Marissa’s visit

First of all, would you believe that we actually went the ENTIRE time Marissa was here without getting a picture of her with any of us, until this morning right before I took her to the airport, and even then, it was only of her and me, I having just rolled out of bed… ::sigh:: PATHETIC. And she has the picture, so I can’t even post it!

We had a wonderful time with Aunt Missy here. She was such a HUGE help for me, letting me sleep in until 8:00 or 8:30, or even 9:00 one morning. She played with the boys, making awesome train tracks, building garages and big buildings out of blocks, taking them out to play in the snow, reading books to them, taking them to Safari Land,  teaching them how to talk while plugging their noses (it’s ALL about the pee-ew stinky plant!!!)… SHe also helped me send a package to Aaron for his upcoming birthday. Although I probably would have survived last week, she made last week much more pleasant for me. Marissa also helped with dishes, baths, scripture study, holding baby Olivia, putting the kids down for naps and down to bed… I really was spoiled to have her here, at the expense of her family, who went without their mom and their wife for a week. Missy– we really do “Missy” you a lot already. I want you back! Can you come?

While she was here, she also took some pictures of our family and newborn pictures of Olivia. While I direct you to her photography site, Marissa Noe Photography, she said I could post a few up on my blog for your viewing pleasure :) I am really excited to have these pictures of my growing family!

Another woman in bed with my husband…

Having a little girl has been a new experience for us in the Matthews household. Aaron doesn’t quite know what to do with himself– he goes shopping for something and comes back with a cart full of baby girl clothes (only a slight exaggeration) … To be fair, he does throw in some consolation prizes for the boys… But he never went and bought clothes for them “just because”… He’s been tempted to go back on our agreement of no babies in bed with us, because Olivia is SUCH a cuddler… and I am finding another woman in bed with my husband. I feel cheated! Of course, all of this behavior is also rather endearing and adorable, and I love to see him with his little baby girl.

But then, there was LAST NIGHT. I had fed, and fed, and FED, and changed, and changed, and CHANGED Olivia from about 6:00 p.m. until 10:30 p.m… with just 20 minutes or so in between feedings. (These “power feedings” or cluster feedings are actually pretty nice, because she does actually sleep through the night with the occasional feeding every few hours) And she was still fussy, but obviously tired. So, I handed her off to Aaron, who was in bed waiting for me to finish feeding Olivia AGAIN. She was lying on her back, and fussing, so Aaron put his hand under her, turned her on her side, and snuggled with her. INSTANTANEOUSLY, this is what happened:   (taken with my cellphone… quality is not the best…): All I am saying is that we had BETTER be moving to Shelby REAL quick, because if I can’t get my baby girl to sleep, I know who can!

Jeffery R. Holland

One of my FAVORITE General Authorities of the Church is Jeffery R. Holland. I love to listen to him speak. I finally found 2 of my most favorite talks from Elder Holland to new mission presidents. You can download them then burn them. The audio is not the best however I hope you find as much joy in them as I have.

Atonement –

Doctrine –

Let me know what you think :-)

Blast from the Past

As Amaree and Olivia were coming home yesterday I remembered that I have seen a picture of myself holding my sister after she was born. Well it was about 3 months after but still. The chair is still at my parents house. So I arranged to have the chair upstairs when they came home. After getting the kids used to baby we had them sit in the same chair and hold their baby sister.

Here is my picture – then my kids holding their sister -

Olivia Esther Matthews

After 9 months – and a wonderful day – Olivia has joined our little growing family. Since this was a “planned” C-section – it made it alittle easier. I was ready – :-)

But of course our Doctor would not even let me NEAR the open area. Owell thats life. i did get to watch. After the past couple of C-Sections that were NOT planned this was a welcomed relief. If I recall all we talked about was computer support help from Dell and how our Doctor will call me from now on :-) olivia joined our family at 10:05 am on Saturday jan 9th 2010. our Doctor came in on her day off and even when she was not all call. WE LOVE YOU DOCTOR LEE! Mom did great and is recovering fine – We hope to have them both home tomorrow – of course that is after Amaree makes going number 2 her number 1 priority.

PROMISED PICTURES -

In case you cannnot read her shirt -

A Young Man Prepared!

I am going to have to get a recording of Kade “singing” along with his newest favorite song… “All Aboard!”, or in other words, “A Young Man Prepared”.

I guess if his favorite song has to do with being a worthy priesthood holder, reading scriptures, and watching his words, thoughts, and deeds, I can’t compain too much, right? (aside from the midnight playings of the song on his CD player… He knows how to find the song and playes it CONSTANTLY!)

That boy… Growing up too fast for me! Did you know he starts Sunbeams on Sunday? Psychotic!

Christmas at our house

So another year has come and gone. It was nice to have the family together. We are missing Jenny and her family – and wish them all the best up in Alaska. We had our family with Grandpa and Grandma, Eric and Amy with Rylie (and baby unknown), Quinn and Kasie with Weston (and baby unknown). yes that is right all 3 women are expecting :-) what a fun Christmas.

