Monday, October 19, 2009

Rewind -- Fast Forward

10. Celebrating Trisa's birthday with a trip to visit her, go to the Lake with cousins (without her), take her to a play, and then bring her home for a day. Thinking about how proud of her I was when she was born. Now she's grown up and I'm still so proud of her -- only more so.

9. Celebrating my birthday while trying not to think that as fast as time is passing I'll be 80 the day after tomorrow.

8. Going on a trip to Alaska with Derek. Brrr. Cold but beautiful and a nice chance to relax. Thanks to Derek's parents for watching the kids again!

7. Going on a trip to KY to my Grandma's funeral (see photo below). I went with my oldest brother and my youngest sister. My parents were there too and I am glad I went. I learned that my Grandma could do the Charleston (a dance). She was amazing in lots of other ways too.

6. Celebrating Dan's 3rd birthday (see blurry picture below). He is three and -- is finally mostly potty trained (which is the other thing I've been doing).

5. Getting the kids ready for school and actually sending them to school. This includes taking Trisa to college. Her blurry picture (below) is her in her apartment. (Sorry I haven't taken photography classes!)
4. Right before that we went to Idaho where Derek hiked with my brothers, brother-in-law, nephew, etc. and the rest of us partied with cousins (or in my case with my sister). Below is a picture of Dan and his twin cousin (born the same day). They were enjoying picking apples, tasting them, and then tossing them.
3. Right before THAT trip we were at Lake Powell with my side of the family minus my parents and my older brother and his family. This was thanks to my brother-in-law Jeff and my sister Jenny who generously invited us to share their houseboat. That trip was very good for some of my non-swimmers and helped them to see that you can have fun in water. Dan loved going shirtless and having popsicles any time he wanted. Fun times! We love life jackets!

2. Before that it was family reunion time with all of the fun that goes with that including a pinewood derby with cars for everyone who chose to make one. That was a big hit.
1. Finally, (or first) after our trip to Nauvoo there were the usual things of summer including youth conference, girls camp, gardening (yeah! we actually grew one), mowing, playing, etc. but obviously not much writing on the Sher blog.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Nauvoo and St. Louis

This year we had a grand family adventure. We left on May 29th at 4:30 a.m. so that we could all be on the plane by 7:05. We were wearing lovely bright green shirts that made us easy to identify as a "group". On the way home, wearing our bright yellow shirts, people kept asking what group we were with. We were simply a family group.
Due to the fact that it is kind of hard to rearrange pictures once they are put in the backwards order, and I don't want to bother, I'm going to tell you about our trip in a backwards fashion. We started the trip by landing in St. Louis, and we went back to St. Louis for the last couple of days of our trip. While we were there (at the end of our trip) we did two things. We went to the St. Louis Gateway Arch, and to the St. Louis City Museum. Since I could only fit five pictures on this blog to represent our trip I didn't include pictures of / from the arch. We all enjoyed being up in the arch. Tia loved the view so much that she said she would go up there all of the time if she lived nearby. Of course, I had to point out that she'd have to have a pretty good job to do that since going up in the arch is not free.
The City Museum is also not free, but we chose to go there over the less expensive places (like the zoo which is free except for parking) because we thought we could stay there for a long time and all enjoy it. We stayed for three hours give or take a little. We could have stayed longer but we were all hungry and we were a bit too cheap to pay for the food. This is a fun museum. It is three stories of tunnels, slides, rope swings, circus acts, bug collections, a few birds and animals (a mini Bean Museum for those who have been there), and other things that we somehow missed. There are places where adults and children can play in piles of balls and where you can take a rope bridge over water (I didn't see that until I was leaving -- shucks). Outside you could climb on top of the cage type thing that covered the ball pit and you can keep going up through tunnels to old airplanes that are perched two or three stories high. In the picture below our fearless Dan is headed up above the ball pit. We were amazed that such a place was still open in the U.S. It was very fun.

On the day we left Nauvoo (June 2nd) we went to Carthage Jail to see the place where Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were martyred. We arrived a little after a busload of people from Utah. The picture below was taken in the very room where the prophet and his brother were killed. What you can't see from this picture is the other 25 people we were with. I was rather pleased with how reverent the people were -- including our own children. At one point the missionary played a reinactment of the last few minutes of the Prophet's life in the jail. Included was the song "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief". You couldn't see the audio device on the mantle next to a clock(the room was dark because it was raining outside). Dan turned to me with amazement and said "Mom, that clock is singing!" and he listened to the song quietly the whole time.

