Saturday, January 30, 2016

Confused? I am

I've not been very good about updating the blog but I am trying to get us up to date.  Unfortunately, I carry my phone more than my camera so I just discovered lot's of good thing to write about on my phone.  I'll try to appropriately date things in the future!! We'll get there someday.

Right now, I am working on getting the other kids' rooms painted.  I'm also trying to get a quiet book sewn and thinking about summer and fall logistics.  Life is never dull or slow around here.  I also have to develop Hannah, Jonathan and Charlotte's schooling for the Fall since it's a bit much for them to try and integrate into a German school for 4 months and the international school is outrageously expensive.  I can't believe I'm going to take a crack at homeschooling.  It should be fun though.  There is so much to drawn on in Germany and Europe.

Hyrum is working at Google and also teaching a class at Carnegie-Mellon Univeristy.  He has responsibilities with Scouting (church related and self imposed) and is serving on the High Council at church (assists the stake president, a leader of many congregations, in several ways, scouting being one of his assignments).  He is also flexing his handy-man muscles and just finished installing new outdoor lighting outside our garage.   We also get up early most mornings to exercise together.  It's kind of sad that we consider 6 am sleeping in.

Hannah is enjoying school.  She is in the orchestra at school and plays the violin.  I am still her piano instructor and she is progressing nicely.  She's a smart cookie and enjoys reading a bit too much.  She received a new bike for Christmas and has been happy about a mild winter so she can try out the gears and leave Jonathan in the dust.  She also a great helper with almost whatever I ask of her. 

Jonathan just lost another tooth this evening.  He is a really great kid.  He has voluntarily taken charge of helping Spencer get dressed in the morning, including changing his pull-up.  He is a little scatterbrained when it comes to things like getting out the door in the morning but I think it's because he is trying to think about and express way too many things.  That boys mind is going faster than his feet and they go pretty fast most of the time.  He too is working on piano and is struggling but works at it.  I am proud that as much as his dislikes it, he keeps working at it.  He is doing well at school and loves the social aspects of it.

Charlotte is the silent ring leader.  She is a big girl stuck in a little body and the middle of a big family.  We love her so much.  She loves her big brother and sister but it really her own person.  She is working on reading and does a great job when she wants to.  She isn't happy about going to Germany because she is really looking forward to starting school.  I told her we will have school for her but she is not impressed.  She and Spencer are buddies though and I often find them holding hands or with their arms around one another.

Spencer is just a funny guy.  He has so much character it's really great.  His speech has improved a lot and we just love talking to him.  He also loves to learn and is excited to learn how to read.  We're gearing up for another go at potty training.  (Waiting until he was older was not a good move.)   I'm optimistic this time we'll get it.  He is always good for a hug or a kiss and is my buddy.  I'll miss him when he heads off to school in a year and a half.

Ben has just started taking his first real steps, yesterday he had about 7 in a row.  He is babbling away and loves to talk to us.  Every time I pick him up he lays his head on my shoulder and just hugs me for a minutes.   He's always good for a smile.  We made our first ER trip with him this week.  He cut his finger pretty good and they glued him up.  It didn't much good though because despite my best efforts to keep his hand dry and out of his mouth I can't do a whole lot about nap time and bed time.

That's where we are these days.  Life is busy and hectic but it's good.  I am always ready for bedtime but, most days, I'm ready for the alarm to ring as well. 

No more Castle Room!

When we bought our house there was a little bedroom with a castle mural on one wall.   It was the castle room.  I had thought of it as being the office/guestroom but after having Ben, we decided Hannah needed her own space.  Being the oldest is rough, Hyrum and I know it so we wanted to give Hannah a little space to call her own.

We tested about five different colors and finally settled on a pale purple.  Then it was time to fill holes, sand down parts of the mural, clean, tape and paint.  It took me a while to get the painting done but it turned out really well.