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This is a picture of our Nativity that as a family we sanded, painted, and fired a LONG time ago. The Kids loved it and telling them the story of Baby Jesus has been fun. They are learning alot.

 

 

 

 

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This is Rylie. She has fallen in love with Charlie’s little “bear”. Thank goodness that Charlie was “willing” with a little prodding from us to let her play with his bear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weston and Grandma – Weston is growing like a weed and is walking like a pro. Willing and able to full function in playing with the rest of the crew. He enjoyed opening his gifts with Grandma and with his mom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kade of course is really getting into the opening gifts. He understand so much more this year. I know that we only have acouple more before I have to find creative ways to hide his gifts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Charlie as well has taken up the idea of gifts. Kade was this age last year. Kade has taught Charlie all he needs to know about opening the gifts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course this year was our 5th Christmas together. In fact 5 years ago Amaree left Christmas eve and flew to Kentcky. That night was the first night that we said out loud “I love you”. So I thought it should be an extra special night for her. 5 years ago she made me 3 neckties. I loved it. So this year I got her something to hang around her neck. Now I know that a necktie was out of style for a woman, however I know something that is always in style -

necklace

There was one more thing that never really goes out of style at our house and that is food. (it may go bad but not out of style.)  She has been looking at a Kitchen-Aid – she never told me the size she was looking for but I figured that I would find one and just get it for her. I know that size really matters to women so I went with the biggest I could find (within my price range) It just happened to be the biggest one they make. So her eyes really grew wide when she unwraped this.

kitchenaid

 

We do wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sledding

IMG_2186smallIMG_2182smalljpg Here are the promised pictures of the boys sledding. We had a great time again with the sled today. It felt colder today than yesterday, though. I don’t think it was actually colder, there was just a wind, so I didn’t want to stay out as long.

Watching the boys play with this sled makes me want to get them one to play with when we get back to Great Falls. Kade sure enjoys pulling Charlie around!

Snow Day

Aaron did not have to go into work until noon and so we spent the morning playing outside as a family. Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I have missed being together and having time to play like this! It was a blast. We all got bundled up and went to play outside in the snow, even me with my new snow boots! (I feel like a real Montanan now!) Yes, they may be cheap, ugly “Wal-Mart special” boots, but I no longer get snow in my shoes and socks. And my feet were significantly warmer. And after 5 years of living in Montana, it’s about time! my snow bootsSo, as I said, we all bundled up. Kade and Charlie had on the whole winter garb- boots, snow suits, gloves.They stayed warm as they played in, fell in, and ate the snow. snowball

snow angel

snow or snot

charlie happy to be outside

charlie eating snow

charlie exploring

I’ll even throw in a teaser picture of what I look like in profile with a winter coat (that I can barely zip up right now) being 8 1/2 months pregnant. 34 1/2 weeks. Needless to say, the coat is VERY tight around my belly. The coat hides the pregnancy a little, but the baby seems to hide better! She’s all inside, and boy, can I feel it! (I seriously STILL get glares from people sometimes when I park in the “For Expectant Mothers only” parking spots, especially when I have my coat zipped up… Yes, I may look fat, and I am a bit overweight, but I promise I am pregnant! AND almost due!)

charlie exploring with mom

The cabin we are in is small, but very cute. We have enjoyed staying here, and think it would be a great place for a little romantic get-away sometime. However, it isn’t particularly conducive for a family of four staying for a week– i.e. there is only a very small fridge, a typical “hotel” sized one, a very small sink, and nowhere to store food. We survive. We even invested in a deep freezer! (Ok, so we brought it!)

our cabinour freezer After Aaron went into work, we ate lunch, and took a nap, I took the boys out again to romp in the snow. The owners of this cute little establishment are a younger couple who have two daughters, and the mother let us borrow their sled! She left it on our porch for when we would play later. Once I let those boys out the door so I could get myself bundled up, Kade knew EXACTLY what that sled was for, drug it off the porch, and immediately started pulling Charlie around. It was adorable. When they play together well, which is most of the time, they really play together well. I didn’t get any pictures of that today, but I will try tomorrow, as I anticipate more snow games in our future.  I then took turns with Kade in pulling the sled. Charlie thought it was a blast to be pulled around, and Kade and Charlie enjoyed being pulled around together as well. We explored quite a it of the property around the cabins, even discovering a little fire-pit. It was great fun!

After play time was over, we came back inside and watched some TV while I cooked our dinner in the toaster oven we brought. Aaron worked late, so I gave the boys a shower, attempted to put them to bed, and waited for Aaron.

We have SO enjoyed being up here with Aaron, spending time with him. It feels like such a treat to spend time with my husband, and the boys with their daddy. I can’t wait until it becomes the norm again!

Oh, btw, my husband died. This is the last picture he took before Charlie stabbed him with the stick!stab youre dead*no, Aaron is not really dead. But we loved this picture!

*and on a funny but irrelevant note, Kade has all but stopped calling Charlie “Charlie”. It is now “Charles”. I only call Charlie “Charles” when he’s in trouble, but Kade picked up on it, that that was his real name. Hysterical!

