Wednesday, February 8, 2017

January 2017

New Year's Day landed on a Sunday this year. We invited over some new neighbors, the Spauldings, for dinner and games. We had a fantastic night. All the kids got along well and the adults got to relax and have fun. We had so much fun that we didn't remember to take any pictures. Oh well. Daddy had Monday the 2nd off so he took the girls for a ski trip with their new gear. It didn't go well. The girls weren't feeling very confident and Lily took a spill that hurt her leg. She cried a lot. When they came home from the mountain, I could tell it hadn't been a good time for any of them.
 Thankfully, the girls were willing to get back on the horse and take a refresher lesson to build their confidence. After the next trip, everyone came home with big smiles and big plans to go up again.
 We got Daddy off to work and the big girls off to school, and slowly returned to our family routine. Poor Joey was still so tired after our vacation that he fell asleep on the kitchen floor while I was preparing dinner. Thank goodness for the cushy mat Grammy gave us. At least he had a soft pillow.
 We were in school for only two days when the district cancelled classes due to extreme cold temperatures. So much for routine! We got to enjoy two more lazy days at home and slowly gear up for school again.
 To keep everyone busy we tried a new homemade playdough recipe. It was simply equal parts hair conditioner and cornstarch. It felt so silky and soft in our hands. All the kids loved it. And one recipe made enough for every kid to have a lot of dough.
 Lily's buddy Nathan turned 8 after Christmas and was baptized on January 7. We were excited to help with his baptism and be a part of his special day.
 The boys love their bath crayons and paints from Grammy and Grampy. We make a new masterpiece on the shower walls every night.
 There's nothing better than a home made chocolate cake on a Sunday night. Uncle Brady surprised us with shorter hair and a shaved face when he showed up for our weekly dinner.
 Annie still loves our new spiralizer and wants a spiral apple almost every day for lunch. She doesn't like the taste of apple skin so this has been fun for her to enjoy apples without the skin.
 Thank goodness for gymnastics. This class has been so great for Tommy. Joey has a little group of babies that he plays with during class. Mommy gets an hour of uninterrupted time to visit with friends. It's a great way for all of us to get out of the house during the winter months.
 Tommy has been growing. His appetite is improving and he's been willing to try more foods. He's also been falling asleep sometimes in the afternoons and sleeping later in the mornings.
 Mommy and Daddy got to see Brian Regan live in Idaho Falls. It was everything we hoped it would be. Brian is so funny. We really enjoyed our Christmas gift to each other. And so many of our friends came too. It was like a neighborhood party in the auditorium.
My friend Jessica asked me to come over and teach her how to use her new Kitchenaid mixer and make bread. She has a commercial duty machine. It can easily handle a double recipe of dough and it is built so much better than either of my mixers. I'm a little jealous that someone who almost never bakes has a machine that's so awesome. Anyway, we had a fun afternoon making bread and cookies and letting our kids play. Joey had a hard time not being the baby, but he recovered once we got home.

We don't let the kids have sleepovers but sometimes we have what's called a "late-over". We let the girls have friends over until after bedtime. They have dinner with us and change into jammies and play until they're tired, then the parents take them home. For this late-over we decided to try making maple snow candy just like Laura Ingalls Wilder did. We boiled some pure maple syrup and butter and poured it over packed clean snow until cool enough to eat.
 It was so delicious. Buttery maple/caramel flavor that was chewy like caramel when we poured it thick, and slightly brittle but still chewy when we tried a thinner stream. It only took a few minutes to make and we had more than enough for all 8 of us. I skyrocketed to coolest mom ever status - if only for a few minutes.
I'm sure we'll be making this again. Everyone but Tommy tried it and loved it. That kid is missing out on so much good stuff!
 With temps at 20 below 0 and colder for over a week, we had serious cabin fever. When we warmed up to 17 degrees, we ventured out as family to play in the snow. We cleared off the trampoline and let everyone take a turn at breaking the sheet of ice. Tommy nibbled on the edges like a cookie.
 Eventually the boys got too cold, but the girls stayed out and took turns sledding on the snow hill in our front yard. Lily was so patient with Annie and did a good job holding the sled steady for her. I love moments like this when they are having fun together and being so kind to each other. It's what I always dreamed having siblings would be like when I was growing up.
 Joey has a new favorite food - cereal. But he only like Rice Krispies. We've tried Cheerios and a few other fun flavors, but he prefers plain Rice Krispies. He likes sitting at the breakfast table with the girls and eating like a big kid.

 A refresher ski lesson was all the girls needed to fall in love with skiing again. They did great. Lily is ready for the big lift now. Annie needs to work on her turning and strength - just like Mommy.
 Way to go girls!

We had some excitement in our neighborhood for a few days. A moose was wandering between our neighborhood and the one just south of us. We called Fish and Game when it got a little braver and close to our houses. It chased a few dogs and had some favorite spots where it would hang out. 
One day the moose was in our backyard for over an hour but we weren't home. A neighbor kept an eye on it. Something spooked it and it jumped our fence. We went out later to investigate and found lots of moose droppings near our raspberry canes and a clump of hair that caught on the barbed wire of our fence. I am so bummed we missed it. The pictures above were taken from my front door. The kids and I sat out on the front steps and just watched the moose wander between our neighbors yards. It was an amazing sight to witness right in our neighborhood.
How do you keep five boys busy on a day that's too cold to play outside? Basketball to the rescue. They just kept going and going until everyone ran out of steam. I can't believe the difference between boys and girls at this age. After everyone got their wiggles out, we sent friends home and left to run errands. Tommy fell asleep in the car. He woke up to walk inside the house and then fell asleep on the floor trying to take his boots off. Grammy and Grampy called later in the afternoon to Face Time with the kids and Tommy slept through the whole call. He woke up for a small amount of dinner and went right back to sleep.
Joey collided with the edge of a closet door just before church on January 22. This picture doesn't do the bump justice. He was crying and with each sob, the bump seemed to pulse and grow bigger. We used an ice pack to try and slow the swelling and a popsicle helped stoop his crying. It was a traumatic morning for all of us. Annie had been chasing him and said she accidentally pushed him, which caused the accident. Luckily, he healed very quickly and let us ice him a few more times to keep the swelling down. Poor kid. We probably have many more of these in our future.
I got to attend Annie's parent-teacher conference at the end of the month. She is above grade level in all areas and doing very well in school. Her teacher said Annie is a big help to the other kids who sit near her. She loves to use Spanish at home and in the classroom. She is working hard to be a strong reader. This is her shape snowman. The class had to build a snowman using triangles, circles, squares, and rectangles. She was so proud to show it to me. We are so happy Annie loves school and learning. She has an amazing memory and ability to learn quickly. Oh the places she'll go!
January is always a tough month. Christmas is over, temperatures are bitterly cold in Idaho, and sickness spreads like crazy. We tried to take it easy and just relax at home so avoid catching any serious bugs. It worked. Sorry we don't have more pictures for this month. It was a quiet few weeks around here.