Wednesday, December 17, 2008
These two love birds just celebrated their twelve year anniversary on Thanksgiving day. I never would have guessed that our love could grow so much since Birch proposed on a beautiful September day at an Oregon waterfall. Hasn't been all downhill but a might wonderful ride it has been! Birch is a hard worker, keeps our house organized when I get behind, amazing father, and very thoughtful husband. One of my favorite things that he does for me is his almost daily notes that he leaves on the computer screen for me. Some days those notes are what keep me going when I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with life...motherhood.
Chloe will soon be six months old--oh my, time is just flying. She is sitting up like a champ now and flirting with the idea of eating solids. So far we've found she doesn't like plain oatmeal baby cereal or sweet potatoes but she does seem to tolerate a tablespoon or so of peaches or squash. This girl drools like a rabid dog (a cute one, though) and lights up any person she smiles at. Following our Thanksgiving trip to Spokane we started having her "cry it out." She was a bit stubborn but finally got the hint that bedtime was for sleeping in HER bed by HERSELF and their are no midnight snacks aloud--it did take about six days to figure this out. She is now sleeping quite wonderfully during the night and taking two substantial naps during the day. Love this girl!
Coop -- what do I say about this kid? He's got an infectious smile and a sailor's mouth (limited to stupid head, meanie, and this week a new one...dummy). Any ideas on how to keep the garbage words in the garbage? We've had a family lesson about "garbage words" and tried a few other tactics but so far nothing has stuck. Must be hard to be the fifth child and have several reasons that he needs to fend for himself. He says the cutest most thoughtful prayers and always remembers to bless his "daddy to come home for dinner." When Chloe took over Coop's crib Coop was booted down to the basement with the other three boys. Surprisingly the transition hasn't been near as painful as we thought it was going to be. Recently he has decided that he doesn't like eating dinner (or at least what mommy has fixed for dinner) and is quite sad when he ends up missing out on dessert. He loves having stories read to him, sucking his thumb while holding his froggy blanket, and dancing his new favorite musicians, The Beach Boys. Love this kid!
Nate is an amazing artist!!! He spends several hours each day drawing and seems to never tire of it. He often has a hard time going to preschool but always ends up having a great day. I can't believe he will be in kindergarten next year. Nate enjoys having friends over to play. He also loves playing a car racing game on the computer, riding his bike, and now looks for any opportunity to go sledding. Nate is a great big brother and often asks to hold Chloe. Love this kid!
Alysee is just having the best year at school. She has a fabulous teacher and is sad when she knows she is going to have a substitute. Almost daily when she gets home from school she makes little love notes or pictures for her teacher the next day. She recently wrote in her school journal that she would like to grow up to be a gymnastics teacher. Alysee is a great reader and is always excited to do any homework she might have. Evenings you can often find Alysee and Nate at the kitchen counter drawing, writing little books, or creating some sort of paper project. Love this girl!
Tyler is also having a great year at school. I love how he rarely ever complains about doing his homework. Tyler is wonderful at playing with his younger siblings, especially if I ask him specifically to do so. He continues to struggle with his repertoire of foods that he likes -- often a heaping pile of shredded cheese will help get his meal down. He was SO excited when it snowed this past week and declared that this was probably the best day ever to have gone sledding, drink a cup of hot chocolate, and now be so close to Christmas. Tyler is loving cub scouts and I have also enjoyed having him in my den (I am the assistant den leader). Love this kid!
Alex has been braving the 1 degree and slightly above weather this week to do crosswalk patrol. Earlier this week I requested that he wear his snow pants to do patrol because to the frigid weather but he pulled a little attitude with me and scooted off to school like a snotty teenager. But do you know what the first thing was that he said to me when he got home from school?? "Mom you're always right even when I don't think you are. I should have worn my snow pants. I was freezing." I was quick to remind him to never forget that...mom is always right. I'm recording that conversation so I can remind him the next time he forgets : ) Tomorrow is Alex's first band concert. This is his first year playing the trumpet and he seems to show promising talent. He is sure that he has inherited his dad and several uncles musical talent. I wouldn't argue with him on that--I am totally impressed. Alex is a great student and really seems to use his school time wisely so he rarely has homework. His teacher had only great things to say about him at parent/teacher conferences. Love this kid!!
