Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Linc is Nine!!

Linc's birthday was on Sunday, and on Monday morning he said he pinched himself to make sure he wasn't just dreaming about the day before - so I guess he had a pretty good day. He was a little bummed at first that he had to go to church on his birthday (this is, after all, the kid who when he heard about home schooling was wondering if"home churching" was an option), but when he realized he would be getting a treat from primary, he was okay. When he got home we had his favorite dinner: Salmon, pasta-roni, and peas. Then he had a lemon cake decorated like a basketball.

As a part of a newly established tradition, I'll fill you in on a few random facts you may not know about Lincoln:

1. He LOVES to read. He is currently working on the third book in the Eragon series.

2. He hates sleeping under covers. Over the past six months I think he has slept under his covers once, and that was because he was sick.

3. Linc has a great voice - but you have to catch him singing when he doesn't know you are listening or you will miss it.

4. Lincoln has an incredible knack for listening without you knowing it. On several occasions we have been trying to read scriptures only to find him goofing off or not paying attention. When we try to call him on it and ask him to tell us what we just read, he will do it - verbatim. It can be a bit frustrating when we are trying to make a point and it falls flat. :)

5. Lincoln loves to stay up late and get up early - sleep just seems to be a waste of time in his mind! Maybe when he is a teenager he will change his mind about this one.

6. Linc loves listening to his dad's 80's music. One of his favorites? "Eye of the Tiger" from Rocky.

7. He is quite a swimmer - last year he tackled the Butterfly stroke. It may not be perfect, but when I asked him if he was ready he replied in classic Lincoln fashion, "'s good to try new things, right mom?"

8. He and Tessa have a special bond. It is funny to watch them together. Tessa is protective of Sam, adores Emma as another caregiver, but it is Lincoln who she plays with. They are buddies.

9. Lincoln has the most tender heart. He will bound down the stairs each morning to make sure he hugs dad before he leaves for work, will hug and kiss his mom every morning before leaving for school (even if she has had to nag him to get him going in the morning), and will never say a harsh word to Tessa. He is a normal kid who has normal sibling interactions with his older sister and younger brother, but that's another story!

10. Finally, he says he is going to be an engineer when he grows up because he loves to build things, and he really has a knack for math. He loves lengthy building projects and will sometimes spend hours at a time working on Lego or Kinex projects.

You are an amazing kid, and we love you Lincoln! Happy ninth birthday!

If You Give a Mouse A Cookie....

You moms out there may be familiar with that book. It delightfully follows all the havoc that comes from offering a mouse a simple cookie, i.e., if you offer a cookie, the mouse will want milk, then a straw, then a mirror to make sure there is no milk mustache, then while looking in the mirror the mouse may notice that she needs to trim her hair so she'll need scissors, etc., etc. And so it goes.

That story has new meaning for me.

You see, we needed to fix the eating situation at our house. Our table fits great in the breakfast nook area ---until you actually have people at the table. The kids have to climb over the arms of the chairs to get into them, no one can get out from the table, cabinets, walls, and the table have all taken a beating, etc. At any rate it seemed like it made sense to get a new table to accommodate the six of us. But if you get a new table that fits us better, then the kitchen island is in the way. If we were to go to the trouble of moving and/or changing the island we would need to change out the countertop. If we do the island counters we should probably consider doing the other kitchen counters so they match, etc., etc., And so it goes.

We met with someone to do the work, got the bid, signed the contract, and started getting excited about all the changes. We were given a timeframe where it would probably be done, and then a backup time frame when it would absolutely be done. That deadline passed two months ago.

It is crazy because just enough work will get done to make us think we are really going to head towards completion, and then.......nothing. That has been the process for a while now. It even seems like we are close to the finish line now, but after 13 unreturned phone calls...well.....

These pictures just show brief glimpses of the process. We'll see what happens, and when. After this you could look around and come up with several more projects to focus on, so you might ask "what's next on the project list?" Our answer: Nothing! At least not for quite some time. These mice need a break from cookies.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

She is growing up so fast!

Our little girl is wearing makeup - all of a sudden all they want is eye makeup!!

Wait...Did you think I meant Emma?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Daddy-o turns 37!!!!

Can he really be 37? Let me think....8 years of schooling, four kids, one pet, 6 apartments, two houses, one dental practice, one office building, a thousand grey hairs...yep. He must be 37.

When Ted got to work we had decorated his office. I am sure his staff thinks his wife is a dork, but it is still fun to surprise him. When he came home we had his favorite: crab (actually, we had soup while he ate crab and Emma and Sam had a few bites - no one else is an enormous crab fan!) Then for dessert? No cake for Ted. His favorite is pie. We had lemon pie, and then a few days later finished off the cherry pie as well.