That same day, before we left Nauvoo, we finally took a picture of us by the "big white wan". We told Dan it was a van but he said "NO! not van, wan." and that was that. We drove around in a big wan the whole time and that was one of Dan's favorite things about the trip. That final day in Nauvoo we finally made it to the brickyard, the blacksmith shop, the family living center, and the Lucy Mack Smith House. We were even allowed to go up the steep steps in the LMS house and I was pretty pleased about that. I've always wanted to go upstairs in one of those houses!
We did a good variety of things in Nauvoo and it worked well for all ages. We visited parks with teeter totters and fast slides and high swings (we loved that). We threw rocks in the impressive Mississippi River and collected "treasures" there. We went on a wagon ride, we saw a play, we went to the visitors center, we saw and listened to a band concert, we went to the bakery, and we walked to the Nauvoo Temple a couple of times -- once at night when the kids also discovered the joys of watching, and catching lightning bugs. Below is a picture of us at the temple before church on Sunday. Some nice missionaries took our picture for us. One of my favorite things was going to the temple with Derek on Monday and thinking about how much the early Saints sacrificed to build it and how much it meant to them -- and how hard it was for them to leave it. It is a blessing to have it rebuilt.

Below is a picture of us at a little waterfall near Nauvoo (or maybe in Nauvoo). Jake's wearing one of the green shirts I mentioned. Some of us went to Dominoes that first day in St. Louis and I noticed on the receipt later that the worker had typed in "Holy Green Shirts!" I thought that was pretty funny. It really was a fun trip that worked out well for a family with a wide variety of ages.

I cried when we got home. What if I never get to see my beloved Nauvoo again? But we think we will try to go again when the boys are older and their favorite things aren't the big wan (Dan), the parks (Jake) and the swimming (Connor). Tia was allergic to something in Nauvoo and her eyes would get puffy every time we went outside but she was a good sport and so was the rest of the family. It really was a grand adventure for us!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Connor turns 11

This is Connor when he was still known as "The Big". He was not big when he was born but he quickly became a rather big toddler. At least, to those of us who carried him around he seemed awfully big! Connor was our first boy and he was welcomed with joy by us all. He did have one "defect". He spit up all the time -- a lot. His Aunts, Grandmas and even friends of mine were forever having to wash their clothes so they wouldn't smell bad after holding him. I tried to convince the Dr. to give Connor some medicine to keep him from spitting up so much -- but Connor was so big the Dr. wouldn't. He didn't think smelly clothes and carpet warranted medicine I guess. When he finally quit spitting up (when he was around 2) I had the carpet cleaned.

Connor was the youngest for a little over three and a half years and we wondered how he would adjust to having a new brother. Fortunately, Connor is a kind and loving brother and he loved Jake from the very first. Sometimes he'd get grumpy at me for not spending enough time with him but he never took it out on Jake. I was so proud of him!

Obviously Dan loves him too. Connor gets along with all of his brothers and sisters and has been Kayli's good buddy since he was two and I'd send him along with her to play.

Connor is very active. He loves riding his bike (now that he has a working one again) and he loves sports. He plays soccer, basketball, and baseball -- though we didn't sign him up for baseball this year. He pitched last year and was a great pitcher -- but it stressed him out so he didn't enjoy playing as much. Basketball is his favorite sport.

Connor had brownie trifle for his birthday dessert so I held his candles for him. Dan had to take a turn blowing them out too. Connor spent a lot of his birthday reading (he LOVES books) and we also went to the park (just the boys and me) where he played with his brothers. He enjoyed chinese food and a movie for his birthday evening activity. He loves movies too. Connor is an excellent son. I really could say lots of good things about him but I'll stop by saying he had a happy birthday.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Derek!

Quite a few years ago a little baby boy was born -- the first child of Bonnie and Howard Christensen. He was well loved and, judging by his size, well fed.
He was reportedly not the easiest baby ever born, but he was cute enough that his parents went ahead and had ten more after him. He enjoys being a big brother, a Dad, and an uncle. He is good with children.
The picture above of Derek climbing makes me think that our boys got their natural tendency towards doing dangerous things from him. Thankfully, they also seem to have a good sense of balance and maybe that's from Derek also.
Derek loves lots of things. He loves me, reading, watching movies, playing basketball, playing baseball or softball, laughing, competing with his brothers and sisters over who might be funniest that day, etc.
He loves being with his family the most and is happiest when he is doing his favorite activities with us.
See, here he is being happy. That's the best way to be on a happy birthday.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sweet 16!