Merry Christmas to all!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Here's the recipe:
I am so excited to say I've found another jackpot winning recipe. I have been eying these on Bakerella's blog and finally got around to making them. She has done some amazing things with these if you haven't checked her site out yet, Yum!
These little gems are a must try! They look like a truffle but taste like a little Oreo Cheesecake. You can't go wrong with cookies, cream cheese and white chocolate! Your Valentine will be thrilled to take a bite out of these treats.
It's hard to believe something so incredibly easy to make tastes so yummy. I know I'll be making these often!
I tried the same recipe, but with Nutter Butter Cookies. Both are great, I can't decide which ones I like better. I'm going to try Chips Ahoy next time and maybe the mint Oreos.
1 Bag Nutter Butter Cookies
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 package Chocolate Bark (dipping chocolate in blocks)
1 square of the Almond Bark for drizzling (white chocolate blocks for dipping)
1. Mix ground oreos and cream cheese until well combined. Roll into 1 inch balls and place onto baking sheet or tray. Refrigerate overnight or until very firm.
2. Melt white chocolate according to package directions. Using 2 little spoons, dip balls into chocolate and place onto parchment paper to harden. Once dry, melt square of almond bark and spoon into the corner of a ziplock baggie. Snip the corner of the baggie and drizzle chocolate back and forth over the truffles. Let dry.
3. I enjoyed mine chilled in the refrigerator, but may be room temperature as well.
Oreo Cookie Truffles
1 bag Oreo Cookies, ground in blender or food processor (filling and all)
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 package Almond Bark (white chocolate candy coating)
1 square of the Chocolate Bark for drizzling
1. Mix ground oreos and cream cheese until well combined. Roll into 1 inch balls and place onto baking sheet or tray. Refrigerate overnight or until very firm.
2. Melt white chocolate according to package directions. Using 2 little spoons, dip balls into chocolate and place onto parchment paper to harden. Once dry, melt chocolate bark and spoon into the corner of a ziplock baggie. Snip a small corner and drizzle back and forth over the truffles. Let dry.
3. I enjoyed mine chilled in the refrigerator, but may be room temperature as well! Enjoy! Thanks for the great recipe Bakerella!
About 30 truffles each recipe
Monday, November 24, 2008
Emily, Ryan, and Sage were awesome hosts. They treated me like royalty. I even got to pick out my favorite juice for breakfast (Dole Mango, Orange, Peach juice).
Ryan was so cute with his two little girls. As you can see, Chloe loved him but Sage wasn't so sure how she felt about sharing her daddy.
Chloe worked hard at showing off for her cousin. She is getting a little more stable when sitting. You can see from the big drool coming off of her chin that she is one slobbery girl.
Chloe also loved all of Sage's cool toys. Sage had lots of stuff that made noise which Chloe doesn't usually get to play with because we have lots of kids who make noise at our house.
Yes, Chloe is a tummy sleeper. Mommy and Daddy know we are naughty.
Blurry, but cute picture of the Sunday girls.
Chloe and Sage are just three weeks apart. Currently Chloe has a little more thigh and cleavage action than Sage. Sage on the other hand has about an extra three or four inches in length. I can't wait to see these two cousins grow up together.
So what did I do all week. Just what I wanted...not much of anything. Emily and I made a list at the beginning of the week of all we wanted to do. It consisted of: watching a movie during the day, going to IKEA , Target, the Outlets, eating at Olive Garden, and laying around and reading. We were very productive and accomplished each one of those things. Most of all it was wonderful to spend time with Emi and her family. Emi and Ryan have a wonderful relationship and are such good parents to Sage.
I came home feeling refreshed but then I honestly went into a little depression once reality hit about two seconds after arriving home. I'm feeling cheerier this week, though and super grateful to my wonderful husband who took care of the kids while I was gone. The kids had half days of school while I was gone and they kept Birch busy with bowling, eating at McDonalds and lots of time playing together. For Family Home Evening the kids and Birch made me the most special book about why they love me--I know I feel bad now that I just wrote that I was grumpy for the following week after getting home. Not only was I greeted with a beautiful thoughtful book, I also came home to a spotless house. Birch scrubbed up everything while I was gone.
I am truly blessed!! Emily and Ryan, thank you so much for spoiling Chloe and I rotten. It was fun to be a spoiled brat for a week!!!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Next Tyler celebrated his birthday in Caldwell, Idaho with his cousins. His Aunt Tavia made a super yummy cake for Tyler. They had even decorated their kitchen in his honor.
