Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seriously, So Cute

I find myself saying these words to my baby ALL DAY LONG. My baby is seriously SO CUTE! In a life of major chaos (aka five kids), Eli is my anchor through the day. He helps me remember to just be happy. He helps me remember how much I love all of my children. (It helps that he can't talk back yet, and that he never has to reminded to get working on his homework!)

I pick him up, or just get close enough for him to see me, and his face lights up and the whole room lights up with happiness. His smile is so contageous.
When he smiles, everything around me seems to slow down. The business of everyday life changes to a moment worth savoring, and the stress of the previous moments just slips away. I realize that my children are the most important task at hand, and that there really isn't anything else I want to be spending my time on. I understand the innocence of my children and want to help fix the little mistakes that happen intead of being upset with them or wanting to hand out punnishments. Eli, you have saved your siblings from the wrath of Mom more than once!
I have delayed putting pictures of him on my blog because my humble photography skills just can't do his cuteness justice! Here he is, three months old. My darling little boy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A New President

Well, kids are smarter these days. And informed. We don't talk much about politics at our house (it makes me break out into a rash), so our kids haven't been exposed to much of it. Or so I thought. I went to vote early last week, and proudly wore my "I VOTED" sticker home. The kids don't miss a thing. Here's how one conversation went.

Jackson: Mom, why are you wearing that sticker?
Me: I voted today.
Jackson: Why?
Me: It's time to elect a new president. Of the United States. (I felt I needed to add this b/c in our house, a reference to "president" could be the president of the Church - the prophet.)
Jackson: (with a worried look) Why?? Did President Bushman die?!

On Election day, the questions and comments continued. I'm sad that I didn't write them all down cuz they were hilarious. Jordan was pretty excited about the whole thing.

Jordan: I'll be 11 next time we vote for a president.

The morning after elections, Jordan practically pops out of bed with his question:

Jordan: Who won???
Me: Obama.
Jordan: How do you know?
Me: (I show him the newspaper.)
Jordan: Oh, man! I wanted the OTHER guy!
Jackson: Me too! I wanted John McCain.
Me: You guys know who they are?
Jordan: Yeah. Most of the class wanted the other guy.

Then at dinner:

Jackson: Dad, Matthew said Obama wants EVERY day to be a school day except Sunday. Is that true?
Cannon: No. (It takes a minute to convince all the kids that they will NOT be going to school on Saturdays any time soon. Apparently, they had been pretty worried about this.)
Jackson: Tatum said Obama doesn't care if you kill babies. Is that true?
Cannon: (His eyes are popping out of head, and he sputters as he tries to come up with an answer! He never really came up with one. I filled in.)

Hmm. I think the boys are growing up fast. I'm going to have to start answering the hard questions!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Still Two

Don't you love two-year-olds? That is, when they're not driving you CRAZY! Of course, I'm always patient with Tanner. Oh, I do try, anyway!

I love his talking now. He is a little chatterbox and is so good at communicating with us. He has so much to say, but it is very difficult to understand most of it. I've got a pretty good handle on Tanner-ese, but I usually have to do the translating for other people. It's so cute when we can't understand what he's saying; he is confident that he knows what he's talking about and patiently repeats himself (over and over) until we understand him. We will guess what he's saying and he responds with a clipped, "no" or, "yeah" or,"YES!"

Last week, it took me three days to figure out that he had a new phrase for "lunch time." It didn't sound ANYTHING like "lunch time!" So I worked with him to make at least one or two of the right sounds so that we can tell what it is he's trying to say. He's adamant, though - he won't change his dubious pronunciation. I took a video:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mantua SPOOKTACULAR 5K and 1K Runs

My cute, strong, athletic hubby took THIRD place in the Mantua (man too AY) halloween run on Saturday. See the three fingers? =) He ran his race while the kids and I waited, then he took the three oldest kids to run a 1K. They are all so FAST. At least, that's what Tanner kept telling me. Here they are stretching.

Here is cute Jordan. He managed to even give me a good wave as he sped past Tanner and I.

