Friday, April 24, 2015

Morning Date

I love spending time with my husband.  I could totally handle having him work from home all the time.  Dave's work is in the middle of where our house is and where he goes for High Council.  (An hour drive from home to the town where High Council is) So on Wednesday's, High Council days, he goes to work later and then drives straight there in the evening.  As a result we hang out Wednesday mornings.  Nothing big or grand.  The kids are all in school, so it's just us.  We check cow, go to the dump, put up walls, or dig holes for footings.  Simple things together.  This week he also took Thursday and Friday off.  The weather has been beautiful.  It is so peaceful out here in the morning.  Yesterday we check cows, moved some fences, and I watched as he did some work on the tractor.

See my boot.  I was super helpful right there.

I am so loving the age of my kids right now.  No diapers or babysitters.  They can help around the house and farm, but can entertain themselves.  They get ready on their own or make and clean up their dinner if I am going somewhere.  I can run to town or hang out with Dave and not worry about them. They are old enough to have a real conversation with and have interests and hobbies, not so needy.  They are fun to hang out with and make us laugh, smile, be proud of their accomplishments. But can see when others need help and do it.  They are all in school, seriously fantastic.  I kinda wish they could stay like this forever.  But when they are in school, I am really enjoying my weekly morning date with Dave.  We talk about everything or nothing.  We talk over possible solutions for the kids, or our church callings, or dream about the future.   Beautiful. Peaceful. Perfect.  He is such a great man.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Parenting Puzzle

Last post I said that I would explain this picture on the 18th.  But, since I am my mother's daughter, a little back story first.
I feel that parenting is kinda like putting together a puzzle.  I gather pieces and try them.  Some fit right away, others I have to turn and try again.  Some will work for one kid but not another.  And some pieces will work for a while then need to be changed.  A big piece for me was to learn my kid's currency.  Years ago there was a new show out I had waited and waited to see.  I told Leah that if she didn't clean her room she couldn't go, thinking this would entice her.  The show was my currency not hers.  She didn't clean her room on time and as a result I had to stay home with her and miss it.  Because of course follow thro is so important in parenting.  (I learned not to give threats I wasn't willing to actually do).  Leah doesn't not like washing her face everyday. One day it clued in with me that her currency right now was music.  I made her a deal that if she would wash her face morning and night for a week then each Sunday she could get one song from itunes.  It has worked.  Another piece was to learn to be confident in any decision I made.  My kids have tried to change the sleep over rule so many times.  They always have new ideas and reasons about how to change my mind.  If I was not absolutely sure about it and if Dave and I where not on the same page, I might waiver.  And as soon as you waiver, they will always think any rule can be changed. (Kids crave rules and structure even if they give you attitude about it.)  I have been researching about introverts.  I was starting to suspect that Leah was an introvert, but wasn't sure how she could be when she is so outgoing.  But she is.  Interestingly enough so are Dave and I.  Blake is an extrovert and Cora is an ambivert, which I had never heard off.  When Blake wanted to know what we where taking about I explained it like this.  Pretend that everywhere we go we carried a glass.  Each of us needs to have a full glass to be happy.  For Blake his glass would get filled by being with people, although he is borderline ambivert, plays well by himself also.  For Dave, Leah and I it would be like giving a little spoonful of water to each person around us and we would go home empty.  We then would have to come home and be by ourselves and at peace until it was filled and we felt we could  go out again.  This was actually a big piece for me with Leah. I always knew she needed alone time, but now I understand why. Very few people don't drain her glass.  So of course another is figuring what motivates them.  When I was out with my parents for Easter, every morning I would go walking with my mom and her good friend.  One morning they where talking about a color coding class she was teaching to the priest/laurels today.  (That's why I had to wait to blog it)  It all made such good sense to me.  For example if I could figure out Leah's motivational core then I could figure out how to get her to clean her room.  She kindly agreed to come over and do all the tests and explain it all that night.  This was not just a piece of the puzzle, it was directions on how to fit some of the piece I had found, in.  We all took the test and brought one home for Dave.  I am a really strong red, Cora is red, Dave is blue, and Leah and Blake are yellow.  Cora is secondary blue and yellow.  Leah and Blake are secondary red.  So super briefly Red: Driven by being right, being a leader, hides insecurities, is prideful, pleases themselves.  Blue: Good listener, needs to be appreciated, wants to please others, wants security, self-judgemental.  White: driven by peace, moves at their own pace, needs acceptance, stubborn, indecisive.  Yellow:  Driven by fun, wants to be liked, and noticed,  Pleases themselves, wants freedom and adventure, can be rebellious and irresponsible, a chatterbox.  When she was talking it really all went click, click, click for me.  She did a great job explaining it and had a few stories to demonstrate the different motivational colors.  I was absolutely fascinated.  I came straight home and checked out some books from the library.  It is so helpful.  The other day I needed the kids to set the table.  Cora gets up and does it while Leah doesn't.  Both normal reactions.  I told Leah I needed her red for 10 mins then she could be yellow again.  She totally knew what I meant.  Sighed and got up to set the table.  I have always known that I need Blake and Leah to do chores first before playtime, and now I know why.  Cora will always get her work done. This used to irritate Blake and Leah since they thought I favored Cora.  They would always complain, 'just because Cora finished her chores', 'oh of course Cora is done'.  Like some how it was my fault they hadn't been obedient.  Now they understand.  This is seriously so cool.