Work Related Vacation?

We are on our first Work Related Vacation or WRV – see if you can keep up with the acronyms. Aaron was chosen to travel to Eureka MT to help bring a new Border Patrol Station online. The cleanest place he was told was a little place outside of Eureka called Grave Creek Cabins. After booking a cabin we talked it over and decided that we could bring Amaree and the kids up for a WRV. After a wonderful community concert where Amaree sang some songs in Shelby we stayed the night at a members house and started traveling over to Eureka. The cabin is a little 20 foot by 20 foot. no bigger then a larger hotel room. Once Aaron got home from his first day on the build we ate some dinner and had our first family home evening in over 8 weeks. It was good to be together as a family. Amaree had the best idea about building Gingerbread houses. So each of us built a house for the kids then let them decorate them.

Gingerbread house

Here are the two houses. Amaree did a great job with making a “normal” house. I was unable to get the roof to stay up so settled with a “western” themed house. After putting them together we sat the kids on our laps and had them start putting candy on the houses. However that is not what happened. Can you guess? Since we do not have candy in our house often the kids saw an opportunity and exploited us. one piece on the house. TWO in the mouth. One peice in on the house. One piece on the house to cover it in frosting and then in the mouth. This was not going well – at least for the parents. Kids loved it. Anyway here are some other pictures.

Does this piece go on the house or in my mouth? Finishing touchs little wonder of the world

We’re glad we have a week together as a family, even if Aaron is still working during the day. It’s already been fun to hear the peals of laughter that only happen when daddy is playing with them.

Trying to be Grateful

Perhaps one or two of you (out of our readership of 3?) have noticed an unusual lack of AMAREE written posts. Yes, I have been somewhat slackidasical. (I know it’s not a word. But it should be!) Any time I have sat down to write a post, I have been on the verge of tears and I have not wanted to make my post a complainy, whiney, “wo is me” type entry. SO I haven’t blogged. And I haven’t had any pictures to post lately, since I don’t have a camera handy right now, so photos are out of the question too.

The past couple of months have been very challenging for me. I understand things could always be worse, but right now I am just struggling with what I have been dealt. Perhaps part of it is that I am now 8 months pregnant, and therefore am especially tired, winded, begining to be really uncomfortable, feeling fat, and have been particularly emotional. Part of it is being away from my husband for the past 4, going on 5 weeks now with only the weekends to spend with my helpmeet and companion. Some of my dispair can be attributed to feeling homeless and uncertain about what the next week will bring in regards to my husband’s job or our living situation, let alone the next month or two. And there is the lingering fear of what will happen once this baby is born… Will our family be together again? Are we going to continue to be separated by 89 miles, except on those short weekends mentioned by my husband below? Will I still be living in my in-law’s basement? Without my husband? With nobody to help me with all three kids once there are three, when lately it feels like not one of them is sleeping through the night, when I will hardly be able to get around for the first couple of weeks? I am terrified, scared, sad, and lonely at times, and it has been a challenge to be positive.

Well, this is “Thanksgiving Week” and I have felt very little gratitude for what I have been blessed with. We sang this hymn at church yesterday– Count Your Blessings– and while I usually just sing this hymn without thinking of the words, I did yesterday.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

SO, I am going to try to post a positive, gratitude filled blog entry. Because I need a little more gratitude in my life, apparently.