Here is Jackson as he whizzed past.

Look at him. Can you believe we didn't let Tanner run too?? What were we thinking? He managed to be a very supportive spectator once he stopped crying about being left behind. He told me how FAST they all were.

Here's Sydney showing off her prize. The kids each came home with a big Halloween tote, a whole box of Lofthouse cookies (yum), a big ol' gatorade, and some halloween candy. Score.

We like this tradition. Mantua is just over the mountain from us - very close. We'll be there next year!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

GFCF Halloween!

This time of year is so stressful for moms of kids with food "issues." Everywhere you turn, someone is trying to give your kids something yummy to eat. Our society is so FOOD centered, that when someone is trying to make a child happy the first thing they think to do is give them cookies or candy. So sad. Not only does this make my kids crazy, but they usually can't have the food that other people give them anyway, because they can't have gluten or casein (dairy). We are VERY strict with Jackson and Jordan -- there is a zero tolerance level for their dietary restrictions. Tanner is on is way to being free of food allergies (he can now eat eggs and dairy when they are an ingredient in baked foods - and he has no problem with gluten), and Sydney is proud to be able to eat anything she wants (as long as her grumpy mom lets her!)

Usually at Halloween time I scour the isles at the store to see what I could buy for my kids, then don't buy much at all because even if they CAN eat it, that doesn't mean they SHOULD. I buy enough so that they can have substitutes for the treats kids are eating at their school parties. Then for trick-or-treating, I buy something non-edible. For the last couple of years we passed out glow bracelets. Way fun. Then when the kids went trick-or-treating, they brought home all their goodies, I sorted it with them and told them what they were allowed to eat based on their dietary restrictions. They got to eat a bunch before going to bed, and save a little in a baggie to put in lunch boxes for a week or so. Then Halloween candy was done! I saved all the good stuff (candy bars!!) and ate it myself over the next few weeks.

THIS year, I gave in and bought real candy. But all of it is GFCF (gluten-free, casein-free). And I'm pretty disappointed that I won't be able to confiscate the chocolate for myself this year. As a nursing mommy, I am on a no dairy diet myself!!

So here is my list of GFCF candy that everyone in our family can eat. Except Eli, of course. But he gets his later. . .

Starburst Fruit Chews - The original fruit chews, others may or may not be GFCF.
Skittles - same as above. both Starburst and Skittles have cream varieties that are not CF.
Lollipops - DumDums and Charms are GFCF, as are most lollipops that do not have a cream component in them. Tootsie Pops are a definite no no here!!!
Sweet Tarts
Smarties - Note that the Smarties necklaces reportedly contain gluten.
NECCO Wafers
Jolly Rancher Hard Candy
Bottle Caps
Pixy Sticks

Gum - Double-Bubble, Wrigleys, Trident (NOTE: read labels and watch out for Recaldent, a casein derivative, in some gums)
Mike and Ike
Haribo Gummy Bears

Jelly Beans - Starburst, SOME Jelly Belly, Jolly Rancher, Mars
ACT II Popcorn Balls
Mary Jane's
Candy Corn and Candy Pumpkin - most of these are GFCF, but we have seen some that are not.

Now, take a look at this list. It's all sugar! My kids will be crazy for a while.

Hey here's an opportunity for one of you: come hang out with us on halloween, and you could win the grand prize of leftover chocolate!

Thanks to THOMAS (http://gfcfexperience.blogspot.com/) for listing GFCF halloween candy. See his blog for other GFCF entries and some yummy recipes!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


What a fun tag from Channing. It's nice to get insight into the brains of those kiddos.

1. What does mom always say to you?
Jackson: After I get something out in my room I should put it away.
Jordan: I love you?
Sydney: I don't know.