I put up some shelves, repainted a desk I bought at a garage sale, hung some drapes, bought some lamps and made some artwork.  I also added a cushion to the top of an old toy chest to add more seating and color. 

We included pictures of the Savior and the temple and a place to hang her special memories.

It no longer looks quite so tidy but she loves her space and I think it came out quite well.  Now I'm working on the other two bedrooms. 

Passport Photos?

In November, Hyrum spent a Sunday afternoon taking picture of the kids. Why?  They need passports.  One day in October, we decided it was time for an extended trip to Europe with our family.  We also decided that if we were ever going to do it, now was the time to make it happen.  We made preliminary arrangements with work to have Hyrum work out of the Google office in Munich, Germany, sent out some feelers for someone to live in our house while we're gone and notified our families that they could save their pennies and visit us in Germany.

Hyrum will be working in Munich for 4 months.  We'll rent a flat or something and live it up in Munich without a car and stuffing the seven of us in European accommodations.   We're also excited to spend some time with Hyrum's brother, his wife and brand new little one in London, as well as doing a bit of traveling through Western Europe.  There are still so many details to work out but we're excited for this adventure.  We have someone to rent our house and the kids have their passports so now we really only need a place to live in Munich and our tickets across the pond.

(Taking passport photos of an 11 month old is fun! I had to hold a white blanket up behind him)

My favorite!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Castle Park

When school is in session I attempt to attend playgroup with the younger kids.  The week before Labor Day it was at Avonworth Community Park.  We pulled in and I was a little underwhelmed by the horrific parking lot.  I had committed to go though so we found a parking spot, unloaded the car and went in search of someone we knew.  We crossed a little bridge to see a pretty sweet castle play ground.  It was an old wooden one with turrets and "secret" tunnels.  My Little kids loved it so since Labor Day was coming we decided we needed to spend some time there with the big kids.  

The day was very toasty but the kids loved running around the castle and then trying to catch minnows in the creek that runs through the park.  They found a tall hill to climb and thoroughly enjoyed a day at the "Castle Park".  It's snowing and they occasionally make plans for their next visit. 

(I just realized I forgot to take pictures of the actual playground : )  oops!)

Jonathan had a birthday!

Jonathan turned 7 this year.  I am really proud of him.  He is so inquisitive and wants to know how everything works.  He loves rockets and robots, building anything from legos to using a hammer and nails.   He is growing so much.  We bought him pants that fit in August and by mid-September  They were at least 1 1/2 inches too short.

Happy Birthday Mr. J!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Let us be more gentle.

I've spent a few minute this morning catching up on friends and what's going on in their lives.  As I read through these stories of successes, failures, heartbreaks and joys I thought of my own experiences. 

This past year has been trying in my life as well.  For at least the 6 months following Ben's birth I struggled with Postpartum depression.  I've never experienced such darkness in my life before.  Through it all, probably only my husband recognized a bit of what was happening and he could only worry and offer help.  The problem with depression is that when you need help the most, you are least capable of asking for it. 

I am feeling much better these days.  I suspect I just needed time for hormones to get back into working order after having Ben but it has been a life-changing experience.

I say this only as a reminder (mostly to myself) to be gentle with people.  There is so much of life that happens behind closed doors both literally and figuratively as those of the heart.   I often find myself judging someones rudeness or absentmindedness when maybe they are hurting inside, or they have serious family matters on their mind.  Perhaps they are suffering a private loss of hopes and dreams.  I am trying to be a little kinder, smile a bit more and remember that we are all broken creatures. 

Healing comes through the Savior, Jesus Christ and that I believe and know with all my heart.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Hyrum's 2015 Recap

Every year I take all the patches we've collected from the various places we've been and put them on a quilt block.  Some years have more patches than others, and we can't get one everywhere we go, but it's a nice way to remember our adventures.  After my annual battle with our sewing machine, I've completed the patch for this year.

2015 in a nutshell
We've already got a lot planned for 2016: we may need a double block!