OK, I'm going to blatantly copy my sister Shawni here (see her 2009 snapshot here - and see my sister Saydi's snapshot here). In the midst of capturing all the big events and trips and extra special moment and my musings about motherhood on this blog, I don't want to forget the little things that make up the fabric of our everyday life around here. There are so many random little parts of what we do around here that I don't want to forget - but that I probably will if I don't write them down. So here's my "word photo" of what our every-day life has been like in the last year:
When they wake up (usually at like 7am), the twins usually grab their pillows and head downstairs to hang out with their big brothers. It's turned into the boys' special snuggle and play time. When I tuck them in bed at night, they're always having to run downstairs to retrieve their pillows...
Eliza wants us to paint our nails together all the time and I think maybe I've gone along with the idea maybe once or twice. I've never been a nail painter but I realize Liza needs this special "girl" time with me so I should make time for it more.
Eliza does "art" all the time and loves doing her homework and writing stuff. She presents me with a special picture she's drawn or a sweet note that she's written for me at least once a day (it's often wrapped in wrapping paper with a bow and everything). She looks at me with a twinkle in her big deep blue eyes and says "mommy, I've got something for you!"
All the kids still call me "Mommy." I like it. Isaac toyed with calling me "mom" after a friend said "you call your mom mommy?" and he got self-conscious about it. I told Isaac it didn't matter what other kids called their moms, I still liked him to call me "mommy" because "mom" made me feel old. He happily switched back to "mommy" - it seems the "mom" thing didn't work really feel comfortable to him either.
Silas has learned to say his "L's" properly and makes a real point of enunciating them very clearly. I love how he says his name: SiLLLLas LLLoosLLLi. Oliver seems to have decided to stick with the "w" sound for the "l" and the "r" sounds for now. He's never one to be affected much by popular opinion.
Ashton finished all the Harry Potter books in about 10 days a couple months back, tore through several Narnia books and now he's on book three in the Lightening Thief series. The main thing he wants to talk about these days is Greek myths. He sneaks off to read all the time and reads under his covers when he's supposed to be sleeping.
I do all my kids' hair while they eat breakfast at the bar (didn't realize Shawni did the same thing until I read her 2009 Snapshot) - I just go down the line with a spray bottle and brush down the crazy sleeping hair. The kids cringe when the cold water hits their heads. The twins used to whine about it but a while back I pointed out that I was just doing their hair because I love them and want them to look nice so no one will laugh at them. Ever since then, Silas (and often Oliver) cringes when that water hits his head, then he says "thank you for doing my hair, mommy" in his sweetest little voice. What restraint!
The kids take lunch to school every day - a pb&j, an apple or pear, some carrots or snappeas or cucumbers, juice - pretty boring but they don't complain. Ashton puts the lunches together while Eliza empties the dishwasher and Isaac does the breakfast dishes.
The twins' hair is shaggy but I sort of like it that way. Ashton and Isaac fight off hair cuts like the plague. And I don't really mind putting off hair cuts because I'm the one who cuts their hair and cutting 5 heads of hair (I do Jared's too) isn't something I really look forward to - the whining, the hair everywhere. I still use the clippers we got for our wedding. I'm pretty good at cutting boy hair after 11 years. I'm a little more challenged with Eliza's hair.
We carpool with a little boy named Heath who lives in the next development. I try to plan ahead and get the kids to school on time but we're usually a few minutes late. Heath's a little kindergartener - but my kids love him and treat him like a little brother and Heath wants to play pretty much every day. But we usually only get in one play date a week with him. I love how my kids are so nice to younger kids.
We have pizza and movie night pretty much every Friday night. We've got the cheapest Netflix subscription (on DVD at a time) but it gives us unlimited instant movies (since Jared's got an old computer hooked up the the system in our downstairs movie room we can stream from the computer to the big screen - great for Hulu too - we don't have cable so we watch any TV shows via Hulu or Nexflix). Some favorite movies for this year: Bolt and Transformers (the twins' top picks), Romancing the Stone, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pollyanna (even the big boys loved it). It's so fun having the kids old enough to enjoy watching some movies that aren't too little-kid-focused. Our favorite pizza for the past year or so is Papa Murphy's stuffed pizza with half meat lovers and half chicken and all the veggies (zuchinni, spinach, artichokes, onions, tomatoes, peppers) - one family size pizza is enough for all of us plus we have some leftovers. Yum yum yum.
