Sunday, September 22, 2013

First Girl at six and a half

This sweet, affectionate, smart, helpful, creative, good person is close to being seven years old! She has been six and a half since May. A few days later she lost her first tooth, and a few days after that she finished kindergarten. (It's funny how much longer the second loose tooth was loose compared to the first. The new tooth grew in behind it but the baby tooth was also there, until it finally fell out a week or two ago.) The photo below is of her in May. It's the one we have hanging up in our living room, too.

Before that, in April, I started teaching her piano lessons, and she has easily learned a few songs with chords in the left hand and the melody in the right hand. I'm using my old teacher's unique system. She likes the theory we do during lessons. Our only challenges are: 1) that sometimes I kind of get busy with other things and forget, so we have the lesson a day or two late. 2) that sometimes she doesn't want to try to play something that I'm telling her to play. She cries and says it's too hard. But she does it.

She and Second Girl have great imaginations. It seems like mostly the younger one goes along with the older one's ideas. They like to have First Girl pretend be the mom or the teacher. She is a little too bossy sometimes, though. One day in July they built a "road that leads to the man who knows everything" -- it's pictured below but the road was much longer.

They played a lot with Amy this summer, and swam with her once. They also started playing more with another neighbor, Nate. Sometimes both Amy and Nate were over at our place at the same time. Some of the things they liked to do together were to ride the bike, scooter, and trike on the sidewalk, or use the Marble Works or musical instrument toys or the iPad.

First Girl enjoyed helping me come up with things for our summer fun to-do list. I'm glad we made the list. We took the kids to see the outside of the house my family lived in from about age five to seven and a half, and we walked on that street a little. I showed them where Mommy and Daddy met, to see where my dad works, and to special libraries (in addition to some story times at another library -- not on the list). We watched Enchanted together, which they hadn't seen. Those are just a few examples. . . . Some of the things on the list we didn't do yet because they cost money and/or because I want him to be with us when we do them.

She started first grade a month ago. She likes eating lunch at school, and she loves the Spanish dual immersion program. She sings some of the cute Spanish songs to me. I love her voice (both speaking and singing). I'm looking forward to my meeting with both of the teachers, because she's such a good reader and the assignments and other papers I see she gets from the English teacher are easy. I don't know if she is considered gifted or just reads at a higher level. She is also good at writing, drawing, and explaining things. 
Yes, she wanted to wear the same shirt again. :)
I love that she likes to tell me things, and go on dates with me, and will still hold my hand. She hugs me when I pick her up from school. She likes to be near me and is interested in what I do on the computer, but she doesn't mind me going places without her. She is great at helping her younger sisters; often what they need is a comforting hug but in this picture she simply wanted to hug and kiss C.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

the two of us

Wow. It's the middle of September! I have never gone this long between posts, and I know my last two were short. Thanks for reading. Here is the first of some updates on our family.  

:: me ::
Mother's Day 2013

With two of my siblings on my mom's birthday -- I stole my friend's idea (she did it for her dad) by having people write my mom letters, and she said it was the best gift she has ever received. That makes me happy.
Hmm, what to say about myself. . . . I'm enjoying my life. The hours and the weeks go by pretty fast. Summer vacation was super fast but wonderful. I love being a stay-at-home mom and I am so grateful I get to spend a lot of time with these angels (we're working on them being angelic when we ask them to put their things away or do other things that they don't want to do). They make me smile and laugh often. I like that they have friends in the neighborhood that they play with often, too, and grandparents nearby to help us. I get a little bit of time to myself in the morning, at least enough to pray and read The Book of Mormon. I can also have alone time after the kids are in bed on most of the nights when my husband is working. It's nice that he's home by 9 or 10 p.m. usually. I like watching a show on Netflix with him, but I also like when we just talk.

Lately I have been exercising for 30-40 minutes some time before lunch, 4-6 days a week. It's usually closer to 6 days a week than 4, of running or HIIT cardio or both. In spite of that, I have a belly that sticks out. It's not my fault that I look pregnant, I guess -- it's because of my umbilical hernia and diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal muscles). I am definitely not pregnant. There's probably some fat there but I don't know how much because of whatever weird stuff is happening underneath. I can grab a little fat on my inner thighs, but there isn't any anywhere else. Well, I found a lot of diastasis recti information on youtube, including exercises to heal it, so I'm doing them as part of my strength training 3 days a week. I have "before" pictures but not enough has changed to take "after" pictures. I am trying to eat even more like the Eat to Live weight loss plan, which includes fewer grains/starches and processed foods and more vegetables (especially cruciferous ones). And I am trying to be patient with my body even though it's been a while since I gave birth. The other day I talked to my midwife, who referred me to a doctor that I will meet with this Friday to get more information about getting laparascopic surgery to make my belly flatter like it used to be.

