Thursday, June 25, 2009

Piano Man

The big kids just had their first piano recital this past week. Alex, Tyler, and Alysee started lessons in January. We found a really sweet lady that comes to our house each week for a killer deal. Alex has picked it up quite quickly due to his trumpet playing. Tyler and Alysee have done a fine job too. My sister-in-law made us some vinyl lettering to go on the keys to help the kids learn their finger placement. After this last recital we're thinking that it might be time to take them off since two of the kids looked at the keyboard with a bit of a blank stare.

I'd love to put in my own bubble captions by each of their faces but I'm thinking for long term sakes I'll just leave it to you to fill in the blanks. The recital was a patriotic theme. I can't wait until they can play something really beautiful!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Sweet Pea

A year ago today, Chloe was born; just the cutest sweet pea ever.
She was loved by her siblings even before she arrived and they have doted on her ever since.
One year later she has grown into one cute shrimpy sweet pea. I'm guessing she weighs around 16 pounds like her big sister did at one year old.
Align CenterThe kids were a little jealous that Chloe got her own personal cake. It was a lemon/orange jello cake with cool whip frosting.
She seemed to think it was OH SO YUMMY!
Chloe was surprisingly quite excited to open up her one lone present.
She's now joined GIRL POWER with her big sis' Alysee and her mommy.
Chloe we love you from the tip of your little loopy buns....
... to the bottom of your cute little pink painted toes.
Enjoy a little movie about our peanut Chloe...

Recipe for a Daddy

Recipe for an Awesome Daddy

3 cups Child Diarrhea (A couple of weeks ago Chloe was under the weather. Near the end of church Birch had been caring for Chloe and BLAST!!! Yep, somehow the diarrhea missed her diaper and squirted ALL over Birch's suit. He took the blow in such stride and now has a very clean dry cleaned suit. What I would have done to have had a camera with me!)

1 1/2 cup Nighttime Throw up Duty (I grew up with my dad being the night time clean up man for throw up. I'm not sure if Birch and I ever discussed this but he has fulfilled that nighttime duty marvelously.)

3/4 cup Hard Worker (Whether it is the kind of employee Birch is, fix-it man around the house, mechanic, athletic activity, doing church service, or yard worker -- Birch never stops until the job is done and done well. Recently he built these fantastic stairs going down from our garden to our backyard. No more muddy feet!)
3 T. Kid Fun (Having six kids is such a balancing act. Who am I kidding...life is a balancing act?! Each day Birch hears the kids say "Can I play with you?" Although he feels that he is never able to satisfy their "play" need he tries so hard to spend time with each of them. He's such a loving daddy to each of them!)

1/2 t. Lover Man
(It's hard for me to share Birch with the kids!! Just like the kids, I love spending time with my Lover. Many of my favorite memories together are the trips that we have been able to go on the last several years together without the kids. It's so nice to be able to just focus on each other. I sure lucked out when Birch bought that "dinner for two" at the Institute Valentines Auction in February 1996.)

1/8 t. Thoughtfulness (Birch is very good at expressing his love in little notes. Almost daily I wake up to a little love note on my computer screen. Each Monday when he makes the kids lunch he writes them a love not on their napkin. I know they treasure each Monday's lunch (probably also because he gives them dessert and I rarely ever do). Often Birch will leave the kids little notes congratulating them on their homework or a great picture they drew.)

1/4 t. Spirituality (A spiritual giant I married...Birch is always trying to strengthen his testimony of God. He is a very intellectual and smart man and enjoys studying about different gospel topics. A true example to me!)

Mix it all together and bake for 13.5 years and you'll have an awesome daddy!

Birch and the kids Memorial Day 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Amazing!

What daddy takes six kids camping by himself?? Yep, I married a good one. Birch actually did go up with another friend and two of his kids. Chloe stayed home with me, so the sixth kid was a friend who was moving the next day...guess it was kind of a farewell camping trip and end of the school year celebration.
The hardcore campers -- just as Birch was loading up the van to head up to the campsite the thunder started and the rain came pouring down. That didn't deter the kids from wanting to camp, so away they went.
Everyone enjoyed fire-roasted hot dogs and s'mores for dinner.
Nate heading to the dock -- The next morning everyone headed down to the dock to catch some fishes.
No luck with the fishes but the kids still had a great time.
Silly Coop
Tyler and Alex fishing away
Alex showing off how brave he is to hold a worm. Coop was SURE he wanted to eat the worms until Birch opened up the container and showed Coop was a worm really is. Guess they don't look as tasty as they do in the movie "How to eat fried worms."
Coop, the fisherman
Then the kids all took turns going for canoe rides with our friend Stuart Cardon.
Alysee, Coop, Maddie (Stu's child), and Nate all waiting their turn for a canoe ride.
After packing up camp everyone headed out for a little hike. Coop found a great hiking stick.
The rain started coming down but Alysee didn't mind; she was fully prepared in her bright yellow rain jacket.

Chloe and I spent Friday night at a really boring and loooong cub scout day camp meeting. After putting Chloe to bed I treated myself to a big bowl of popcorn and a movie. Saturday morning I had a date with Norah Jones and kept myself busy with vacuuming, cooking, cleaning, and blogging. I think it is safe to say we ALL enjoyed our time.