  1.  I am grateful for my husband. He is trying his very best to provide for our family, to find for us the best situation, both with his career and with housing, and to prevent further difficulties on me or on the boys (which, I suspect is why we are still in Great Falls and he in Shelby. Less moving!) He loves me, and has been patient with my lately consistent and rather uncharateristic crying and sorrowing and moping.  He can make our boys laugh like nobody else. And he calms me.
  2. I am grateful for Temples. On Saturday we had the opportunity to go to the Billings Temple and to do some Sealings. I had hoped for answers to my prayers– rather, the answers that I wanted to my prayers– and while that did not exactly happen, when I prayed for the right thing (peace, comfort, that kind of stuff), I was given at least a little helping of what I needed, enough to get me through this next little bit, anyway.
  3. I am grateful for the gospel, for scriptures, and for my faith. I have been reading from the Doctrine and Covenants lately (trying to finish it before the year is through!!!) and have been surprised at how often I have found comfort in their verses. I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, seeing as the early saints had a lot of turmoil and uncertainty in their lives as well, much more than mine, and were in need of some comfort and verbal hugs from Heavenly Father. But they have been nice to come across, and their comforting words have come at a time when they were very needed.
  4. I am grateful for Kade and Charlie. While they may drive me crazy sometimes, and while I am perhaps not even in the running for the “Best Mother of the Year” award right now, I love those two little boys dearly. They are most often so sweet, so loving, so fun to be around. I love when Charlie goes to wake Kade up from his nap and says, “wake up, sweet brother!”, or when Kade shares something voluntarily with Charlie, just to be nice, or when they cuddle in bed with me in the morning. I love that they want, insist, even, on doing family prayers and nightly scripture study together. I love their giggles and their smiles, and their kisses and hugs.
  5. I am grateful for my in-laws, who have put up with me and the boys this past month, and will continue to allow us to stay with them indefinetely until our life gets a little more settled. While I really wish I wasn’t here, it is not because of them, but rather that I would prefer to be in my own home, with my husband. They have made my life as easy as they can during this transitory period. The boys have had a chance to get to know and love them better, to play cars with Grandpa, and to sit on Grandma’s lap and read her stories. We have been fed and sheltered, and I am grateful for that. They have given me my space, and have had no expectations of me. For temporary housing, I really could not have fared better. They are wonderful people, and I am so blessed to have them as family.
  6. I am grateful for my friends. Whether they be long-distance phone/Facebook friends, or the face-to-face friends I have here in Great Falls, my friends have been a huge comfort and support during this recent moping, lonely, and scared stage of mine. It’s comforting to know that I can cry on their shoulders, and sob my life away to them, and they still love me and have confidence in my ability to sort things out in the end. While I have occasionally resented being in Great Falls these past several weeks, my friends here have made this much easier for me and have given me the love, patience, friendship, and the ears I have needed. I can count on them, and I do (too much, maybe?) and it’s nice to have their support.
  7. I am grateful for the VAN. My in-laws have a very old conversion van they have let me use at my disposal. While it may suffer from severe gas-a-holicism, at maybe 6-8 miles a gallon (We don’t really know because all the odometers on the van are all broken, but it certainly doesn’t get many miles to a gallon!) it also gives me some much needed freedom to get groceries or to just get out of the house. It’s a beast, but I’ll gratefully take this beast!
  8. I am grateful that Aaron does have a job right now. We have insurance with this baby. We have an income right now. We can pay our bills. While we don’t know what will happen in the next few days, weeks, or months, we know we have a job until at least the end of February, and we also know that there are quite a few people still fighting hard to make sure that we continue to have a job past then. I hate the uncertainty that is still ahead of us, but we know we’ll be provided for, one way or another!
  9. I am grateful for “the ground”, a rug with roads and buildings and stuff on it. My inlaws have one that’s probably 3 1/2 feet X 5 feet. It’s the kind kids use to race their hotwheel cars on. My boys, for the past 4 weeks, have probably spent 3 hours A DAY, at least, playing on this rug, independantly, happily. EVERY DAY. I bought one just like it for Christmas for them, because I can’t imagine my life without it anymore. It’s been that nice.

I do have a lot to be grateful for, and I am. And this week, more than I have been the past few weeks, I vow to make a better effort to find the blessings I have been blessed with. I have much more than I deserve, perhaps, and for that, Heavenly Father, I will try to be more grateful!

*I have been doing some thinking after I posted this entry, and seriously, I must be such a “cry baby bed wetter” as Aaron puts it… I suppose the thing I struggle with the most is being apart from Aaron, which I totally despise, and the greater worry of being apart when we have this baby. Thank goodness he’s not military! Sheesh! What a wimp. Take a man pill Amaree! LOL Things really aren’t so bad…

Long Weeks and short weekends

Amaree just told me that we are on week 5 of our weekdays apart. 5 weeks. WOW, it does not seem like that long ago that we where a family up at Shelby living and working. Since then Amaree has been living with my parents in Great Falls. I am grateful that there was room in the Inn for Amaree and the kids. However I am really missing everyone. It is good to see the kids and the wife are having fun in Great Falls but I know they want to be back up in Shelby both with me and the friends we have made up there. So here is to another week without the family with me. As soon as we know about the Gov job we will get them up to Shelby. The prayer is that it is before Baby is born.

It’s a…

After an “unsucessful” ultrasound at 20 weeks, we’ve been waiting and hoping for a chance to find out what this baby will be. Correction– *I’ve* been waiting to find out what this baby will be! Aaron didn’t really care to find out. But despite the waiting, I also understood that it didn’t really matter– we wanted a healthy baby, and that was the most important part. Finding out the gender was somewhat secondary. Unlike Kade, Charlie, and our angel Madeline, I have not had a feeling either way what this baby would be.

So our dear favorite OB did us a huge favor on Thursday. She gave us one morechance to have a sneak-peak at the gender. At the danger of sounding crass, I will tell you what she said. “It’s the sign of the hamburger!” You figure it out.

Anyway, the three lines were there, and we are having a GIRL. No black-jack for Aaron.

But I will be less out-numbered in my house of boys. (Not that I mind my house full of boys– they are wonderful and I would have been excited to have another boy as well!)

So now we have to come up with a girl name… Any suggestions?

Sometimes you feel like a nut…

So most of you know that Friday would have been my last day working for QinetiQ-North America. However I got a call at NOON today asking me to stay on for at least 4 more months. The Government asked them to keep me on so they can get me going on the paperwork to get into a federal spot up here at Sweetgrass. SOOOOOO… after moving the family down to Great Falls last weekend I have to move them back up. Lucky EVERYTHING is in boxes. I feel so blessed that I have people who care enough to help. I must take this time and thank my Heavenly Father. I know everything I have comes from Him and I am so thankful this is working out this way. Thank you all for your prayers!!!