Tia was my smallest baby. She weighed 5 and a half pounds and the nurses were always bugging me to wake her up and feed her because otherwise she would "go downhill". Tia must have heard their dire warnings and turned into a good eater. The Dr. told me once that she should not need to be fed at night because she was plenty big. Derek likes to tease her about having been square shaped -- but really she was just a round cute baby and a healthy looking toddler and now she's a beautiful 16 year old.

The first picture above was taken after her surgery (she had a urachal cyst removed at 2 weeks) and seems to have caught her at a wild moment. She was not good at sleeping when she was a baby but became excellent at it as a toddler. I felt guilty for not seeing her more because she loved her crib so much. She took two two hour naps for quite a while and only quit napping when she was five -- and that was an act of willpower because she decided she was too big.
Having a smiley Tia around has always been an excellent thing. We've loved her smile ever since she first shared it with us.
Those of you who have known Tia for a long time might remember that she used to cringe and cry if she was ever singled out for attention -- especially in a group. She changed as she grew up though. She took dance and always looked comfortable performing and now she has discovered that attention isn't so bad and that she has a knack for making people smile.
We have a quote on our white board right now written by Trisa so we could all enjoy what Tia said -- which was: "I can't drink ever in front of anyone, unless I'm by myself." Some things she says are funny on purpose -- some not so much -- but she laughs at both. I loved her last piano recital when she forgot the last chord so she made one up (it sounded not right), smiled really big and bowed. That is a good way to be.
This is Tia's room. She turns sixteen and she already has a date lined up for Saturday to the prom. I'll put on pictures of her looking beautiful in her dress then. Tia had to pop quite a few balloons to see exactly what Dalton said -- but she knew he was coming and knew what he was asking too. She quite enjoyed decorating his room in return.

Tia is a beautiful girl who helps us all to be happy. Yes, she occasionally gets grumpy, but she seems to be quick to recover her good humor. I love Tia. Happy birthday!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hello! Hello Again!

I considered doing Tia's birthday blog early but I decided to wait and maybe I can get pictures of her trying on prom dresses. I'll stick pictures of her decorated room on too -- so now you have some things to look forward to.

I considered talking about the woes of potty training. Today is the first day -- and like I mentioned in Megz blog comments -- the only success so far is that Dan declared that he "loves big boy pants". I keep reminding myself that he'll get the hang of this eventually-- probably not on day one though. In the mean time he is still my huggy boy who also loves smothering my cheeks in smooches.

I am considering talking about desserts. Do you think they are served too often? They sure are tasty but it is nice to find that if I eat fewer my head hurts less often. I've got book club tomorrow -- I'm thinking of serving fruit. Hmm.

What about sickness -- do you think three weeks is long enough to have a cold? I do. Unfortunately colds don't think and this one is sticking around a little longer. Sigh. Fortunately it's mostly down to a tickle that makes me cough.

Books? I read "The Goose Girl" series this week and enjoyed the first and last ones a lot. The middle one not so much.

The inability to make a decision? After considering all of these topics, I have decided that I've written enough. I hope that you are all doing well. So until next time ... Goodbye. Goodbye again!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Too Busy Being Fabulous

I was feeling guilt over not having written a blog for so long and was thinking about doing a blog full of excuses -- but I didn't really like the idea until I heard a song on the radio that talked about someone who was "too busy being fabulous". I like that excuse. It has nothing to do with what I have and haven't done -- just with what I am being. I give you all permission to borrow it since you are fabulous too.

"I'm sorry, I can't help at the school today. I'm too busy."
"Busy doing what?", says the nosy person on the other end of the phone who wants you to tell her the other 75 things on your calendar.
"Too busy being fabulous."
(Stupefied silence)
"Bye" (says you before they get over their stupefecation)

Or maybe we could just teach it to our children. When someone calls and asks for us they can say, "I'm sorry, she/he can't come to the phone right now -- they're too busy being fabulous. May I take a message".

Okay so maybe this is like the 7-8-9 joke that I think is funnier than everyone else.

Here's what I've been up to since Jake's birthday:
Doing dishes
Cleaning toilets
doing taxes
heading up a book group
going to various kinds of Dr.'s with my children
paying bills
watching television
talking on the phone
planning a family vacation
doing religious things (you'd think I was evil if I forgot to mention that some of my day is used for this).
shopping (we have to eat and new babies "need" presents)
giving huggies (not the diapers -- that's what Dan calls hugs)
changing diapers (these are Huggies with a capital H)
cleaning closets
hurting my ankle
catching a cold
talking to my children and husband
getting my hair done

I am sure you have all been equally as busy with more or less important things. I am sure, because you are you, that you were fabulous the whole time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Jakey Boy Turns 7!

