Thursday, December 29, 2011

before and after.

We went from this............ this, in the twinkling of an eye.

Merry and Messy seem to be synonymous around here!

more fun holiday pics to come!

happy holidays, or in our case...... hyper holidays!!
and a hectic new year. smile.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How to raise great kids?

(on a recent family outing)

You know what is crazy? People are actually asking me for advice on how to raise great kids!
(although I do admit that my kids are great.
They are just assuming it is because of something that i did! ha)
Rewind 10 years one was asking me for advice. I had 5 kids under the age of 8. I was basically a walking add for birth control. ha ha. Seriously though, I was barely holding it together. Smart, imaginative, and confident kids aren't always so fun or easy to control when they are little. Picture in your mind hand drawn murals on your walls, forever escaping, and constant inappropriate comments. (And that was only Rachel. ha ha.) My mom wanted me to take Rachel to see a psychiatrist. Let me tell you, no one was wanting to be me 10 years ago.

So what is the secret? How do I have this strong, confident, beautiful, A+ student of a daughter now. Now that people have been asking me, I have been really thinking about it. What is the answer?

We all want it to be easy. A quick fix. But like everything, it is just plugging along trying to be a better mom every day. And that is a slow, long, and sometimes painful process. It is being humble and totally dependent on God to help you, and let you know what to do next with each child. It is listening and following everything that the prophet says. It is reading scriptures and praying every day. It is going to the temple at least once a month with your husband as an example when they are young, and taking them once a month when they are old enough. It is teaching them to love and serve everyday by example, and having them help you serve others. It is again, by being humble, and asking your child's forgiveness when you mess up (and that is often my friends). It is going to church every week to take the sacrament and renew our covenants with the Lord to love, serve and keep his commandments. It is putting God first in your life, and teaching them that everything else will work for your good if you do.

This last general conference of our church (when we hear the prophet, apostles etc. speak every 6 months), there was a great talk entitled "Love her mother" by Elaine Dalton who is the president over the 12-18 year old girls in the entire church. The subtitle for her talk is...

"How can a father raise a happy, well- adjusted daughter in today's increasingly toxic world?"

The answer has been taught by the Lord’s prophets. It is a simple answer, and it is true—“The most important thing a father can do for his [daughter] is to love [her] mother.”

She goes on to explain why, and also other things that a father needs to do and be for his daughter. But interesting that the most important is to love her mother.

I know it is true as well. Lately my kids found out that Dave, while I was on my mission would send me cassette tapes of him talking to me. On one tape, he was in the car driving and played a song (totally illegal. ha) and sang along with it to me.

It is called "I'll Never Let You Go" by steelheart.

Well, all of a sudden, the song is on every one of my kids i-pods and they are listening to it all the time. The funniest is I see Lizzie at the computer doing something and she is singing a long with the song as it is playing (she knows all the words. I don't even know all the words). You will realize how funny this is when you hear the song. It's this total heavy metal old song. Cracks me up.

Then, it hit me. I remembered this talk by Sister Dalton and I realized my kids all love this song because it represents the love their dad has for their mom. and that is the most comfortable, safe, and wonderful feeling a child can have.

So the kids will put on the song and dave and i will slow dance together, while he sings it to me. They all watch on with sparkly eyes and faces.

So here it is. Enjoy. You are going to be dying laughing.
Especially when you think of dave and that last high note. classic.

"I'll never let you go" by steelheart

PS-I was watching the video and Lizzie asked how do I know this song. I explained what song it was and she completely knows it. She looked at the guy singing and asked if they are just kidding, or if this music video is serious. I explained, they are serious, it was just made a long time ago. To which she replied, "scare me, scare me." which is what Ammon says when he is scared of something. too funny. When Jacob saw it, I told him that Dad would love to be the main singer here. Jacob's face showed great confusion, and he let me know that is the last thing he would ever want to do or be. So, I guess there is a generation gap. ha ha.

isn't this cool?

I am trying to think of a valid reason for saying that i "need" this.

I can imagine little pictures hanging by small wooden clothespins on a piece of jute on the wall.

or making a cool picture mobile for a teenagers room.


Monday, December 19, 2011

my christmas angel

I keep getting emails for a "cutest baby" photo contest.

I took this picture of Ammon yesterday.

I'm not planning on entering, but dang. I really do think he is the cutest baby.


but even better than being the cutest, he is the sweetest little angel.

It is like Christmas every day being with him.

I keep thanking Dave (and Heavenly Father) for letting me have him.

I know this sounds ridiculously corny, but i swear i feel this way.

PS-i took this picture with my 50mm 1.4. I am starting to play around with this lens
again. I forgot how awesome it is!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas joys! (part one)

First Snow of the Year!
Dave even called me from work at 7:30am to tell me.

And don't you love my vintage santa ( and falling reindeer. smile)?
It is hands down my favorite thrift store find here so far.
Ammon being a part of all of our Christmas traditions for the first time.
Decorating the tree while Buddy whispers in his ear
"you smell like beef and cheese."
One of my favorite parts. Although lets be honest. Every single line
of this movie is my favorite part. I still laugh every time i watch it.
We are all so in love with this new ABC TV series "once upon a time"
Have you seen it? I almost wish that we didn't know about it until
the whole season was over, so we could watch the whole thing a once.
It is killing us to have to wait a week in between. check it out!

Seeing Leah's joy at going to the winter dance at school. Rebecca didn't even go,
but Leah lives for school dances. Everyone worked together to
make her feel extra special, and extra cute.