This is the longest it has ever taken me to write a post.  I would start and come back, delete a bunch, reword some.  It was getting so long, but I had so much to say, it's so neat.  If anyone wants any more info on color coding or introvert/extrovert and finding out what your kids are, I would happily share the little I have learned.  It's so helpful.

Monday, April 13, 2015

....and the Play!

Sometimes when you are having so much fun, the work can also feel like the play.  The kids really enjoy being with their cousins, some pictures I couldn't decided where to put. Work post or play post. Cora really enjoyed rinsing the dished, so she could made waterfalls.  My two year old nephew thought this was great fun the week before when he was out.  Cora played just as much as he did I am told. :)

Cora said,' don't pick the one I'm making a funny face', but I couldn't find the other ones.  Sorry Cora. 

Beautiful shot with the mountains, my dad and two of his grandsons.

Blake had never ridden by himself.  Both of them did great.  Cora borrowed a pair of jeans that Taylor had left at the farm.  They where a little big and very high waisted.  We where laughing at here, but she needed something to ride in.  The sweater she borrowed from Grandma.

Sorry about all the blackness in the corner of the pictures.  We forgot the camera.  Cora had her ipad there so we used that for all the pictures.  Apparently the case camera hole is not lined up with the ipad camera eye.  Hmmm.

Kailey and Leah where babysitting for a lady in my parent's ward for hours the same day the rest went ridding.  Looks like they are doing a great job.  Thanks Kailey for the picture.

Last day of fun at the farm.

Leah is all ready to do drop-in baptisms.
One day we all sat down and took a test.  The info is absolutely fascinating to me and has helped me parent my kids.  I will tell you all about it after the 18th. 

One last jump this trip.

After temple baptisms we headed to town to go to the open gym.  This time it was open :)  So much fun.  Cora is very very close to doing a standing back tuck.  It has been her goal for months.  

A few groceries and home to see Dad again.  It really was a perfect Easter break.  The kids watched movies in the evening.  One night they all headed to mutual.  made a trip to the library and later for ice cream.  They would just let me know where they where going and then back for meals.  It was awesome.  Thanks to all at the farm for letting us come hang out.   Once again we LOVED it. 

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Easter Break: The Work.....

I have tried over the years to explain the joy, peace, beauty, and pure perfection that the farm I grew up on is to me.  I sincerely hope everyone feels that way about their childhood home. But I am not articulate enough to express what it means to me.  And what my family means to me.  Easter break was wonderful.

All these granddaughters get in and help all the time. It is so awesome.  They have been doing it for so long that a few time Nicole and I had no job.  The girls just took over.
They got the tramp out and helped Grandpa set it up.

When Natalie and I where younger we loved to get all dressed up in my Dad's work clothes.  The uglier the better, to work on the farm.  Isn't this one of the best looking work crews you have ever seen!??!!

Levi was already out working and missed being in the picture.

They moved a lot of wood.  Took them and hour and half.  Half hour ahead of the schedule Grandpa thought.

They where all so dirty from the charred wood.  Blake worked with Levi and Grandpa for a couple days straight.  At first he was a little complainy about it, but after he was so proud of what he could do.  He thought it was amazing how great he slept also.  I told him hard work and fresh air over a blue screen make a big difference. 

My kids loved being out there.  I walked every day with my mom.  We had some good chats. Some good food.  I love that the teenagers can just take off and go get ice cream, or whatever, if they feel like it.  It is so relaxing and peaceful.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Early Morning Adventure

Dave and I went to check cows early this morning.  Him and Jared are taking turns and it was Dave's turn.  While checking we discovered a new little calf.  As we went back to get all the things we needed we picked up Blake and Emery.  These two kids are the early risers of all the kids.

(I think this would have been a really cool picture if it wasn't fuzzy)
We drove back out, and nabbed the calf.  Got it in to the trailer and proceeded to tag it.  The mother was very protective.  I ended up in the trailer as well, she was making me so nervous.