Jake was born on February 12th, 2002 during the Winter Olympics. Of all of the children I have had, his birth was the smoothest for me and the day he was born was truly one that I enjoyed. He was the only child I had that was allowed to come to me when he was two hours old and, as a bonus, I was awake and feeling well. We enjoyed the day with family and it is still a day I look back on with thankfulness. As you all know, the days that followed weren't quite so blissful and were, quite frankly, a bit on the terrifying side. Jake is well though and does not remember the scary things. He learned to walk earlier than any of my other kids. He walked at 9 months and I loved hearing the gasps when I would put him down. Could someone that small really walk?

Jake was always very coordinated (like Batman) and so I chose the picture of him wearing his Batman costume when he was four. When Jake was quite small he could hop from rock to rock (sometimes choosing to do so in unsafe locations) or walk a narrow path, or the back of a couch without mishap. I learned quickly that I didn't need to panic as he had a knack for balance. He did flips on the couch at an early age. (Giving the girls credit -- we wouldn't have let them jump on the couch -- we've gotten soft and the couch has gotten old). Again, I would watch him and see others gasp when he did things. They were surprised when he didn't fall. Still, he is my only child to have needed stitches -- but it was from dropping a glass jar and then stepping on the glass -- not from any lack of balance.

Dan was born when Jake was four and a half years old. Jake had been king of the house until then. Fortunately, Jake took his change in roles gracefully and has allowed Dan the king job while he himself became big brother. Jake has been really good at his new role and has impressed me with his love and kindness towards his brother. It is a bit scary when they wrestle because they aren't careful but I'm glad they enjoy playing together.
Jake loves being outside. He rides his bike, plays ball, runs, swings, slides, and plays in the dirt. He is always tan in the summer!
This is Jake today. He is standing on the back of the couch -- of course. He was happy to get up today and open his presents. He loved them all and went off to school where I hope he is having a good day. Jake is a sensitive, kind, energetic boy. Happy Birthday Jake!

Monday, February 9, 2009

I do it myself!

*Jake's birthday blog is coming but I started this the other day and I thought I'd finish.

Dan has reached that fun point in life when he wants to do everything himself. I wish I had some pictures of some of these things -- and maybe I'll make a point to try to get some today. Since we are hoping he will learn to use the potty in the toilet soon, I thought I'd better start having him pull up his own pants. It is so funny to watch! He gets so angry when the back of them get stuck but he does not want me to help! If I start to reach a hand over he yells "I do it myself!" He absolutely requires that I let him put his own lid on his sippy cup. These have to be screwed on and he does not want help. Fortunately he does let me hold on to the cup so his milk doesn't go flying. He's gotten quite good at this little job. He also thinks he can pour his own cereal and milk. He gets so mad that I insist on helping. He hasn't quite figured out that you don't put the open part of the box of cereal or milk at the top of where you are holding it. He likes to take off his own coat too and he jumps and jumps until it comes off or until he gets upset and says something like "Awwww, I can't do it!" He looks very disappointed when his coat is "stuck". Most of the time he has great persistence with a bit of temper and a loud "I do it myself!"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Assignment 2: Angels

Confession. On my trip I wrote two poems and not just one. This one needed another stanza which I wrote the other night. Today was a grumpy day for me. I was still bemoaning the loss of my cell phone (which got left at the car show), my regular phones are pathetic and need to be taken back, Jake is sick, etc. In spite of these things, I have had phone calls, notes, and I'm sure happy thoughts sent in my direction that have come from my angelic friends and family members. Thanks for making a grumpy day not so grumpy after all.

There are angels all around us,
Walking in the shoes of men;
Helping us when sorrow’s found us,
Giving us the strength to stand.

There are angels all around us.
Lifting us when we are weak,
Bringing light into our darkness
Helping us when life seems bleak.

There are angels all around us
Following the One who calls
Go and help my wandering lost one,
Lest he stumbles and he falls.

Lift the hands that now are weary.
Lift the failing, feeble knees.
Listen to the cries of others
And their silent, prayer filled pleas.