2. What makes mom happy?
Jackson: If I obey her.
Jordan: When I do what you tell me to do.
Sydney: My smile.

3. What makes mom sad?
Jackson: If I don't obey her.
Jordan: When I don't listen.
Sydney: When I don't hurry.

4. How does mom make you laugh?
Jackson: If she tells me a joke.
Jordan: When you tickle me.
Sydney: I don't know.

5. How old is mom?
Jackson: Hmm. Uh, 32?
Jordan: Hmm. 32.
Sydney: Uh, hmm. 31.

6. How tall is mom?
Jackson: I don't know.
Jordan: 30 inches.
Sydney: I don't know.

7. What does mom like to do?
Jackson: I don't know.
Jordan: Read books and write on the computer.
Sydney: She likes to be happy.

8. What is mom's job?
Jackson: To be a mom.
Jordan: Taking care of Tanner and Eli
Sydney: To stay home and take care of Eli.

9. What is mom's favorite food?
Jackson: Steak.
Jordan: I know what it tastes like, but I can't remember what it's called. It's brown. Oh! It's steak!
Sydney: Burritos.

10. How do you know your mom loves you?
Jackson: Because she does nice things.
Jordan: Because she hugs me sometimes.
Sydney: Because you hug me and kiss me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

General Conference Activity Packets

General conference time -- yay! I love that in Utah you can just turn on the TV to watch conference. Problem is, we live on a mountainside and can't get any TV reception! Well, I also love that we can watch conference on the internet! Right in our own living room. Anybody have ideas on how to get the volume higher on my laptop? I can't figure out how to attach speakers. . .

Last conference we printed out these activity packets for the kids and they LOVED them. Everyone was so reverent that I actually was able to LISTEN. =) Try them out!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The SECOND First Day of School

Sydney is a little smartie. We have all known that for a while. She spent the summer reading chapter books. She says Jordan taught her how to read, but she taught herself how to read chapter books! When I need a break from little toddler Tanner, I tell him to take a book to Sydney, and she reads to him. She'll keep reading to him until he runs out of books to bring her!

Sydney loves school. She came home from the first day of kindergarten just glowing. She loves her teacher, her new friends, the bus - all of it. Around the third day of school I asked her a question, and her answer cracked me up.

"Did you learn anything today?"

"Yeah. We learned a new letter. But I already knew it."

"What letter did you learn?"

"Little m." Sigh.

I think she was disappointed that there were no new letters to be learned in kindergarten. Too bad they use the same alphabet in kindergarten that they use in preschool! 26 letters just isn't enough for Sydney.

Anyway, after a couple of weeks of research, meetings, testing (which, of course, she loved), and pondering, we moved her up to first grade. She is now in Mrs. Christensen's class (which, again, she is loving!)

Tanner and Sydney loved the whole first-day-of-school-photo-session thing all over again. This time, I told Tanner ahead of time that he was NOT getting on the bus. Things were much smoother this time around.

Another cool thing about first grade -- you get to eat lunch AT SCHOOL! Sydney was thrilled. I got a bill from the cafeteria. But Sydney takes her lunch! Apparently someone showed her the a la carte section. She's been loving it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

How to be popular

All you have to do (at least, if you're in second grade) is break your arm, get a cast, and let everyone sign it. For two days in a row now, we've had neighborhood girls knocking on our door wanting to tell Jackson how sorry they are that he broke his arm, and, of course, wanting to sign his cast.

Jackson broke his right arm when he fell down at recess a couple of days ago. He was soooo brave and tough about the whole thing. I probably wouldn't have taken him right in to see the doctor if I hadn't noticed his forearm sagging a bit strangely, because he didn't complain AT ALL. When the doctor examined his arm before taking x-rays, he asked Jackson to show him where it hurt, and Jackson pointed to where the doctor was holding his arm; the break was no where near there. Befor visiting the doctor, he calmly waited a couple of hours at home, ate lunch, did his homewrk with his left hand, and (see picture) enjoyed his time waiting at the doctor's office because he got to read.

Here he is waiting to get the x-ray. When I got out the camera, he said, "Do I have to smile?" Heh-heh. He was a good sport. He didn't even complain when the x-ray tech made him move his arm around to different angles for the shot. Did this NOT hurt or something??

Apparently, the break was a bit too much for our family practice doctor to handle, so he sent us next door to the orthopedic clinic to see a member of our former bishopric, Dr. Sumko.

