Thursday, January 28, 2010

Organized Chaos

Let's talk about goals. I've been dying to sit down and make some New Years resolutions, but haven't. So I'm going to do it now, in a post that most likely will be very scattered and incoherent, but I'll at least have something to show for my desire to set some goals for myself.

I've had this huge desire to become more organized. I'm not a very organized person, but I'm super jealous of those who are, so instead of turning green with envy I've decided to look inside myself and make a change. I am starting with little steps like using a planner. I'm actually using the Pocket Docket from simplemom's blog (it's a free download), and I've really enjoyed using it. It helps me think things through in advance (such as what we're having for dinner) thus making me a much more productive person. I guess I'm a list person. I like checking things off my list (my mom is like this so I come by it naturally).
Another area I am seriously lacking organization is with school. I was at the doctor's office yesterday and she said "You have four children and you're homeschooling? You must be really organized". I just nodded my head and pretended it was true. IF ONLY... So in order to make a change here, I've started planning the whole weeks worth of lessons our on Saturday and Sunday. This week it has been super successful. We have stayed on track and in some cases even gotten a little ahead! (don't get me wrong, we're not ahead of where we should be, but ahead of where we were, and that's something) Each kid has a folder for Math, and they share a Reading folder (they are on the same lesson for reading), and in each folder are page protectors (one for each day of the week). So when I'm planning the lessons for the week I put anything they will need in the corresponding pocket. I think having a schedule helps me keep up because If I fall behind I'll have to re-do all my schedule, and doing in originally was a lot of work.

Organizing my time. This one is still a struggle. I have a hard time prioritizing things (maybe thats the reason I'm still not showered and dressed for the day-it's 1:30). I read a post (also on simplemom) that talked about eating a frog first thing each day. Not an actual frog, but I guess Mark Twain said something along the lines of If you eat a live frog at the beginning of each day the rest of your day will be great in comparison. So the organizational point to this is that if you do you least pleasant tasks first (exercising, paying bills, whatever...) you will be more productive, and lets face it, I'm never going to get to the end of the day and say "I'm just too beat to watch some TV", but I always get to the end of the day and say "I'm just too beat to fold that laundry tonight". I'm still mulling this over in my mind and have yet to put it into practice, but it seem logical enough.

In order to encourage myself to spend my free time a little more productively I'm setting a reading goal for myself. I really love to read and I don't make enough time for it. I thought about setting a number of books to read goal, but I don't know if that's such a great idea. First I thought about 50 then I realized -THAT'S A TON- so then I got all self-conscious and froze up. So instead I think what I am going to do is to get involved in a book group. Our Relief Society does a girls night once a week and I though about volunteering to host a book group once a month but if this doesn't work out I will find an online book group to follow. Either way I'm excited to have a reason to pull myself away from whatever I happen to be doing to read.

Another goal I have set for myself is better maintenance of this blog. I think I do alright, but Casey printed the blog off for me as my Christmas present, and I LOVED it. I just feel like that is such a valuable thing. I did wish I had been more thorough in my blogging. My sister Sarah keeps her blog up very well and as I looked through her book (her husband printed hers off also) I noticed lots of really great experiences I had left off my blog. In order to give myself a little credit, we seem to have more than our fair share of camera problems (My father in law gave us his old camera so that has solved our problem for the time being), but I'm challenging myself to post at least twice a week (with or without pictures).

So, long story this never ending attempt to better myself, hopefully I'll look back on this post next year and say "Hey, self, you really did well!"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Trip to the Doctor

Today we had our first visit to the doctor since moving to Cambridge. Bennett and Miles were both behind on shots, so they each got stuck. Porter and Maya were worried for them and before we left for the appointment Maya told me that she had prayed that the babies wouldn't cry when they got them. Being the doubting mom that I am I though "brace yourself for disappointment, cause babies hate shots". We got to the building and it was this little rinky dink office but everyone was really friendly, and the kids both did well and guess what...The babies didn't cry!
Bennett feels pretty tough sportin' this band aid. He was quite the tough guy for his shot. He didn't cry until it was over and then it was only a whimper. And now that it's over he looks at his band aid and says "I want more shot"

Miles was super good for his shots. He needed two shots, after the first one he giggled, then after the second one he just sort of whined but absolutely no crying.

Bennett and Miles are such good friends. I think Bennett is sometimes a little too loving, but they are very cute together.

Here's Miles checking out Bennett's battle scar

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!

Yep, it's true, yesterday was my Birthday (31 whopping years old) and other than a few self imposed frustrations, it was a great Birthday. I got lots of phone calls (from family far away) and lots of kisses (from family not so far away).

Porter said "I'm sorry mommy, I didn't get you a present, but I can go get you you want presents?" I told him mom's never want presents, they want well behaved children.

I spent a good portion of my Birthday week wishing spring would come faster so we can spend more time outside.