(* from Amaree: I just wanted to thank everybody who has been rooting and praying for us these past few months. It is because of everybody’s support, prayers, encouragement, and generous words (and the boundless grace of our Heavenly Father) that we have a job still. We have had so many people fighting for Aaron, and fighting hard, and it has been very, very touching. It’s nice to be appreciated and loved, and I thank those who have appreciated and loved Aaron. It means the world (and a job) to us. This has been a very emotional journey for our family, both ends of the spectrum, and all we can say is  thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. With friends like you, we feel we are surrounded by angels.)

Life

It is time that I let people know what is happening here in our life. In my life I am very prideful when it comes to providing for my family. It is something that I should be – a provider. Amaree has and will continue to be a absolutely wonderful mother to our children. With Amaree at my side I have moved from North Country Media Group to the Great Falls Tribune. At the Tribune I was able to move from intern to the IT Manager. It was great. It was fun and it was progression to provide for my little family. All of you know I finally broke down and made a move into something else in my life. Both in moving outside of Great Falls and moving up in my career. We both prayed about moving up to Shelby with QinetiQ – North America. We both felt very good about it. So here we are since June 1st we have been here working and enjoying our life. Well we found out 1 month ago that the US Government will not sign the contract with QinetiQ for the computer work at the ports. They do not want contractors just government workers. Must be part of a stimulus package somewhere. Get rid of contractor (140 on this contract) and hire back only 70. hummmm that does not seem like good numbers to me. However someone will report that the government hired 70 new employees as part of an increase. So October 30th will be my last day working. I have tried to move over from the contractor side to the Government since we found out however it has been slow and we are not sure that it will work.

So this is what we are doing. On October 24th I am moving Amaree and the kids back to Great Falls. With renters in our place we will be storing our stuff and moving in with my parents. This will provide a opportunity to help out around the house. Since my mothers cancer the house has gotten into some disrepair with everything being focused on that. I should be able to help out quite a bit to organize things as we look for another job. The wonderful thing about computers is that it does not matter what industry we go into the principles are the same. We just need to  have faith and work our hardest.

But here we are again after5 months moving again. So if you are trying to get ahold of us – e-mail is still going to be the best. Oh – and if you know of any IT jobs that are open – Let me know :-)

Thanks all for your prayers.

Not suffering them to fight and quarrel…

Mosiah 4:14 from the Book of Mormon states: “And ye will not suffer your children that they go hungry, or naked; neither will ye suffer that they transgress the laws of God, and fight and quarrel one with another, and serve the devil, who is the master of sin, or who is the evil spirit which hath been spoken of by our fathers, he being an enemy to all righteousness.”

So, what’s a mom to do when two little boys are constantly fighting over the same toy? It’s an age old dilemma that most moms face, I imagine. And perhaps just about every other mom gets as tired of the fighting over the same toy as I do, especially when there are other similar (but different) toys available to play with, but is apparently NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

Some days, I use a timer. Two or three minutes each, then trade. Charlie and Kade are actually pretty good at taking turns this way. And it usually results in tearless playing. This method, however, means I am tied to the kitchen where the timer is (on my stove, since I don’t have an egg timer at this moment) and is not always practical.

Some days, I just take the toy away completely. This does not make me a good candidate for the “Best Mother of the Year” when I do this. And it usually ends up with the boys both crying and screaming.

Some days I have to put one or the other in time-out for stealing the toy from the other boy, with a firm reminder that it is so-and-so’s turn to play with it. This also results in crying from the kid put in time-out, and it rarely truly resolves the issue, since the desire for that toy is still there.

There are some toys, I feel, that are better played with when there are more than one. They need to be nearly identical. By having two nearly identical toys, they are able to play along side of each other. While this is not practical in most situations, and I do not endorse buying two of every toy to prevent fighting since learning to share and to take turns is very important, this, I feel, is one of those situations where having two is a good idea.

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We inherited a cape from my Aunt Laura. It used to be my cousin Sterling’s, and my grandmother made it for him when he was 3. He’s 12 now. But Kade is 3. And Kade loves the cape. He thinks he is Super Why (which, arguably is one of the best kids cartoons on the face of this planet!). He will dig through our very deep and big toy box to find the cape. He tries to tie it on his own (never works, but he tries!) and he loves running and zooming around the house with the cape on. Possibly, this could be one of his favorite play items.

And Charlie wants to play with it too, almost always at the same time. He wants to be a superhero right along side Kade. Once I was able to have him wear a “Super Headband” and he was happy about it, but it was a temporary band-aide for a semi-permanent problem. If I try to tie Kade’s blanket around him, and then give Charlie the cape, temper tantrums arise.  Kade wanted nothing to do with the “Super Headband.” There is no winning this problem.