On the left is the first set of x-rays. Even I can see THIS broken bone! On the right is the second set of x-rays, taken after the cast was put on. The doctor put the cast on, then molded the cast and set the bone at the same time. Ouch! He asked Jackson if he wanted a shot first so it wouldn't hurt so much, but Jackson declined. And he didn't even flinch when the doctor set the bone!!!! He must be super-human. Perhaps you can see in the second set of films that the bone didn't get set quite all the way. So we had to take off the first cast and try again.
This time when I got out the camera, Jackson decided he WANTED to smile for me. The thing is, while Jackson is smiling for the camera, the doctor is TOTURING Jackson by pressing on his break to set it (for the second time). Jackson hardly seems to notice pain, I guess. Here's the strange part. You know those little saws they use to cut off the cast? When the doctor used that on the first cast, Jackson fell apart and all but screamed in agony. But as far as I can tell, the saw never even touched his skin.

So here is cute Jackson with his new pal whose name is Slim. Slim matches the cast and likes to eat candy from doctors' offices.

And Jordan just keeps saying, "I wish I had a cast!"

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blessing Day

This Sunday we blessed Eli. We had a lot of family in town. =) Here is Eli with Grandpa Jon. Grandma Laree is watching with love from above.
Eli with Grandma and Grandpa Neslen

Tanner LOVES his Grandpas and manages to be held by them whenever they are around. Of course, he loves sunglasses too!

We managed to finally get a picture of our family together. That's kinda rough. In this picture, Tanner is holding a chunk of Jackson's hair, and Jackson about to start screaming. Jordan is laughing about something, and Mom is wishing we had done this BEFORE afternoon church.

Tanner always asks to, "hoad Ee-eye!"

Beautiful new blanket, compliments of Rynell. Thank you, Rynell!! You have a mean crochet stitch! (that means it's beautiful, btw)

Peach Days

I couldn't resist posting some of these pictures!

I'm getting behind! First day of School

The twins have made it to SECOND grade! Wahoo! That means a new school, and they ride the bus with the big kids. They are still in separate classes, but they ride the bus together, eat lunch together, and play outside together. Being a twin definitely has its advantages.

Sydney is in KINDERGARTEN!! My girl is all grown up! She's been ready to go to school for like three years now! She's been standing out at the bus stop since the boys started school, so sometimes I forget that she's never been able to actually RIDE the bus. She is overjoyed to be going to school! Sometimes she is sad that she still doesn't have much homework.

Tanner insisted on coming out to the bus stop too, and he usually wears his backpack when he comes. Somehow, I didn't realize on the first day that he thought HE was going to school too! He was already on the bus before I realized what was happening! I was still recovering from a c-section, so I had a hard time catching up with him and getting him off the bus. He talks about the big kids and the bus all day long now, and plays with his toy bus a lot. Only three more years to go. . .

Monday, September 15, 2008

Labor Day Get-Away

So, I'm a little behind posting. I don't think I should even use the excuse that I just had a baby. That's just how I work. A little behind. Anyway, with a brand new baby over the Labor Day weekend, I opted out of our family tradition of CAMPING. Undaunted, Cannon carried on without me and took four kids up to the Uintahs for some good ol' outdoor fun. They planned to camp from Friday to Monday, but since it rained and SNOWED, they decided it might actually be more fun at home for the last day and a half. I was happy to have them back.

Here is the happy clan packed into the van. Look how clean everyone (and everything!) is.

One of the MUSTS of any outdoor fun. Water. The muddier, the better.

At least we remembered the backpack for this hike. At 35 pounds, Tanner gave Cannon quite a workout!

What can I say?! CUTE!!!

And now they return. Tired and dirty. Notice the tent which is just thrown in there. Wet. We had 45 minutes to unload and bathe and feed the gang before church. Try that trick sometime.

Eli and I enjoyed the quiet weekend. But we were glad for the company when everyone came home. Next year, we'll be there.

What did your family do for the holiday?