Did you see the picture above with Rachel playing piano in the background?
The girls had a piano recital and were practicing their Christmas
songs all month. Reminds me of it's a wonderful life.
The scene on Christmas Eve with everything buzzing in the house
and the little girl playing piano. It is like that here every evening.
and dave is like the grumpy george that night.
he wants all the practicing done before he gets home from work.
yes, he is still the grinch. ha.
Rachel bowing after she played her piece. She is so funny. Did you notice what she is wearing? What Leah wore the night before to the dance. That is also what it is like around here. Share and exchange of everything. We all help each other be cute. love it.
Lizzie was the most nervous for the recital. She told me she wasn't doing it all week.
Luckily she had two birthday parties to go to after the recital, and I told her
she wasn't going to them unless she did the recital.
She performed beautifully.
Now that is parenting at its best. smile.

With all the craziness of the season, thank heavens Rebecca's salon has been open.
I highly recommend her. She is a professional.
Taking her to get a mani/pedi has really paid off.
Now she knows exactly how to do everything. Her massages
are amazing and she puts my feet gently in and out of the water just
like they do. And the price is perfect. FREE!

Her assistant was marvelous too. She brought me hot apple cider and rubbed my head.
This having a lot of kids thing is really starting to pay off! ha ha.

I am so excited that I found these!!!! I collect nativity sets and like to have ones from all over the world. Especially where we have lived. I kept asking my Korean friends if they have seen one here. none have. But then a girl from church found this one! I love it. It is in
the traditional pottery that they do here.
Finding this Japanese one when we were stuck in Japan as we hopped
back to the states for the summer was so lucky. I couldn't find one the
whole time we lived there. they are the traditional kokeshi dolls.
Both nativitys make me very happy. Especially since all of my Christmas
decorations are in storage.

I love this toilet paper sign that lizzie made and put on the tree.
She wanted us to remember the true meaning of Christmas.

I get a cold/sore throat every December. I think because I am so excited for christmas
and all the activities that I can't sleep, I am eating too many desserts and not exercising as much. These three oils make me very happy. I put a couple of drops of each in a little honey and swallow. it's pure magic. Repeat often.
I love reading christmas books in December. I read both of these
Glenn Beck books and they are REALLY good. I am currently finishing up
"A Christmas Carol" for our book club. So cozy.
I have another one after that too. I'll let you know if it is good.
Ammon is totally obsessed with Angry Birds. He says "Angy birds rio" a million times
a day. My favorite is when he is playing and so concentrated and I hear him say
"oh dang it." and look at his little crossed legs. he's a keeper.
It makes him very very happy.
That is until we take the iPad (he says "hi pad") away.
he's the coziest part of christmas.

look at his little elf ear. Maybe that explains his cheerful nature.

Last but not least, this picture that my sister put of herself on facebook.
She saw this in an antique shop, and it really makes me smile.
I end with this prayer. smile.

I hope your heart is singing with joy this whole month, and you
enjoy every little magical moment.

PS-My favorite really has been just staying up late with the kids, drinking hot chocolate by the light of the tree, talking and laughing. That is joy!
(hence the sore throat. ha) it's worth it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Happy Sweet 16 Rachie Roo!

On November 27th, Rachel Margaret Ives turned 16.
We got back from our trip to JeJu the night before her birthday after midnight
(so technically her birthday).
I stayed up until 3am decorating her door, because that is a new tradition
that I started this year. I decorate the kids bedroom door with little
presents and treats for their birthday and they wake up to it as a surprise.
Now I can have the stress of Christmas on more than one night a year.
Wasn't that a good idea? ha ha.
Actually it is very fun and the kids love it.
For Rachel's I did 16 coupons. They were really good ones too!
My favorite one is
"good to win one (and only one) argument with mom."
For Rachel that is like the "golden ticket." ha.
Other good ones are 1)a sweet 16 photo shoot 2) a "get out of school free" card.
3) a girl trip into Seoul to shop 4) a trip to get cocoa at Starbucks together.
and 11 more! She was very happy.
A word about Rachel.
Her favorite thing is still to cozy up with a good book.
She isn't boy crazy, she is book crazy, and I am grateful for that.
She loves this little boy more every day.
People always think she is a teenage mom and Ammon her son.
He really does look more like Rachel than me.
But he still loves me best. smile. (sorry rachel).
She really enjoys cheer leading still.
and she is still doing crazy weird things like this.
C'mon what teenage girl climbs in her brother's crib to read him books.
She is still a crazy little girl at heart.
Her hair is really really beautiful.

She still is obsessed with getting all A pluses in school.
I don't remember ever caring as much as she does.
She is an amazing student.
She is taking piano and i wish she felt as intensely about piano as school.
It is so easy for her and what she can accomplish with such little effort.
It's not fair.

She loves her daddy very much, and cried after she read his birthday
letter to her about how proud he is that she is his daughter.
She really needs his approval, and his discipline.
Last night she was cleaning the whole kitchen spotless and I knew it was because
Dave had gotten really mad at her. She will do anything to get rid of that feeling.
She absolutely cannot take him being disappointed in her.
She will get more and more ornery until Dave really lights into her,
and then it is like it pushes her restart button and she is an angel again.
She has been that way since she was 2.

Rachel is still fiercely independent and an old soul.
God has big plans for her. She is going to be a busy girl.
Which is just how she likes it.

Happy Birthday Rachel. We love you very much.