Sunday, September 27, 2015

Slideshows from Uncle's Funeral

Now we shall see if the slide shows will work!

Pictures at the grave side:

And then the luncheon afterward:

Sunday Afternoon Excitement

When you are cooking rice, and you put the rice cooker on the stove, and you turn the stove on - even on accident - exciting things happen!

We felt very, very protected. This could easily have been a fire, and possibly a large one. We're especially grateful to all of our neighbors who loaned us fans and who didn't mind our children coming over while we dealt the the toxic fumes.

Also, I'm grateful that the smell has dissipated enough that we dare sleep in our own beds tonight. This could have been much worse, and much more difficult in many ways, and I'm so grateful that it wasn't!

Blood Moon Pictures

None of our pictures came out as perfectly as I'd like, but when you consider that we are taking pictures of the moon, it becomes pretty realistic to not be able to focus with absolute clarity with the camera we have. As it was, it was nice to be out there together as a family and enjoy ice cream while watching the blood moon.

A few clouds passed by

Before I figured out how to turn on the delay, every shot I took was blurred by the camera shake from me pushing the button. Here, I tried to deliberately make that effect bigger, and this was the result.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I got to cook!

(I'm currently going back and completing drafts of blog entries I started previously. This one was dated June 19, and I'd made it all the way to half way through the first sentence!)

During family council each week, we have been assigning each of the older kids to cook one night. They also do dishes twice... though frequently something happens to change those plans (like an unexpected mid-week change of schedule). Tux Man and I each usually cook twice, plus we have a leftovers night and a date night, and at that point we're up to eight "nights" in the week, but since we also eat lunch on weekends... somehow there are still nights we struggle to pull dinner together, but having everyone contribute certainly helps. 

Anyway, on the weeks when I only cook once or twice, I find I have far more energy - mostly emotional energy - to try new recipes. Also, it helped tremendously to have the older kids home during the summer because they played with the babies while I was cooking. 

As a result, I have discovered the pleasure of cooking. I enjoyed baking in high school, but I've always really struggled with dinner. And, this summer, there were several times when I found myself thinking, I got to cook dinner! It was a nice change.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


On July 30, I started a blog entry entitled "Busy". The title was as far as I got.

I felt that we were incredibly busy this summer. Actually, I stayed home a lot, and I took an online photography course, but I think everyone else was very, very busy.

In July Tux Man went to 11-year-old scout camp for three days before heading to Bear Lake Aquatic Camp. Turtle had girls camp and marching band, and Snuggle Puppy had Bear Lake Aquatic Camp. In August Turtle and Tux Man had Pioneer Trek, and Snuggle Puppy had STEM Camp and then Math Camp. In between we had lots of people stay with us - one week I counted over a dozen - and a family reunion with lots of extended family.

Now that school has started again, Turtle is continuing color guard, a out-of-school writing class, a singing-Disney-songs after school club, Young Women's (her youth group at church), and her gaming group on Saturday afternoons. (It may be time for her to choose between some of those activities....) Snuggle Puppy has Scouts/Young Men's (his youth group at church) and cello lessons, and was choosing between an after school computer programming class with his two best friends, ballroom dance lessons, and running in the election to be a student body officer. I think we've narrowed it down to just scouts, cello, and ballroom, and I'm still nervous about trying to do that much. Oh, and Snuggle Puppy also enjoys the gaming group.

I finished my "foundation level" photography course and took the advanced level as well. I haven't finished the online assignments to get the certificate from either course, and I would really like to, but the live classes were in the middle of the day when everyone was gone and even finding time to watch the recordings in the evening has been challenging. I tried to train for a triathlon, but I simply couldn't make it happen. I have also tried to keep attending the Mom-and-Me swim class at the rec center, and that sometimes happens.

Recently Tux Man has been asked to be the Scoutmaster for the troop of boys from our congregation at church. I am no longer organist; instead I now lead the music.

Part of me would like to cut way back and keep things much simpler, but I also remember being in high school and I remember all the things I did then, that I didn't have opportunities to do at any other time. That is why we choose to continue to fight our way through this busy-ness. It is hard, and there are sacrifices required. We can't all eat together again on Thursdays until October is over, and we may not be able to eat together onWednesdays (unless it is at 4:30, while driving in the truck) until December.

I'm pretty good at taking care of babies by myself (even for several days at a time with no one home at night - I got to practice that skill several times this summer) and I'm pretty good at utilizing help with babies; now I find myself needing to develop the skill of switching back and forth between the two.

I've realized that I try not to go anywhere with the babies, because I'm pretty much never on time (ever) and because sometimes it's really hard. When my older kids were little we were constantly at story time at the library and other toddler-friendly-activities around the community, so I'm starting to make an effort to go places with the babies. I also think I might make the effort to stop grocery shopping with them, or at least to stop doing it by myself with them. It's just terribly time intensive, I've begun to think my time is better spent (read: more efficiently spent) in other pursuits. Time is short, and I'm anxious to use it well. This week we made it to story time at the library, and Tux Man and I did the grocery shopping together today (Saturday). It's definitely a little nuts right now, but I guess as long as I see my kids learning and growing in the ways I feel they need to, we'll just keep charging through it.