Bennett told me he loved me (WITHOUT being prompted) for the first time on my Birthday.

I wish I could say the whole day was quality time, but alas some time wasters gobbled up a good portion of it...I had to get the Motor Assistance guy to jump my van, I was really dreading doing this but I feel so good now that it's done. Then I got to go to the grocery store all by myself and bought more Ribs for dinner (I though we were supposed to have the missionaries over, but they called and said there was a miscommunication and they weren't coming, so Casey, the kids and I got to eat ribs to our hearts content). I also got some things to make dinner for a friend who just had a baby (I later found out someone was already bringing her dinner, but hopefully my meal will still come in handy). So I spent the entire afternoon cooking. I made three racks of ribs, baked potatoes, and salad. Then I made 2 German chocolate cakes (1 for us and one for the friend) and I made Elaine's yummy curry chicken and rice casserole (for my friend's family, but I licked the bowl like crazy!). It's a good thing I enjoy cooking (and eating). The only unpleasant part was cleaning up after all that cooking.

Maya's gift to me was a big ol' smoochy face kiss (which I loved). Then a little later she started crying and saying "I don't think my kiss was good enough". Poor thing, she always wants to make people happy, unfortunately she has that female trait of being too hard on herself.

Once all the mischief makers were finally in bed Casey and I ate cake and watched a movie (It Might Get Loud) and although some of it was interesting I wish today I would have gone to bed earlier.

Even though Miles didn't get any cake he was still Mr. Happy Pants.

Look at how big this guy is getting. These are 12 month clothes, and today he unmistakably ground crawled over to the camera.

He tries to act all innocent, but I have a feeling he's gonna be trouble!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Back to life...

Well, Casey has started back to school, our car battery is dead (and I'm putting off calling and having the guys come jump it for me), and we are trying to get use to being back from vacation. Reality is setting in and I'm not sure I like it.
Well in order to try to readjust to reality we are trying to enjoy the fun things about home. We got lots of snow so the kids have had fun playing outside. (In this picture Maya looks like she's thinking "Gee mom do you really need to take more pictures? Just let us go PLAY!)

When we got back home our good friends Quincy and Allison had left, and will be gone for 5 months! We were all so sad, but it's a good thing we like each other well enough. Porter and Maya are pretty good buddy's.

Check out Maya's mismatched gloves. That girl has a style all her own.

Here's Porter dying to throw snowballs.

Maya's having a little snack (eating the snow off her gloves)

And Porter finally gets to thrown snowballs

Although it's not that cold no one can stay outside forever, so the kids take a break and have Dad teach them Ticket To Ride. They did pretty well, but the laughed and laughed at the name of Budapest.

We are trying to get back into the routine of school (always a struggle). This week I asked Porter to help Maya with her reading. It was actually really successful. He did a great job helping (I think he really liked being in charge) and Maya did well working with him. Maybe I should have them teach each other more often (then I could read a book of my own???)
Porter finally decided to spend some of his cash stash and bought a remote control helicopter. Poppy had one of these while we were visiting at Christmas and I think Porter thought it was pretty awesome. They have had a great time playing with it when Bennett isn't around.

He's even been really great about letting Maya take a turn.

In other news Mr. Miles is eating real food. I know it's a little late to start him, but I guess I was in denial that he's such a big boy.

After I fed him a bit Maya wanted to try, so she fed him some more, and then he decided to feed himself the rest.

Green beans -YUMMY-

When he's all cleaned up he's a pretty cute little bear. Check out those bottom teeth.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First time on the ski hill

Here's the family on the way to Mt. Spokane to carve up some bunny hill. Casey, Maya, Porter, and Poppy.

Here is the part where everyone is still really happy and excited about trying skiing.

Well the ski lift sure is fun, but I wonder if going down is going to be equally fun?

(Riding the ski lift was Maya's favorite part)

The prospect of new goggles kept this kid smiling and skiing.

A quick coco break to warm the Master and the young grasshopper before another hour on the slopes.

Maya learned the hard way that you should always test the 'hotness' of your cocoa before you go slurping away, even after daddy blows on it.

Sip slowly or you could suffer adverse consequences.

Luckily she had some ice water to slowly sip until the burning subsided.

Learning is hard, but despite some set backs and a few tears, I believe they had a good time, and they both told me they would like to go back again. I think the main reason they want to go back is because Poppy told them that if they keep trying and get real good at it they would get to buy goggles. They thought the goggles were really cool. Poppy let them borrow a pair of his, and they wore them nonstop for the rest of the visit.