So, today, after tiring of their fighting and quarreling over who gets to use the cape, I resolved the issue. I made Charlie his own cape out of some spare fabric I had floating around in a box of scraps. There was just enough fabric to make it work. They sat and watched me sew it, fascinated with the process. It was a very quick project, and while not an image of perfection, it is a suitable cape for any little boy.

Charlie's CapeNow, Charlie can be “Super Beaners!” and Kade can be “Super Kaders” or “Super Why” or “Super Man” or “Super what-ever-else-he-wants-to-be”. And now they will stop fighting over the capes.

Yeah. Until Kade wants Charlie’s cape, and Charlie wants Kade’s cape, and they want the same one at the same time and the other sits crumpled on the floor. ::sigh::

But… I am trying.

*update*

Charlie spent the entire afternoon thrilled about being “Super Beaners”. And he apparently went to bed last night cuddling his cape (along with his harem of stuffed animals). WIN! It makes me happy when the things I do for them are truly appreciated.

A House of Learning

bookcover3 After some recommendations from a couple friends, I decided to start trying to teach Kade to read using this book. It claims to be able to teach “bright 3 year olds and average 4-5 year olds how to read in 100 easy, 20 minute long lessons.” Fascinating! Kade knows his letters, the sounds that most of them make, and so it seemed to be the most natural next step. I really wanted him to learn how to read phonetically, and not just memorize words. I understand that not everything is phonetic, but it is a start and comes in handy when being introduced to new words. And while memorization is a great technique, it just wasn’t the method I wanted to teach him. So, we’ve started. We’re two days into it so far. And he knows the “mmmmmmmmm” sound and the  “ssssssss” sound. Not that he didn’t know those already, but tomorrow, we start learning “aaaaaa” and then he will learn that “am” says “aaaammmmmm” and “sa” says “ssssaaaa”. The only thing he doesn’t seem to like is the writing section, which isn’t a vital part of the lessons. His attention span just isn’t quite long enough, and his hands aren’t steady enough. We’ll see how things continue to go! Since he knows his sounds already, things will go pretty fast, I think! He’ll be reading in no time. Writing– maybe not– but reading? You betcha!!! And once I put Charlie down for his nap, I’ll take 20 minutes a day to work with Kade before putting him down for his nap.

Meanwhiletoilet seat, Charlie has really started to express an interest in potty-training. He figured out how to “pee on demand” in the toilet on Saturday, which is a huge step, and he’s really excited about the prospect. You really should see the look on his face when he is successful! While I am not sure if I am really ready to go through this process right now–our life is currently about to be turned upside-down for the next few months–I also know that when they’re excited about it, it’s time. I don’t want to delay the process while he’s excited about it. And Kade is so encouraging! It’s sweet! He even sings the potty-cheer to Charlie, and gives him big hugs of encouragement when he goes potty successfully. Of course, then there are the chocolate chips as a reward ;)

So, we’re going through many learning processes right now with the kids. Should be fun!

Dinner tonight

I just came home and was smelling something very good for dinner. Amaree made FRESH Salsa with our own tomatoes. hummmmm….

I looked and saw what was in the oven and saw that it as a Spanish rice dish with chicken. As I looked across the oven I saw one of Amaree’s hot pack rice bags EMPTY! These are the ones she heats up every night in the microwave and put on her feet to keep them warm.

It was EMPTY…

We are having a rice casserole for dinner…

Hummmmm, you put 1 and 2 together and I have to think to myself “am I not making enough money?”

I’m a really bad mom…

OK, I hope not really… But I did forget something HORRIBLE while loading the car to come down to Great Falls for 5 days… I packed all of our clothes, shoes, toiletries, a sack lunch to eat on the way, cleaned the house… etc…

No, I didn’t forget one of my children.

But it’s almost as bad.

I forgot…

CHARLIE’S PILLOW.

His main comfort object. (By “main”, I mean the most important one. In addition to his all important pillow, which has been his life since he was 6 or 7 months old, no joke, he also has, in order of importance, ”Bear”, “Baby”– another teddy bear–and most recently “Alligator”. I did remember to bring ”Bear”. At least I brought that!)

So, when we put him to bed last night to whines of  “Pillow! Pillow! I want my pillow!” I tried something I never thought would work. I tried telling him just how lucky he was that he gets to use “Grandpa’s special pillow.”

So far, it’s been a satisfactory substitute, although not 100%. There are pouts, but no screams. Bear has become all the more important.

I hope he makes it through the weekend without it.

Because I’m a really bad mom to have forgotten his MOST IMPORTANT object.

::sigh::

*update*

We arrived home today, after a four day absence. He did remarkably well with “Grandpa’s Special Pillow” and even started dragging it around with him like he does his normal. Upon arriving home, I went and found Charlie’s pillow, expecting a joyous reunion, tears of joy running down his face, all that kind of stuff.

Boy did I get a huge let down.

“I don’t want it,” he proclaimed. His beloved pillow was nothing to him anymore.

He’ll change his mind later, but… A surprising reaction, for sure.