Everyone went to bed exhausted on Saturday night. Apparently there were some pretty good campfire stories told that kept the kids up until 11 pm Friday night. Alex was sure he had slept in on Saturday morning but I understand that the kids were all up by 6 am ready to start their day-time adventures. I'm sure grateful for kids that love to spend time with their daddy and a daddy that loves to spend time with his kids!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

We Made It!!!

The past couple of weeks have been FULL. The nights have been busy with band concerts, LOTS of baseball tournament games, and end of the school year parties.
Alex finished up his first year playing the trumpet. It truly amazes me how all these kids can choose an instrument and then nine months later be able to actually sound good. Alex's band director pulled me aside at the last concert and told me that Alex has some natural ability that he really hopes Alex will continue to improve upon. Alex thinks that he might have inherited some musical talent from his dad, uncles, and Grandpa. I'm pretty sure that he didn't get it from me. I played the piano and flute for years and I can barely play a thing.

A bit about Alex from a end of the year memory book he made:

-My best advice for anyone, anywhere: "Don't use drugs."
-My best advice for someone my age: "Be healthy and fit"
-My most important short-term goal: "In 7th grade make the school baseball team."
-My realistic idea for a career: "Engineer or physical therapist"
-My greatest fear: "Getting shot or falling off a 2000 mile high cliff"
-What I value most in a friend is: "friendliness"
-The skill I am going to learn this summer: "How to throw a screwball and improve my curve ball"
-My hero: "My dad because he teaches me the skills I need to know in everyday life and he heps me improve in sports."

I can't believe I'm a mommy of a middle schooler. Yikes!! Alex is so excited!

Baseball...
We have been living, eating, and drinking baseball since March. It has been fun to have Alex and Tyler play on the same team (in fact I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't have been physically or emotionally possible to have had them on two different teams with all the time commitment baseball requires).
The tournament games were really quite good. It was great to see the team come together and really play as a team. Alex pitched a couple of great games. The final game ended up being on a Sunday. The boys didn't even think twice about not playing on Sunday. The coaches were supportive, though certainly expressed the great loss (both ways) that they felt not having the boys play.

One of the highlights of one of the last tournament games was when the team was so far ahead that the coaches allowed each boy that had wanted to try pitching have a turn. Tyler had been eager all season to give this a try. It was so cute (I'm sure he wouldn't like that term) to see him out there in his fine form using all his strength and practiced ability to pitch those balls. He was just beaming!!
A bit about Tyler from his school memory book he made:

Favorite Food: "cheese zombie, BBQ, treats, and KFC"
Favorite Book: "Gronimo Stilton, The Chocolate Touch"
Favorite Activities: "math, skateboarding, ricking bike, and doing art"
My Favorite Thing About 2nd Grade: "was making the landforms, other activities"
Future Plans: "Be a track star or a BMX driver"

Alysee has been anxious to sleep in, watch Curious George in the mornings, go to the library, catch bugs, play with Nate, and have lots of time to work on writing her stories. I know she is going to miss her friends at school and especially her teacher, Mrs. Rimmer. Alysee was given the nickname "Trixie" by her teacher the first week of school due to some "tricky" skills that she had of bouncing a ball while doing some sort of academic thing to stimulate her brain.

In Alysee's memory book that she made at school she says, "My best memory of 1st grade is...when I just got to first grade and lirnd new stof. Also when I lirnd to tell time. The best memory is going on feeld trips all the time!"

I've filled the summer calender up with swim lessons for five of the kids, golf lessons for Alex, ballet camp for Alysee, playdates at the park, community kid events, library reading challenge, trip to see the Mammoth dig, cub scout day camp, 11 year old scout camp, family reunion, art projects, and several fun weekend trips to see family. Having stuff on the calender helps me feel prepared and not quite so overwhelmed. Here's to a great summer!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wrapping Up a Marathon

Since March Alysee and Tyler have been tallying the miles they run each week in order to participate in a kids marathon. For this marathon the kids run 25 miles on their own and then the last 1.2 miles are run with all the other kids in our town that wanted to participate. This was a really well organized event and was especially fun because one parent was allowed to run with each child.
Birch and Alysee were running partners and finished up in 11 minutes and 22 seconds.
Alysee's inspiration...her awesome 1st grade teacher this year is a marathon runner herself and really has encouraged all the kids to live healthy and be active. In fact this past week we had baseball games several nights in a row. One night we stopped at McDonald's to pick up some hamburgers for dinner. Alysee said after getting her hamburger, "I can't believe we are having FAT for dinner." I'm glad that this was a treat and not a regular occurrence for our family.
Tyler finished in 7 minutes and 36 seconds.Tyler was one of the top finishers. He went from running the 1.2 miles straight to a tournament baseball game where he had the opportunity to run to home plate a couple of times too. He slept well that night.

I'm considering going walking this summer...the kids certainly didn't get the athletic bug from me.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Our Super Hero

Faster than a speeding bullet...


More powerful than a locomotive...


Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound...


Look, up in the sky! It's a bird!


It's a plane!


It's Superman!