While in Logan, Utah he celebrated his real birthday he was treated to a delicious dessert at a super yummy pizza restaurant.
The parties just didn't stop there. Next we celebrated Halloween at our home with cousins and Ami and Poppi. I am beginning to realize that Halloween is not my favorite holiday. The stress of trying to please all the kids with costumes (after the kids realized I wasn't going to be buying or making anything new this year they all adapted and found something in the dress up box) plus the post-Halloween whining for candy. We had a fun night at our church Halloween party and trunk-or-treating. I didn't even have to dress up as a witch this year...I already felt like I was portraying the character quite well.
Then the next day on November 1st our house filled up with LOTS of extended family. It was so wonderful to have so many people travel to celebrate Tyler's decision to be baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Tyler was a little nervous but he felt really good about his choice.
Tyler asked Uncle Kelly to give the talk about Baptism. All his cousins were so enthralled in the baptism and really excited for Tyler. Grannie drove all the way to our home for just the afternoon--talk about being super supportive of her grandkids!
Somehow Ami and Poppi missed out on the group picture. I think they were cleaning up all the rootbeer floats from the post baptism party. We love it when they come visit us--the only complaint is the trips are always WAY too short. Not only did the kids have lots of fun with their grandparents but my mom also revamped my cluttered pantry, cleaned my gas top stove, and folded laundry and I'm sure lots of other things that I haven't even noticed yet. My dad took the boys horseback riding at an old high school buddies ranch on Saturday morning. They all had so much fun!
These are all the men that assisted in Tyler's confirmation--Poppi, Uncle Vaughn, Dad, Uncle Brent, and Uncle Kelly.
We are sure proud of our Tyler!!! LOVE YA!!!
Saturday, November 1, 2008
It was one loooooooong drive to Logan, Utah but the kids did AWESOME in the car. Chloe, who is not a car seat lover did great--and we didn't even drug her. We were able to take a pit stop both ways at Birch's sister's home in Caldwell, Idaho. It was so fun to see their new home and let the kids play with their cousins.
Alysee's dress was made by my super duper talented seamstress mom. She actually created this dress from a women's dress that she bought at a consignment store. It matched all the little girls' dresses perfectly. Alysee felt like a princess all day!
Following all the wedding fun in Logan we headed to Salt Lake City. We were able to again stay with my adopted in-laws (they are actually my sister Emi's in-laws but they have been so gracious to us and have allowed us to take over the basement several times now). We were able to take the kids to Temple Square for the afternoon.
Last but not least a farewell shot of our family! Wonder woman Leah (aka. my sister) took some great shots of our family for our Christmas card.
Friday, October 31, 2008
I made several batches of fresh salsa that got snarfed up at Birch's work, neighbor's and friend's homes.
Coop was a great helper with the salsa. He thought the onion looked so tasty that he tried several bites before he realized maybe it wasn't so great after all.
Birch and I (and Chloe in her Bumbo) spent one last night making pesto with all our basil. We had so much basil that we ended up sharing it with several friends.
We feel truly blessed to live in such a fertile land (can you tell, we have six kids!).
It's been interesting having so many reactions...sort of a love/hate thing. Well, I love it and you can see from the following photoshoot from my talented sister Leah that Chloe seems quite pleased with her new jewels.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Coop is such a great kid! I know many out there are struggling with their two-year-olds so I feel extra grateful (but don't be too jealous - I have a six year old that throws a mighty good two-year-old tantrum). One of the things that makes Coop so fun are his great talking skills. This is something that is a rarity at the Ditto house for a two-year-old. Not only can Coop carry on a great conversation but he also says the funniest things. Take today's conversation:
Coop: "Mom, Jesus lobs (loves) mine peanut." (What he calls his penis)
Mom: "Yes, Jesus does love your penis." (He created him after all, right?)
Coop: "Jesus lobes your peanut too." (Pointing to me)
The rest of the conversation basically was a disagreement between the two of us as to whether or not mom has a "peanut."