Oh well…

A world of BOYS

I am beginning to see that I will be living in a world of barbarians. Sweet and loving barbarians, yes, but barbarians nonetheless. While not necessarily shocking, I was hoping to teach my little boys to be more civilized, more polite. It’s not working.

My boys laugh when they pass gas. They say “excuse me!”, but… They still think it’s hysterical. And they try to do it over and over again.

My boys think it’s funny to burp. Once again, they say “Excuse me!”, but… Kade can burp on demand. He’s only 3!

The tackling has begun. Kade and Charlie race around the house trying to “punch” each other. Between Aaron and the kids, rough housing is a normal, every day occurrence.

They all… ALL 3 of them… lick me!

Potty-humor has already shown a strong presence in our home– and Charlie is the worst at calling people and things “POOPY!” and will laugh while he is name calling for hours! And this is self-taught.

Kade has no shame in pulling down his pants and peeing outside. Anywhere. Even in our front yard. We’ve had to have many time-outs and discussions about this. Barbaric!

Charlie has recently begun taking lessons from Kade on how to shoot snot wads. GROSS.

Despite my constant objections, Aaron is already teaching them how to give wet-willies. TO ME! And he’s teaching them other “manly” things– like the “pull the finger” trick. ::sigh::

Kade is turning out to have the same tendencies as Aaron– he eats paper (toilet paper, cardboard, paper towels, white paper, newspaper…) he chews on straws, and can’t resist rubbing his feet on things.

Cars, trucks, and other “manly” toys are the mainstays in our house. Racing their trucks throughout the house has been something we continue to battle- the racing is for downstairs only! And they could race their big tonka trucks outside on the sidewalk for hours if I would let them.

They like to watch “Mighty Machine” videos of big construction vehicles.

I must resign myself to the fact that I am living in a world of boys. And that there is no escaping it.

Although, for the most part, I think I might be OK with it.

It could be better than princesses and baby dolls…  I think? Maybe?

More about numbers

Ok… So today most of you are aware that it is September 9th 2009 – 9-9-9. Most of you also know now that I bought the Forester from the Subaru factory in Japan with 9 miles on it in 2001. So from 2001 to now (2009) that would be 9 total years if you lost count, I have put 99,995 miles on the car as of yesterday. Now, I did not plan this – how could I…

99,999 Miles100,000 MilesSo there you go 100,000 miles on the car – however – It is not 100,000 miles that I have put on the car – not until 100,009 miles. So I needed to pick up the G-Ride (Government issue 2010 Chevy Tahoe) today so Amaree and the kids took me up to Sunburst to pick it up. Since I pick them up after I reported to the Shelby Border Patrol Station it was around 9:00 am. Sooooo you know where this is headed….

9 years
9 miles beginning
100,000 miles later
September 9th, 2009
9:09 am
YOU HAVE
100,009 Milesoh and I updated this at 19:09pm

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

The boys have both been unreasonably crabby the past couple of days, despite naps, trying to put them to bed early, etc. Amazing tantrums at meal times have made eating rather unpleasant. I just figured they were crabby or something.

And then, when we’re outside, there have been a lot of mosquitoes, so I’ve not enjoyed lingering in the grass much, but have seen a lot of bites on Kade.

So, when Kade said that a bump on his finger hurt yesterday, I figured it was just a bug bite and thought nothing of it. That is, until I was looking at his hands this morning. Here are a couple of pictures of what I saw:

close up of blister A close-up of one of the blisters. Looks fabulous, doesn’t it?

Kade's hands And then you see that these blisters are ALL over his hands, fingers, front and back. And they’re starting to appear on his feet as well.

I’ve concluded, with the help of a friend and our vast internet resources available to us, that this is most likely Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. (This is not to be confused with foot and mouth or hoof and mouth disease, which is an animal disease and not a human one.) It’s a contagious, short-lived, but incurable virus that can cause canker sores in the mouth, fever, and  slightly painful rashes/blisters on the hands and feet (and sometimes bum) and of course, irritability.  The rash/blisters don’t itch. The strange thing is that all of the symptoms don’t necessarily present themselves in every person. So a kid in our Branch had horrible cankers in his mouth, a fever, and crankiness, his sister had sores on her bum and a fever but no blisters or canker sores that we know of, and another kid might have had it but didn’t show any of the symptoms at all aside from irritability and a fever. Kade and Charlie have had a couple of canker sores (which kept Charlie up a good bit of the night last night, much to my exhaustion!) but Kade has a TON of blisters on his hands and feet, and Charlie is starting to get them on his hands now and I expect a full-on blister attack by tomorrow.  Neither of my boys have had a fever. But crabbiness, OH YES.

Since it’s a virus, I didn’t figure there was a need to see the doctor, because he’d tell me what I already know… Not much he can do, give them some pain medication, keep them away from other kids/people, wash hands…

The fun thing is that we had a huge canning activity with a whole bunch of women from Relief Society on Tuesday morning, and all of our kids were playing together for hours on end. Our nursery is sure to be a popular, happy place on Sunday, if anybody shows up at all, since they’ve all be exposed.