Be an angel for another
And there will be one for you.
In your greatest hour of darkness,
One will come to see you through.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Car Show

A long time ago Derek and I started a tradition of going to the car show -- mainly because Derek loves cars. After a while I learned to enjoy it. We always look for the car we would look the best in -- nevermind that it is almost always a car we wouldn't ever buy. Our tradition was interrupted by pregnancies and births so much that Derek had a new tradition of going with his work buddies. This year we revived the old tradition and I went. So -- which car would I look the best in? I couldn't make up my mind. I was decidedly fond of black cars yesterday but I liked the red ones too. Yes, I do know that colors aren't the same as kinds but I'm better at naming colors than kinds. Derek was kind of silent about which car he would look best in. I'm lousy at types of cars but I believe the above red car is a Ferrari. I suspect Derek would love to drive one which is why I took the picture. This fell into the category of too expensive a car to let lots of people sit in -- so we could only look.
I mostly didn't add pictures of Derek because I took lousy ones. I thought this ended up to be kind of funny -- he was talking. I'm not sure what fancy car he is standing in front of.
I had to sit in a smart car. It feels quite roomy inside so you can drive -- almost unaware of how tiny the car is and that you might be in danger of being squashed like a bug by a bigger vehicle -- but parking would be great!
As is usual for me, I am unaware of which car this is -- but I would look mighty fine driving it -- don't you think?

This is a Saturn Sky. I asked Derek about four times yesterday and the name finally sunk in. Wouldn't it be fun for me to drive on a warm sunny day -- with the wind blowing through my short hair (hey -- I used to have long hair and wind whipping through long hair isn't that fun).
I also liked the black Mustang but I honestly don't think I'd love driving it since the view out the front has a little too much hood. Some of the sports cars were like driving in a cockpit and I really prefer cars with very good visibility. At the car show though -- I try to put these practical issues aside and just decide which car looks the best with me in it -- or is it which car I look the best in?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Who's "HOT"?

I was at parent / teacher conference today -- which isn't really called that by the school but is still my preferred name for it. Jake's teacher asked as I was leaving, "Did you know that all of the girls think Jake is cute?" She overheard them on the playground talking about how "hot" Jake was. She tried to convince the girls that in first grade they should just be friends and not be talking about who was "hot". Somehow I don't think it helped but it was a nice try.

That reminded me that last year I had two seperate Moms come and talk to me about Jake. One was saying that her daughter really thought Jake was cute. The other told me how she had found her boy standing in front of a mirror combing his hair. She asked what he was doing and he said "I'm trying to make my hair look like Jake's because the girls all think Jake is cute". So if you want to know what "hot" looks like to a first grade girl you can look at Jake. The interesting thing to me is that size must not be a factor to the girls so much because I think most of them are bigger than Jake.

Aside from being "hot" (and I didn't take Jake this time so he is probably clueless about his high status with the first grade babes) Jake is doing very well in school and his teacher absolutely loves him. He even occasionally talks to much! Connor is doing well too. His teacher sent home a note about him yesterday because she is so impressed with him. It's nice to go to conferences that are mainly happy and it was interesting to learn who's "hot" in the first grade.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Guilty Post

I admit to only writing now because I'm feeling guilty for being a boring blogger for so long. Unfortunately, I haven't downloaded any fun pictures. Fortunately, I'm sure your imaginations can take care of it.

Our holidays have been, busy, productive, lazy, fun, painful, scary, silly, and any number of other adjectives.

Busy: I have been busy cleaning, taking decorations up and down, cleaning some more, playing games, cleaning, and watching movies. Maybe a few other activities were in there too.

Productive: Didn't I mention cleaning? The storage room looks neater.

Lazy: Um, that's what I wanted to be except I feel guilty when I'm lazy. I did manage to get up later than usual on a couple of occasions.

Fun: Riding my 4 wheeler in the snow and being pulled on a sled and playing the Wii and going out with Der were all fun.

Painful: My arm hurts from playing the Wii and my neck hurts maybe from doing those 10 situps (doing ten situps is a miracle so don't laugh).

Scary: It's never fun to hear that someone you love is headed to the emergency room. We are feeling thankful and blessed that Angela is home. Also, those orks in the Lord of the Rings movies are really scary -- just in a different way.

Silly: Tia's silly friends toilet papered our house, came back for pictures, and got caught. As a reward for being caught they got to hear Tia yelling "Aaron, You FOOL!" It was pretty funny. Thanks to Kayli, Connor, and later Tia for the cleanup. Those super high pieces of toilet paper will just have to disintegrate.

Other adjectives: Yummy, exhausting, beautiful, touching, etc. I hope your holidays can be described by many happy adjectives!