We go for a hike every week - Saturday or Sunday after church (now that we've got morning church it's been the perfect way to keep the Sabbath Day holy as we commune with nature and enjoy being with each other on a laid-back beautiful hike/walk). Often we'll just walk the bike path in Snow Canyon or hike the great trails right behind our house. Sometimes we go to Zion National Park or other more adventurous places. This regular hiking means that the kids are excellent hikers and really never complain about the length or difficultly of a hike.
We bike a lot. I do quick bike rides to the nearest park with the twins when I need to break up my work and spend time with them. We bike to Bajio to get lunch on Saturdays sometimes (one of the kids' favorite things to do). We bike to near-by friends' houses. We all love to bike. Sometimes Ashton and Isaac and Jared roller blade and sometimes we throw some scooter riding in there - but we all love getting some wheels on and going. I used to pull the twins in the bike trailer and that became a more and more serious work-out as the twins got bigger and bigger. I'd huff and puff up big hills pulling about 100 lbs of weight behind me (twins' weight combined with the trailer weight). Now that the twins can ride their own bikes, riding my bike is so easy!
We love rainbows. Whenever there's a rainbow we all drop what we're doing and watch it and photograph it until it fades. I love when the kids come bursting in with "there's a rainbow!" And we love sunsets
We clean the house most Saturday mornings. The kids don't love it and neither do I but it has to be done. We're trying to make it more fun by giving smaller chunks of jobs and pumping up the music. Eliza usually cleans the baseboards and straightens the shoes in the mudroom. Isaac cleans the stools and chairs and ledges on doors and cupboards. Ashton does the downstairs bathroom and sometimes vacuums. Isaac folds laundry quite well. The twins get assigned to help various people. Jared and I vacuum and do bathrooms or oversee Ashton and Isaac doing bathrooms. I dust, dust, dust. This house gets so dusty! We try to do what we can do in an hour or so and call it good.
The kids go to bed at 8pm (Ashton and Isaac get to read until 8:30). I often read a chapter from a book with the kids at bedtime and we get into these great discussions about the events and ideas in the books we read. Favorite book for this year: Chasing Vermeer (I loved talking about art and coincidences with the kids...)
Jared does scriptures with the big kids at 7:45 while I do picture-story scriptures with the twins. We eat breakfast at 8am (oatmeal, cereal, eggs) and need to be in the car at 8:45 (although it's often 8:50 by the time we get out there) to go pick up Heath.
After school I try to have a snack out for the kids and we talk about their days. Eliza always has a lot to share - Ashton and Isaac, not so much.
Jared teaches Ashton guitar lessons and I teach Isaac piano and Eliza art. Our lessons are more sporadic than we'd like but they're great when we do them.
Ashton and Isaac do scouts one afternoon a week - that's all the official extra-curricular activities we've got right now - and all we can handle. There's so much I want to teach the kids myself - and so little time after school each day. And we don't have any extra money right now to pay for lessons.
The kids have some very nice friends - Ashton's best friend is Dallen, Isaac has Brett and Zack, Eliza has Olivia and Grayce, the twins have Samuel, Nickolas, Asia, Georgia, and Jack who we play with at the park most Wednesdays.
The twins go to a little co-op Joy School on Mondays (with Nickolas and Samuel) and go to Busy Bee Preschool (uses the Joy School curriculum) on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I do grocery shopping and errands Tuesday mornings while they're at school and volunteer in the big kids' classrooms on Thursday mornings.
I work out at least 3 times a week - sometimes I do the eliptical machine while reading for a mellow workout but mostly I do Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred workout - I sweat up a storm and mostly hate it but after 20 minutes, I've had a really serious workout and I'm getting stronger and less flabby and it feels great.
Jared turned the trucking company over to others and now he works from home. For all of 2009, he worked long hours and often on weekends and evenings as well (he often had trucks break down or issues that would arise at all hours of the day and night). It's quite a change to have him around a lot now. He's got an office set up in the guest room and he's off to meetings sometimes, but mostly he's around. He's helping me update lots of stuff on the Joy School and Power of Moms website and pursuing lots of promising leads. It's been so nice to have him around.
Oh, there's more but that's plenty for now.