Numbers

I have always enjoyed numbers. I am not talking about actual math. Those who know me know I hate math. However, it does not matter where I go or what I am thinking it has to do with numbers. For instance you have read 45 words so far. I am constantly thinking about them in my life. I am not sure why but in my mind it is to keep my mind busy. Let me give you of some examples. I know there are 18 steps from the 1st floor to the 2nd floor at the Tribune where I used to work if you go up the back steps by the press and 23 if you go up the middle steps. There are 29 steps going up the back stair case at Sweetgrass from the 1st floor (Canadian side) to the 2nd main floor of the US side. Let me give you a couple of numbers that I have been thinking about lately. 6. I have had 6 jobs since I started working. I started out mowing lawns, moving to a life guard at UGF before my mission. I started back at UGF in the computer area and then to North County Media Group. I went from the Great Falls Tribune to where I am now working as a contractor for United States Customs Service. 2. I have only owned 2 computers. My first one I purchased was a Tiny computer. No it is not a small computer. It is the brand name of a computer company from the UK that no longer is making computers. I then bought a Dell Laptop 8200. It had 2 batteries. Both computers I still own and we use. 4. Is a number that explains the number of pregnancies that Amaree and I have had. 3. Is the number of children we have had born to us. 1. Is the number that we are missing in our family here on earth. 6 is the number (so far) that we have for eternity because of the Temple Sealing we have in our life. 1. The number of cars I have owned. I bought the Yeddi car in July of 2001 with 9 miles on from the factory in Japan. 10,009. is the number of miles on it when I started my first paid 2 week vacation to Sunny California with Aaron Marshall. 50,009 is the miles on the car when Amaree and I were headed back from our honeymoon. It was a very late night in Nevada as we were trying to find a hotel room to stay at. 100,009. The number of miles that are on the car. 2. The number of houses I have purchased. 1. the number of houses that I have sold. 2. not counting my mission I have only lived in 2 cities my entire life. Great Falls and Shelby. 89. the number of miles that separate Great Falls and Shelby. 7. The number of times I have moved. 7. The number of wards/branches I have lived in. 246. The number of black paperclips on my desk. 1. the number of wives I have. 2. The number of best friends I have. 6. The number of bosses that I have telling me what needs to be done. 2. the number of thumbs my unborn child has. 2. Flat tires I have had – ever. Both of which where this last 2 weeks. 20,033. number of pictures I have on the computer. 29. the number of LDS Temples I have been to. Where is that number 30 going to be? 0. the number of times I have been in trouble with the law. 3. the number of wallets that I have had. My first one was a fabric one that had about 4 colors on it. I still have it. Then on my mission I had a ducktape one that I made. Now I carry a black one that looks like it is about to fall apart. 2. the number of Kitchen tables I have owed. Both of which were gifts with the chairs. 3. Is the number of scripture sets I have had in my life. 3. The number of prescription drugs I am taking now. 1 is for my thyroid and the other 2 are for high cholesterol. 3. The number of years I have worn my current pair of contact lens. 6. The number of years I have been certified (or certifiably crazy depending on which flavor you prefer) from Microsoft. 11. Number of years I have been able to scuba dive. 2. Number of times I have given bone marrow to 2 complete strangers. 89. Units of blood product I have given to the Red Cross since coming back off my mission. 93. number of gophers I have hit since starting at Customs and Boarder Patrol. 5. number of birds that have crossed the grill of my car. 1. number of elk I have hit. 2. number of deer that have been killed by a car I was driving. Amaree can tell you about the one I hit on our first meeting. 1. The number of tv’s that I have purchased. Where is all this going? 1. I have a lot of time on my hands with all this driving I do now. 2. I was thinking about my life and if I was to die now, what would be the sum of this mortal existence. It is a lot of numbers to think about. My only hope is that it is the right amount of numbers. How many hours a week do I watch TV instead of reading a book, magnifying my church callings, volunteer at a shelter, study more computer stuff, or just sit down and not count any more. How will my children remember these early years? How will I respond to the trials of my life and of my generation? We were told that we were the greatest generation – What have we done with that? What will be the sum of our life?

Oh Hail!

On August 9th, we had a nice hail storm. Fortunately the hail was not large, but man, there was a lot of it! Aaron got some great pictures. There was also a lot of rain, and with our view from the top of the hill we had fun watching the cars and trucks trying to drive through the flood at the bottom of the hill. it was amazing! Fortunately, our tomatoes seem to have survived…

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Charlie’s Birthday Party… FINALLY

Over the last weekend of July, we had Charlie’s birthday party. We still can’t believe he’s two years old. He loves to draw, and he loves the color YELLOW. So… the theme for the party was yellow. I made him a yellow crayon cake, which he loved :) We had lemon flavored cotton candy. Yellow balloons. It was also a very warm day, and so we had a little swim party.

Charlie swimming

Kade eating cotton candy

The Crayon cake

charlie getting ready to dive into the cake

Having fun "sledding" in the pea gravel

We had a great time with our friends and family! It was fun to get to see everybody again!