Then the tailgate wouldn't stay up and she tried to climb in a few times.  Blake and Emery handed Dave things and I kept the mom away.

As soon as we let the calf out the mother was fine.  Just as we thought it would be.  I wish I could have gotten a better picture. But I was jumping back and forth and trying to keep the cows away.

It was a beautiful morning.  I am so glad the kids get to experience this stuff.  Blake and Emery then helped us move a fence.  That took awhile.  We went up to a birthday party for Cadence.  It was nice to see everyone from the Puzey side.  It's been a while.  Good company, good food.  When we got back Leah went and fed with Dave and found a short in the electric fence.  They kids where all good helpers.  Stayed with us in the wind and dust.  In the morning and the evening. Cora is going to go with Dave sometime and get some good pictures for her photography class.  I'm sure those ones will be spectacular. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy 13th Leah

This year Leah's birthday fell on a Sunday.  I had wanted to fill her room with balloons and hang them from the door, but the girls took forever to go to sleep.  Dave got up at 4 to put them up for me. She was very surprised. 

We opened presents, then ate breakfast.  Dave and I went to shovel off the snow so it wouldn't wreck the floor boards.  Can't wait till we get a roof on, but the guy still hasn't come.  We even left him a few messages.

Our bishop has asked that we all attend Sunday morning session at the church.  After we shovelled we quickly got dressed and went into the church.  It was another great session.  After, we left very quickly.  Later that night when the bishop called to wish Leah happy birthday he said he had tried to catch her at church but we left to fast.  :)  We where meeting a girl at her house before she took off for the airport.  She had sent me a text saying she was cleaning her closet and had some dresses if the girls wanted them.  We picked them up and then home for dinner.  Leah's requested birthday dinner was: spaghetti (no surprise there), honey almond green beans, Caesar salad (I make my own dressing and the family can't seem to get enough lately), Grandma Smith's bread sticks, and a DQ cake.  

I kept forgetting to get the bread stick recipe, so Leah asked if Grandma could make them for her while we where out there this week.  We have sent the request along.  :)  I really wanted to try making my own ice cream cake.  I was sure that with Mandy's Hot Fudge sauce, it would be way better than DQ.  After a lot of negotiation, Leah finally said OK if I made cookie dough ice cream cake.  Four stores later I still could not find cookie dough ice cream.  So it ended up being cookie and cream.  Which I thought she would be OK with since it was what she originally wanted, but she was still a little disappointed.  We all agreed it was much tastier than DQ tho. 

We cleaned up and got ready for the final session of conference.  It kept stalling on us and the two hour session took two and a half hours.  It was getting a little annoying, but they where all good talks and I am glad we stuck it out.  The kids are going to be saying, "Alas, what shall we do?" forever now.  I think it was from Elder Neil L. Anderson.  Not sure.  But they thought it was hilarious.  Very ho hum response for a big problem.  After the session we sat around doing nothing really,  chatting, playing games, vegging, then snacking.  Pinterest won't let you have an account until you are 13.  We set up Leah's for her and got her off mine.  We decided to watch a movie.  After the movie Grandma got home and gave Leah the Legend book series.  She was pretty pumped about that.  Then off to bed.  A low key day, just like we like them, but Leah still said it was  a great birthday.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Weekend

So far we have had a great Easter. Friday I took the kids to town.  We had started out planning to go to the open gym (a gymnastics center that you can just drop in to and use all their equipment, my kids love it ) as part of Leah's birthday present and them get Cora some jeans.  Next we were going to use Leah's Tony Roma's free dinner, then off to the temple for drop in baptisms.  I totally checked times before we left, but I guess I read wrong.  The open gym was not open on Good Friday, and Leah was not able to do baptisms.  We still had a great day.  Finally after many stores we got Cora some jeans, Blake a sweater and Leah some T-Shirts.   All 50% off at every store.  I didn't even think of Good Friday sales.  We lucked out. We then had a great lunch.  I had put a ham in before leaving in the morning.

When we got back, Dave shot the guns with the kids.  We made sure they stopped and put them straight up ever time a vehicle was even close and we had to stop and wait for the dogs a few times.  But we wanted everyone to be safe.  

We then came in and made Easter Bonnets to decorate for our dinner. 

It was such a good dinner.  Ham with a brown sugar and pineapple glaze, Tish's potatoes, raspberry Jell-O, and steamed carrots. Dave always thinks I'm a little crazy taking pictures of our food, but I love other people's.  It gives me ideas and it also helps me to remember meals I loved when I get my book back.