Currently Cooper is really into trucks, buses, motorcycles, ferry boats, and trains. We haven't really had a "theme" kid since Alex so it has been pretty fun. Birch and I have discussed whether this is because we haven't encouraged the kids to obsess about a particular theme (like dinosaurs, automobiles, sports, etc...) or maybe it is because we haven't "fed" the obsession. I'm thinking Christmas should be darn easy for this kid. Get him a ferry boat and he would be in heaven!
Coop also informed me the other day that he "lobe (love) this song." Who would have thought that a two-year-old would have a favorite song? Wanna know what his favorite song is..."Somewhere over the rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. Just so happens to be one of my favorite songs too.
Along with Coop's great vocabulary, having older siblings has also brought the interesting challenge of keeping "potty" words out of his mouth. It's hard to get mad at such a cute guy even when you hear him call his brother that is bugging him, "Stupid Man," or "Meanie Face," or "Meanie."
Coop wonders if "Today Friday? Daddy go on camping trip? Cooper too little?" He seriously asks me this almost each morning when he wakes up. He can sit in front of the computer for a half an hour just watching the screen saver of family pictures. Coop loves "de-ert" (dessert), riding his bike really fast, eating pizza, playing with his siblings and friends, eating Italian dressing on lettuce, reading books, coloring, playing with play dough, and doing anything with his daddy (which is kind of a problem when their are seven other of us that like doing stuff with daddy too). He loves sucking his thumb while holding "Froggy," his green blanket covered with little frogs.
Oh yes, I must make note of what a thankful boy Cooper is. No kidding...this kid thanks you for everything. It's as if his parents are Hitler Manner parents (If that were the case then wouldn't the rest of the kids be just as good at expressing their gratitude?). Back in his diaper days he used to thank us for changing his diaper. Who does that? Sure brightens my day to hear him says "Thanks Mom!" I'm hoping this attribute is not just a phase but a long lasting attribute.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
On Sunday I was borrowing someones scriptures and went to read an assigned scripture when I came across the following marked scripture:
1 Peter 3:10
For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile.
It was almost like it was written JUST FOR ME. So I am trying harder to love life, see more good days, and speak in kindness.
The last few weeks I have been thinking a lot about an article a hometown friend wrote about the challenges of raising twin daughters (plus three other adorable girls). One of her sweet twins has CP and really has brought on a new aspect to parenting. I asked her if she would be okay with me "re-printing" this article on my blog for my readers to read. I know some of you already know who I am talking about but if you haven't had the chance to read the following please do.
I think it touched me so much because I was reminded that we are all given various challenges in this life but we each have a choice how these challenges are going to affect us.
cp with all the special care and handling we provide for Sophia. I think about it when I see April walking. I think about it when Claire asks, "Will Sophia start Kindergarten a year or so after April?" It stares me in the face, it overrides what Sophia would be able to do if her brain were healthy, it impacts the entire family now and will in the future, and it doesn't go away.
Once, in college, I volunteered to help with "patterning" for a young boy in the local community. I knew only that it was difficult to move this boy's limbs into the patterns we were told he needed. His arms and legs were tight and seemed locked in certain positions. He appeared to be in some pain during these forced movements. It was only after Sophia's diagnosis and my subsequent research that I realized, looking back, that he had cerebral palsy.
Needing to talk with someone who had been through what was still unknown to me, I decide to contact his mother to talk with her about her experiences with raising him. I plan to ask her about resources in our community, and what she feels was useful for her son. I have heard that he is now attending college, and I plan to ask her how he is doing and hear of his success.
Months after my plan to contact this woman, I hear that she had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Not long thereafter, she passes away. I attend her funeral, having never had the opportunity to learn the things that I know she could have taught me. The funeral is beautiful. Setting aside some of their sadness, her husband and several children speak of their love for this wonderful woman. They share with us, the audience, intimate parts of her life. There is no doubt that this is a noble woman who had passed on to the next life, and that she has an incredible family.
What is missing in the funeral talks is any mention of cerebral palsy. Once, her daughter mentions that the mother has always told her son that he was not limited by his wheelchair. That is it. I don't know what I expected -- maybe repeated references to how much she had struggled to help her son, or how she had struggled with accepting her son's diagnosis. To me, it is eye-opening. She had obviously dealt with cp since her adult son's birth, but it must not have consumed her. It is not even noteworthy at her funeral.
