves in a month!  Now we just have to maintain it, which is must less daunting than it was a week ago.

I was telling A how I used to spend just 10 minutes a day outside when he was little and C was a baby, trimming branches and pulling weeds.  Granted that yard was one third the size of this one, but with five of us working for 10 minutes a day, we could easily stay on top of it now if we’d just commit to it.

I also need to commit to spending just a few minutes a day on different projects inside the house as well.  With a new little one, I’ve realized again just how much time is eaten up sitting and nursing, and how much I don’t have a lot of long stretches of time to do the big projects in one go.  And the entire house needs to be decluttered.  Again.  But if I’d just commit to 15 minutes a day, it will add up in a hurry.  Several other projects could use just 15 minutes a day as well (like sharing those 101 pictures of the new baby!)  With DH back to work, I’m really hoping we can find some new routines that will get us through the summer in a good way.

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