French Journal

Snuggle Puppy needed some pictures printed for his French Journal, and the easiest way to give them to him was to post them here. Some may be repeats, but hopefully you will enjoy them anyway!

Weekend trip to Idaho

Posted By Klari to House of Penguin at 9/19/2015 03:56:00 PM

I'm not sure why this dissappeared from my blog, but I'm republishing it - with a few new pictures - and hopefully it will stick this time!

(I've removed the slide shows from this post, in hopes that making them their own post will solve the issues this post was having.)

My dad's youngest brother recently passed away, and we went to Idaho for the funeral last weekend. here are some picture highlights. Some are from my phone, some are from my camera, and I stole the one with my dad from my cousin's Facebook feed. (Thank you!)

Here I am, having just arrived. 

Here's a picture of my dad and his seven brothers displayed the funeral. It's got to be at least a decade old. If anyone can get me a digital (scanned, not cell-phone-camera-ed) copy of this, I would love it!
Because she travels so much for work, my mother had enough hotel points to get a room for her and my dad, and also a room where my sister stayed, along with me and both my babies. I picked up Aunt Philosophy from the airport on our way out of town, and she helped with the babies (read: sat in the back between them, while they cried much of the time). Here is Strawberry riding on the luggage cart as I headed back outside for a second load.

Here is Wiggles asleep in the travel bed. I slept perpendicular to him for the first half of the night, and parallel to him for the rest of the night. Between Wiggles and Strawberry I was up almost every hour, but at least the bed was quite comfortable. (Strawberry's first tooth finally broke the surface Sunday evening, around the time we got home. It's been visible for at least a couple of weeks - maybe more - and since it came through, she's gone back to only getting up once or sometimes twice a night to eat, and sleeping soundly the rest of the time. It's been pretty rough sleeping times for the last few weeks though, and I'm grateful it's finally gotten better!)

Breakfast at the hotel

Apparently I have a businessman in training.
Here is my awesome husband pushing the babies across the cemetery lawn.

One of my cousins, holding Strawberry
An awesome idea - one cousin built shelves into his van!

A truly perfect spiral on the top of the BBQ Chicken Pizza that the "Greatest Aunt" (as opposed to just a "Great Aunt") got just for me, because it's always my favorite!

And here is the Greatest Aunt holding Strawberry!

My cousin took a selfie with my parents. The expressions on my dad's face are often his favorite when a camera appears.

In high school, my father-in-law (on the right) was good friends with both my uncle (on the left) and my uncle who passed away. He came to the funeral with us. I love both of these men very much, and I really love this picture of them eating lunch together. I feel really truly blessed to be related to both of them.

We also got to visit some of my cousins in Shelley:

And Tux Man's cousins in Pocatello:
Wiggles really loved it inside this couch.

One of my cousins wrote an absolutely beautiful blog about my uncle's life, and his passing. I really love all the photos, because every person shown is my family too. Please read it at http://www.believeisaverb.com/2015/09/families-can-be-together-forever.html.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

From Daddy's cell phone camera

I couldn't resist sharing this one!

(Sorry it didn't work the first time! Tonight was the first chance I've had to fix it.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

While you were gone...

Here are a few pictures of our day today, while Turtle and Snuggle Puppy were at school and while Tux Man was at work.

Wiggles kept getting himself stuck this morning. While I was nursing Strawberry, twice he laid down across the stairs in such a way that if he moved, he would roll down the staircase. The first time I got up and rescued him; the second time, I talked him through staying still until she was done and then I tried to teach him how to grab the baluster to help himself sit up. We'll see if it worked to teach him, or if he gets stuck again. (Sorry - no picture of this one.)

Then, he crawled across my bed, through the strap of the backpack. he was completely stuck and couldn't get loose without assistance.

We went to swim class at the gym today. Strawberry actually slept through it this time, so I didn't even get her dressed in her swim suit (which is kind of okay because she absolutely hates water), but I got them both dressed for the day after class. Here, they are both laying on the changing table because I needed to get him dressed and I knew she would be very upset if I put her in the stroller again when we weren't even going anywhere.

After that, I enjoyed my online photography class. Wiggles fell asleep but Strawberry had already enjoyed a marvelous morning nap, so at no point during the day have they both been asleep at the same time. (Translation: Mommy would love to have had a nap, but she didn't get one.)

After lunch, strawberry tried Cheerios for the first time. Mostly I think she and Wiggles just had fun playing with them together and periodically trading bowls. It was especially fun to see Wiggle pick up what she had spilled, putting one back in her bowl, and then one in his mouth, and then one back in her bowl...

And, just before big kids got home from school, here is Wiggles enjoying reaching the light switch from atop his chair. He now requests assistance to get his chairs throughout the house (note that we have three sets of stairs, however short they may be) just so that he can try out every light switch we have and verify which lights are controlled by it.

Since Strawberry started solids a couple weeks ago, right after she turned 6 months, we have a plan that tonight I'll take Snuggle Puppy and Turtle to a movie and use up some gift cards we have. Hopefully it will be a really good day even at the end of it. :)

(Do you ever think that ":)" should just replace "." in some sentences?)