That night, as I lay in bed and my mind circulates with these thoughts, I pick up our local newspaper to read before sleeping. A few pages in, my jaw literally drops, and I express verbal surprise at what I see. There is an article about a woman across the country who faces a trial for a crime. Her crime had been to enter the home of someone else with a loaded gun, and hold a man and his wife hostage until police intervened. This woman has a son with cp. He was born (at term) the same time that April and Sophia were due. She believes his cp had been caused by the doctor's malpractice at the birth of her son. She carried much anger with her, and she had postpartum depression, and it all culminated in her entering this doctor's home and holding him and his wife there at gunpoint. She had planned to kill herself, making the doctor wait the same amount of hours she had to wait for him to arrive for an emergency c-section to deliver her son.
The reason my jaw drops when I read this article is that she is an online acquaintance of mine. She and I are both members of a message group, and we e-mailed each other once or twice upon realizing our children's similar ages. I know the circumstances surrounding her son's birth were terrible, and I know that she was angry. I can understand her anger, and I remember thinking that she seemed to have more anger than she could bear. I can relate to the despair she felt concerning her son's diagnosis. I sincerely hope that the jury that hears her case is compassionate, and I am grateful that no one was physically hurt on that nightmarish day. I feel real pain for this woman and her family.
The day I attend a funeral and then read a random AP article in my local newspaper, I recognize a great contrast between these two women. Both have sons with cerebral palsy. One had overcome the obstacle of cp to the extent that it was not even mentioned at her funeral. I imagine she had many days of tears and despair when her son was young. She had the benefit of years to learn that cp did not define her son, and also did not define her. The second woman, her wound still fresh, had felt the pain so greatly that she had made decisions that will affect her and her family's life much more than the cp. That day, I realize that cerebral palsy should not consume my life. This is something necessary for me to work toward.
Friday, September 19, 2008
- How noble does it feel to be fishing around in your child's poop looking for a parasite?
- How noble does it feel to scrape up red Gatorade throw up off of the carpet and then work another two days at trying to get the stain out of the carpet?
- How noble does it feel to put your child to bed for the umpteenth time when they keep coming out of their room for a new reason?
- How noble does it feel to clean up poop in the bathtub after your toddler decides the tub is now the toilet (or diaper)?
- How noble does it feel to spend the afternoon making a yummy dinner and then have the first child that comes to the table declare how disgusting the meal looks?
- How noble does it feel to sift through your child's hair looking for lice after you get a letter from the school saying your child has been exposed?
- How noble does it feel to come in the bathroom and see potty all over the wall NEXT to the toilet?
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Alysee is a fun-loving girl who loves life! I was just visiting with her first grade teacher this morning and her teacher was raving at what a good student and friend she is. When Alysee gets home from school she loves to play "teacher" and instruct all the kids (which sometimes are her siblings, other times stuff animals). Yesterday she found that if she wipes water on her eye brows they look darker, which she has decided is quite pretty.
Alysee was cracking me up the other day when she was trying to make braces for her cute little teeth out of a hair rubber band. Why is it that you want braces so bad when you are a child? She asked me for some suggestions but I didn't disclose how my sisters and I used to make braces out of the wire twisty ties. She enjoys taking care of Chloe for short periods of time and has the capacity to be a great sister. Watch out if you catch her on a bad note, though--we still have not figured out what triggers "Wild Alysee."
Our sweet Chloe Ruth is twelve weeks old. It kind of makes me sad how fast she is growing up (just a little sad, though). Chloe is 22.5 inches long (23% National Average) and her weight is 10 lbs 7 oz (14% National Average).
Chloe seems right on target with her growth milestones. She loves to suck on her fingers and make happy cooing sounds.
She surprised us last week when she started rolling over from front to back. She has a very strong neck which I am sure is attributed to her tummy sleeping (yes, I know that is a "no, no"). She nurses during the day and then has a bottle of formula at night before going to bed. Regularly she'll fall asleep around 9 or 10 pm and then wake up around 3 am for her next feeding. Then round two of suckling comes around 6 am. During the day she'll normally take two longs naps, though I still wouldn't say that we have a predictable schedule yet.
Overnight she also became our resident worm. We found out in quite a sad way when she quietly scooted off of my bed after waking up from a nap and landed not so quietly on her poor little noggin'. Mommy felt really bad about that!
We love both of our girls and all that they add to our family! It's a challenge keeping up with all those painted toes but we are trying our best : )