I'm not positive, but i'm pretty sure Porter is rescuing Poppy in this picture. Poppy isn't as young as he used to be:)

And here is Maya doing the 'weggie'. What a look of concentration.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Overview of our 7 week VACATION

We had a really wonderful vacation. We left the day before Thanksgiving and drove from Cambridge to Louisville, Ky (about 18 hours) to spend a scrumptious Thanksgiving with the Porter's then Casey flew back to Cambridge and finished the semester. The kids and I took a quick trip to my sister Sarah's (3 hour drive) and spent some time with her WONDERFUL family. Then we drove back to Louisville (another 3 hours). Once school was out Casey flew back to Louisville and we spent a few days with my family before herding the clan to the airport and flying to Spokane, WA (2 flights and an unknown # of hours) to spend Christmas with the Elmer's. After a fantastic Christmas and New Years, we hopped on another plane and headed back for Louisville (2 more flights and another unknown # of hours) and stayed with the Porters for a few more days. Sarah and the cousins were supposed to come down and visit but we got a ton of snow so they couldn't come. We just couldn't leave with out seeing them so we loaded the trusty van and headed back to Lafayette (yet another 3 hour drive). We spent a few days visiting with them then sadly loaded the van one last time to head back to Cambridge (a final 18 hour drive). It really was a wonderful vacation and here are some of the highlights:

Porter's (Louisville, Ky)
Playing games (always a blast)
Memory Christmas (instead of buying gifts we think of a memory for each person. Then we read them together and usually we get some small memento to go along with the memory. It's very fun)
Group Low Carb Diet (we all decided we wanted to loose some weight over the holidays and started cutting carbs. It's amazing how well a group can do when they work together. There were 8 of us doing it and in about 2 weeks we had lost 30 some lbs.)
Impromptu talent show (always a hit)
Took Bennett and Miles to the ER. (Miles 2x)
Read Hunger Games and Catching fire (Casey and I are both hooked. This was quite the treat because I don't get much reading done at home, and I really love to read. Team Peeta all the way!)

Harward's (West Lafayette, In)
Monkey Joe's (see previous post)
Preschool with Landon and Addie (The kids got to go to preschool with their cousins and absolutely loved it. One of the days they had a field trip to a gymnastics studio where they got to swing from a rope into a foam pit. They had a great time)
Prepared for and attended the ward Christmas party (Sarah is the ward activity person so we got to plan like crazy)
Made AWARD WINNING macaroon cookies (yes we won the contest and the $100's cash + $100's in prizes)

Elmer's (Spokane, WA)
Couples movie night (we watched Sherlock Holmes, and it was so much fun to go out together)
Christmas morning, memory Christmas
Chopped Chef (This was a wicked fun cooking competition Jeff created. We had to cook different dished using surprise ingredients. Casey and I tied for 1st place with Dan and Angela and won $70 per couple!)
Family Pictures (see previous post)
Skiing (post to follow)
Rock Band (Poor Poppy never could master the Rock Band drums the way he has the actual drums)
More game playing (wits and wagers, snorta)
Daughter's in Law lunch with Peggy (it was really nice to get to know my sisters in law better, even if the owner did have to chase us down to pay our bill, oops)

Porter's (Louisville, Ky)
More game playing (Ticket to Ride, Stone Age, Wits and Wagers)
Chopped Chef (we had so much fun playing this at the Elmer's Casey wanted to try it with my family, and it was a BLAST!)
Watched Hanny on Americas Funniest Videos (three Thanksgivings ago we had refugee Thanksgiving, where we all piled into my tiny apartment in Philly, and while we were all together someone got the bright idea to play a game where you spin around a broomstick, drop the broomstick and try to jump over it. You get super dizzy, and we started recording people doing this. Hannah was the funniest by far. She totally fell straight into the wall. Brad sent it into AFV and it was selected to be on the air)
Played in the snow
Sledding (Possibly photos to follow IF I can get them off the wacked out memory card my hubby purchased)

Harward's (West Lafayette, In)
More game playing (Sarah stayed up late and played ticket to ride with us each night, and we even got Steve-o to play one night)
Lunch group
Casey's game night with the old Game Group (when we were in Lafayette Casey got together with a group of guys every Thursday to play various games. While we were visiting Sarah he sent out and emergency e-mail saying 'I'm only in town for 48 hours, anyone up for games?' Being the great friends they are they dropped what they were doing (one of the wives had just had a baby the past week) and met for some short notice gaming.)
Monkey Joe's (which was only cut short by Grant projectile vomiting all over the place)
Some of us got the stomach bug (the only people from my family to get it were Porter and Maya, Sarah's family was not so lucky. I think they all got it)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Some of Porter's ART

This is a piece he drew while passing time in church. In case you can't tell it's a man sitting on a toilet reading a book and he titled this piece Pooppin.

This is a piece that was created when Porter visited his cousin Landon's preschool class. They were discussing what they wanted to be when they grew up and Porter chose a Police Officer (so he can have a gun)

And a super sweet Police Van (do Police Officers drive vans typically?)