Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fall and Winter ;-)

My poor neglected blog! When I neglect my blog for a while, I feel a need to write a catch-up post, so here it is!  This is fall and winter and some spring.  I'll have to write one more to catch up on the rest of spring since we did some pretty fun things.

I'm not sure what has happened since I last wrote about our family so I'll just give an update of the latest on each family member.

Gem is a sweet baby who is always ready to reward you with a smile when you look his way.  He is well travelled for his young life.  We realized the other day that we took him to Yellowstone last fall, to Tulsa to visit family on Christmas break, to California for a family vacation last month, and with me to Florida this month.  He's been in 12 states in his almost 12 months of life. He has recently learned to crawl up and down the stairs so we are often on the lookout.  He loves to crawl in the pantry and try to suck on the broom, to empty the drawers in the kitchen and bathroom (he has a favorite drawer in the kitchen that he empties and then sits inside), to point, to stick his fingers into small holes (like your eyes and nose), and to climb.  He climbs everything in his way. 

Enjoying a reading of Pollyanna
Gem with his grandma (Rock's mom) at the family Christmas party

Ray loves eating treats at Grandma's house.
Ray is finally potty-trained (I've been so busy that it had taken me a while!)  He is incredibly adorable.  He is one of those toddlers that just makes cute remarks and makes cute faces and does cute things all of the time.  "Cute" is the best word to describe him.  He knows it and uses it to his advantage.  He'll say things such as "My feetsies" when he wants me to help him cover his feet with his blanket, or "wash my handsies?" when he has sticky hands.  He loves to cuddle when he's tired, to play outside with his siblings and neighbors, to go on walks in the stroller, and to eat "treats".  
Ray broke his leg playing on a hill at a park.  He enjoyed the attention, but was glad to have his cast off.  A marble slipped out of it when they cut it off.  He had a mark from the marble for months!

Opening a Christmas present
Being a bad guy

Bazinks is finally reading (again, it took me a while to teach him - mostly because he wasn't that interested until a few months ago, but also because we've been busy).  He is driven by fairness and freedom.  He really dislikes being told what to do, but is learning the value of obedience in order to gain true freedom (aren't we all!). He is concerned that people be treated fairly and watches out for his siblings (and himself) that things are done fairly.  He is known for leaving random treats on people's pillows (he loves to share).  He is willing to do anything for you if he feels loved and that he is choosing it.  He really dislikes being made fun of or looking silly (unless he means to be).  I think we are learning a lot from each other.  He loves riding bikes and scooters with his friend Emily (he surprised us one day when he picked up a bike and started riding it even though he had never tried it before).
Looking through the rails at the Tulsa Zoo
Rest stop on our way to Tulsa (my dad was nice enough to drive us there because Rock had to work).

He just turned six.  We celebrated his birthday by going to "Get Air" - it's a trampoline place in Kaysville.  The kids love it, and so do I.  They have comfy couches to sit on and watch the children and the kids are so active the whole time.  We went with his cousins and aunt who just left us for Georgia :-(

Waking up to "Happy Birthday" song
Everyone watching Bazinks open his presents in the morning
Birthday cake - I forgot to buy candles (yes, those are matches).
Classic "Pretend you're blowing out the candles because I didn't take the picture on time" shot.

Another party at grandma's:
Get Air:
 Gem dancing at Get Air:

Bazinks has also enjoyed being in choir this year.  Here are a couple of songs in which he prefomed.  He  didn't dare sing a solo so these are just some that he sung in. The first one is "All I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth" at the Family History Center.  The second one is "Drummer Boy" at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building.  On the second one, you can also watch Ray being friendly as you listen:

Little Miss is a reading queen.  I can not find enough quality books to keep her happy.  She just re-reads the ones we have until I can find another good one.  She understands a lot of the symbolism and deeper meaning too (especially when she reads them twice or thrice).  She was sick a few weeks ago so she picked up Wind in the Willows in the morning and finished it that evening.  This morning she re-read Alice in Wonderland and Stewart Little.  Some of her favorite books to read are The Secret Garden, The Hobbit, Heidi, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Mysterious Benedict Society, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Wizard of Oz series.

She is also incredibly nurturing.  If there is a little child around she will take him by the hand and play with him and show him around.  When Gem wakes up from his nap, she will often ask, "Can I go get Gem?!" It's also normal to hear her say, "Can I watch Gem for you?", "Can I get him dressed?" "Can I hold him for you?" She has even asked if she can change his diaper.  She is so patient with Ray even when he's mean and tries to cheer him up when he is grumpy.  

She is so loving and kind.  If anyone is sad, she will feel sad with them and will often have tears in her eyes just from empathy.  She is a cuddle bug and is so happy to just snuggle. 