The next morning was General Conference.  We had a quick breakfast.  I did a quick run.  The kids did a fast clean-up and then we all sat down.  Once again it was so good.  It seemed like so many talks where on family and how to help our kids gain their own witness and testimony.  It was wonderful.  I can't wait to go back and read Elder Wilford W. Andersen's with a highlighter.  His was really great.  Well they all where.  Can't wait for tomorrows.  Our snacks where Starbursts and honey peanuts.  Before I could even say anything, Dave told all the kids to save their wrappers.  He knows me too well. :)

I finished two and will do another tomorrow.  They need to eat some more Starbursts first.  Everyone went out and did some more shooting before lunch.  I had made up a treasure hunt and when they came back in they did it.  I lost one things of Nerds tho.  I simple can not remember where it was.  Poor Leah didn't get hers.  I hope they turn up some time.

I made these 'carrots' a few days ago.  They where really fun.  I think I will have to do it again next year. 

After the second sessions it had started to rain.  Cora and Dave ran to the house to put the tools away.  Dave finished cleaning the garage, and then quickly got ready for the Priesthood session.  I did some prep for Leah's birthday dinner tomorrow and folded the laundry.  Kids are watching a movie and we are all ready for Sunday session of General Conference.  I love the inspiration and wonderful messages we get from our prophet and apostles.  They truly are men of God.  We had wanted to go down for a session and stay with Taylor.  I wanted to met his little girl who is almost a year and I still haven't seen.  It turned out that Dave could not get off work and his Saturday's are precious right now as we try to get this house built.  Too bad, I would have loved to have spent some time with them.  Looking forward to continuing tomorrow.  I read this thing that asked when was the first time you saw all four General Conference sessions.  So the kids wanted to know how old they where.  Cora was 6 months.  She was born right after the October session.  Leah was one day old.  She is my General Conference baby.  Blake was two months.  Those younger years where not easy and sometimes not at all pleasant.  But Dave and I agreed that we wanted them to know from the beginning how important this was.  Now they enjoy it and so do we.  I love gathering my kids around and listening to words Jesus Christ wants us to hear.  Such special moments. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

All-Star & a bit more.

I got a text late Monday nigh,t  from Cora's basketball coach, asking if Cora could play in the league all-star game the next night.  It was quite a drive to the game.  After talking it over, Dave and I got everything arrange so we could get her there.  I also had YW's that night and wasn't able to go. But decided this was a great opportunity for her and we wanted her to be able to play.  I packed them dinner, picked her up early from school, and ran her down to meet Dave at his work.  He then took her the rest of the way to the game and I got the other two kids feed and we went to YW's. Cora really, really wanted to play again.  Said she couldn't wait to just run.  She was, however, pretty nervous. Some of the other girls told her that she was not the first choice.  I guess all the grade 12's are in Europe for the school trip, and the coach even ask one girl that sat out the entire season with an 'injury' to play.  (Really she didn't want to play with a team that wasn't doing well) This other girl is one of the coach's three favorites, and very negative.  I personally think she should have been kicked out months ago.  Anyway, Cora was thinking she couldn't do it, wouldn't be able to play with the other girls.  But of course she did great.  Dave said she had a lot of assists and some shots up no basktets.  Handled the ball well.  Just needed to work on some of her passing.  Sometimes got in a tight spot and didn't know how to get out.  He gave her a few pointers after the game.  Of course after telling her all the good things she had done first. :)
(Yeah, she decided to grow her hair out.  Hates this stage)

She came home so excited.  Cora said the coach was so good, talked to them the whole game, gave directions, could see what was and wasn't working.  In four years of basketball she has never had that, except at basketball camp.   Isn't that sad.  She could not believe the difference a little guidance made.  She loved every minute of it and the team she was on won.  So even tho according to the coach she was not first choice, she still had the chance and more than proved herself.  Cora rocked it. She said it was a great way to end the season.

Blake made himself a little chair the other day.  He was most upset about not shooting the guns for FHE.  We where supposed to do it last week, then it snowed so the gophers were not out, and this week we really needed to get these walls up.  So he did come over with us, but he spent most of the time pouting, digging, and building this chair.

But he was with us.  I guess that counts for something.  And look he even smiled in the end.  He even helped after he happied up. Guess he just needed to ride it out and be angry for a bit.

Loved watching the General Women's Broadcast with my girls.  I enjoy hanging out with all my kids.  Man I lucked out with some great kids.
Wish I could remember what part this was.

Dave checking out the tramp.  The kids wanted him to jump, but he was sure all the springs would go flying if he did.  Reminiscent of years ago when Jared tried to show us his back flip.  Still a great story.