:: him ::

June 2013
September 2013
My cute husband is still working hard at his three jobs. He did not get the railroad job he wanted, and we don't know why they didn't even interview him. But he did basically get an offer for something different, a position we had sort of given up on because it had been so long. It's still taking a while but it might happen: he might be a highway patrol trooper! Apparently they are always doing the hiring process, so he is on the list or his file is in the stack or whatever, and when they need him they will call. First he had an interview -- actually, I think it was two. Then we turned in his packet for the background check in November. Yep, ten months ago. In February they told us that a lot of people had applied, so we would have to wait a few extra weeks. Then they actually did the background check, and an employee met with him in our home. On May 23rd they talked about why he wants to be a trooper, and they gave him a piece of paper that is a conditional offer of employment. He took a polygraph test, psychological evaluation (both of those the hardest things he has ever done), and a physical all in the week before leaving with his unit for Annual Training. Another three months have passed. . . . He doesn't want to continue forever with what he's doing, and he has hard days (with his depression) every once in a while probably more often than I realize, but the Lord is blessing us. My husband is in very good shape physically because he really wants to get a certain score on his next Army PT test. He works out early before his full time job and told me he likes that he's "a runner," which he hasn't been in a few years. 

Side note: he and I have never lived together this long before. Between his deployments we had almost three years together. But now he has been back for three years and four months.

:: us ::

This summer he decided that we needed to get away to relax without the kids for more than just a couple of hours. I agreed. So we went on an approximately 26-hour date and had a really great time. It was Friday to Saturday August 9th-10th. {Third Girl survived that time without breastfeeding (I was fine too), and was happy to continue when she saw me again. My goal is two years.} Since some of our little family had been sick back in April when it was our anniversary, and D and I never did much to celebrate, this was like a 4-months-late anniversary vacation. I'm not sure if we will take the whole family on a trip any time soon, which is okay. It will just be that much more exciting and special when we finally do, right? Anyway, here are some of the pictures from our big date! It was so nice to be in the hot tub and pool at night. This was also his first time in a tram, he thinks, and his first time rock climbing, which surprised me. I love being married to him.

It was  cold and gorgeous.
My view as I walked out of the lodge to start my morning run.

I overcame my fear on the ropes course. I walked on most of the areas.

Although this doesn't show any of the bikers, it was neat being at one of the Tour of Utah venues! I want a bike. . . . Also, we might have felt the need to return to our kids sooner if it were not for the road being closed in the afternoon. :)

(My hair flips out if I don't straighten it. And he's even better-looking than he seems in some photos.)

He had the day off for Labor Day so he and I did some good work on our home, with the kids helping, too. We rotated our rug so the couch covers the stains. And we switched bedrooms with the kids (this took more than one day, and a lot of it was done by Saturday night). It's much better! We haven't taken pictures yet, but not all of the items, wall decorations, etc. are in place. We have the smaller bedroom but it's nice that it has a bigger closet, and the three girls have more room to play in their room now.

We are still in a 2-bedroom apartment, even though at first we thought we would only stay for a year or so. We just signed a new lease, our fourth one, because we're waiting to hear about which city he will be working in. Anyway, these changes are good. We like the layout of the furniture better now; changing bedrooms helped it feel kind of like a new placeOne day soon after Labor Day he swept and straightened up the patio, I gave the toddler's seat (not quite a high chair) a bath and did three loads of laundry, etc. I still need to thoroughly clean the blinds. We got rid of junk including shirts I've had a long long time, and some toys and other kid things. I'm pretty sure that I have blogged before about the fact that it's hard for me to let go of stuff. I have gotten better with my husband's help. We know we made the right decision by not moving out yet. We had actually told the people at the leasing office that we planned to move out September 14th, but it wouldn't have been worth the stress and the other costs, since we would likely move again less than a year later. It's good to be able to still serve in this ward, where my husband has only taught Gospel Doctrine class a few times so far. I also have a fairly new calling.