Decorating Gingerbread houses at our friend's house

Elephants at Tulsa Zoo
With her cousin at the Tulsa Aquarium
She has a beautiful singing voice.  We had a talent show for activity days and she sung "Tomorrow" from Annie by herself with no music.  She was so nervous, but she sounded beautiful (of course I didn't think to record her at the time).  Here are a couple of her solos at recent performances (fastforward to 1:06 to get to her solo on the first one)
The sound is so bad on this next one! I wish I had done a better job. She sings second.

She recently started piano lessons.  She had started them before, but found she was not ready to commit to consistent practice, but she has decided to try again and she's doing well.

She also enjoys dressing up (or I should say "getting dressed up" by others):

Bud is my little scientist. He is so curious about the world.  He explores and examines bugs, birds, animals, rocks, plants, stars, planets.  It is so fun to be around his inquisitive personality.  He makes the most ordinary things interesting.  He got a telescope for Christmas and has read several astronomy textbooks and books about astronomers and astronauts.  We can go look at the night sky and he'll point out the planets and constellations to me.  He is also an avid reader and has recently re-read The Lord of the Rings trilogy (he says he understood it much better this time around) and is half way through The Similarion (I tried reading it once, but it was too hard for me).  He keeps telling me of the deep symbolism in the book, how it relates to the war in heaven and the plan of salvation.  I might just try reading it again.  He likes to tease his siblings.  He thinks he's having fun with them, but they don't feel the same way.  He does want to be good, though, and often sets the goal that he'll stop teasing.  Often, though, he just can't seem to help himself :-)  He is almost done with The Book of Mormon for the second time and I love hearing him tell me of the things he is learning from it.  When he is worried or has a problem, he often thinks to pray for help.  He's an incredible young man.

Waking up on his birthday morning - turning 10! We celebrated by going to "Get Air" with the family and one of his friends.
Gem watching the opening of presents

Laughing at the silly putty he got

Reading a sweet card from Little Miss
Feeding the sting rays at Tulsa aquarium
Feeding the turtles
He has enjoyed being in a couple of plays.  He was the captain in Twelfth Night and the shipmaster in The Tempest.  He enjoys acting and is good at it since he has no problems getting into character and pretending.  He also has an incredible singing voice.  Here he is with Spice soloing in What Child is This? Spice sings first, then the choir, then Bud sings.
Here's another pretty song they both sung in at the Family History Center (the sound is bad at the beginning, but it gets better). No solos, but it was pretty.
Spice is becoming such an amazing young lady.  She tries so hard to be good and can be hard on herself when she falls short, but she is developing a close relationship with her Heavenly Father and I'm sure she will come to understand his grace, love, mercy and long-suffering more and more as she keeps messing up and trying again.  She has been in a youth group (called Vanguard) that I've mentioned before and has made some really good friends that inspire her and accept her.  She just got elected as the student body president for next year.  She's excited for the opportunity.  I have really enjoyed watching her testimony and talents grow as she challenges herself to study and learn.  She is still very much into art.  She draws and doodles often.  She made me a sweet picture of a bear for Mother's Day with the words "Thank-you for all of the bear hugs you give me when I'm sad ".  She drew a cougar for her dad for his birthday.

 I really like this picture she drew of her dog with markers.

Spice also has a very pretty singing voice, but she gets so nervous in front of people that it's often shaky at the performances which drives her crazy.  I think that will just take care of itself as she keeps at it.  She recently gave a speech in her speech class about art which I really enjoyed listening to since it expresses her passion on the subject:

Here she is soloing in "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".  She sings second. Bud sings right after she does.

She turned 12 in the fall and is liking the Young Women's Program. 
Reading birthday cards on her birthday morning.

Opening presents.  She mostly just wanted clothes ;-)

She had a Vanguard activity on her birthday so we invited her friends over for hot dogs and birthday cake.

She is so sweet and helpful with her siblings.  They love her so much.  I am so grateful that they have such a great example for an older sister.

Fiddler on the roof medley (no solos, but wanted to remember it):

Me: I'm having such a good time learning and growing with my children.  I sometimes feel that I am too blessed.  Lately I'm learning to focus on the most important things and really be with my children when I am around them (I tend to live in my head at times as I plan and think of ideas).  I have done well this week and it feels so freeing.  It's also getting easier to set aside things of less worth (but sometimes more mentally stimulating) to do later, when the time is right. I feel so much clarity and peace as I've been making this effort.  It helps me enjoy and cherish the little moments and find so much joy in the seemingly mundane things around me.  I am seeing more and more that when I exercise faith in doing something the I know I should, but looks like it won't bring me that much happiness at the moment (like weeding with the kids for example), it inevitably it always brings me much more happiness than I could have anticipated

Bill: Bill's been reading a lot on his new Nook lately.  He just finished Count of Monte Cristo and is in the middle of Brothers Karamasov. He's been riding his bike, providing for his family, and taking the kids camping and fishing.   He is a very good man and I feel so blessed to have him in my life

Now, I better go think of something to make for dinner.  If you're still reading this post, you must really love us :-)  I'll try to write a spring catch-up post soon and then maybe I can get to some of my latest parenting experiments ;-)