Ted is such a great guy I thought I would share a few things you may or may not know about him:

1. Ted says what he means, and he means what he says.
2. Ted used to do triathlons, and although he did one this past summer as a team, he has switched to bike racing. He's pretty amazing at it as well! Last summer he raced in five races - this year he is hoping for more.

3. He is the reigning champion of the ward tennis tournament. Since they only had one, he has yet to be defeated. He only gets to play about four times a year - so either this means he is awesome or the competition is......well, I just think he is awesome.
4. Do you know how much weight he has gained since we were married in 1993? Three pounds.
5. He has a wicked sweet tooth. The current stash in his nightstand? A two pound bag of peanut M&Ms, Sour Patch kids, Mike & Ikes, and Starburst candies. You can imagine how frustrating it is given item #4!
6. Ted bleeds blue. Ted tries to catch almost every game whether it is at his office because we don't carry the network at our house, at our house taped on DVR so he can watch it faster, or at a friend's house, he tries to catch most games. Interestingly, how many games did he go and see when he actually attended BYU? One. (He was always playing soccer).
7. Ted is the coach of Emma's select soccer team.
8. Ted is a great skiier, but he admits to being more timid as time has pressed on!
9. I swear Ted looks more distinguished and youthful every year. I am always telling him that we will be like George and Barbara Bush - she looks like she could be his mother! Of course, on a couple of occasions patients have questioned whether or not he is old enough to have finished dental school, so I guess looking youthful has its downside too.
10. When he sets his mind to something, watch out. I'm not sure that I know very many people who can get up at 5:45 every morning to go ride their bike - in the garage! He will ride on the bike trainer almost every day for over an hour carefully monitoring speed, power, etc. This is to make sure that when it is nice enough for outside riding again he is ready. Personally, just thinking of staring at the garage wall is enough to make me want to sleep in!
11. He has two favorite sayings - both of which are said with a dry sense of humor to lighten a situation: First, for when he is a bit stressed about how work is going: "I guess we may just end up in a cardboard box down by the river." Second, for when we aren't supporting his love of biking enough: "I guess I'll have to give up my dream of being in the Tour de France."

More random facts? He sleeps with a pillow over his head, he hates when you talk to him when he is working out, loves having the kids join him for situps and pushups, loves having nerf gun fights, loves the winter, dislikes being too hot, never balances his checkbook (don't worry, I do), eats a Carnation instant drink for breakfast EVERY day, is very quick to appreciate a clean house or a good meal, loves having friends over, is the favorite to jump with on the trampoline, hates gophers, loves tomatoes from the vine, loves "The Office", loves sucking on limes and lemons, and salts everything!

Quite frankly, we think he is the best husband and father! Happy birthday, Ted!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!

This year was a FANTASTIC year! The weather was perfect - not even a jacket required! Ted had a youth dance he had to chaperone and they were supposed to dress up, so he borrowed Linc's costume and was Napolean Dynamite for the evening!

On Halloween Lincoln took his costume back and he was Napolean Dynamite, Emma was a queen, Samuel was Obi-Wan Kinobe, and Tessa was a princess (I know...a stretch!). Tessa had a great time discovering trick-or-treating, but her favorite part?

Handing out candy. At one point she was so excited that she was standing on the front porch yelling "Kids! Kids!" trying to get them to hurry and come to our house. This was her favorite because she got to see all the costumes, run to the door and answer it, hand out the candy, and when all was said and done....she still had a bowl full of candy to sit next to on the stairs!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sweet tomatoes!

The best part of having a garden is unquestionably the great tomatoes we enjoy. We love them! My kids have discovered what a great treat they are - especially on Sundays when they aren't allowed to get anything from the kitchen until dinner! Here they are sneaking some before Sunday dinner is ready .......

Why aren't I more productive?

When the three older kids began school I was certain that I would have more time on my hands than I could handle. I was sure that having just one almost two-year-old was going to be a piece of cake compared to having all four kids around all summer long. Yes, it is easier, in some ways. For instance, it is easier to go to the grocery store with just one child. But I began to wonder, why aren't I more productive? I feel like I am running the whole time, but I don't seem to get much done. Then I began to analyze what my day consists of. These are just a few of our common activities.
Princess time. This doesn't mean just getting her into an outfit, it means dressing her dolls, carrying her dolls, fixing her shoes, making sure the dress is just right, etc., etc. Playing princess is quite involved.

Hide and seek time. Usually takes place when I need to leave in a hurry, when I need to change a know what I mean. Tessa has this down to an art. All of the kids love to play peas in a pod. This is where we turn out all the lights in the house, one person hides, and the others seek for the hiding person. Tessa has learned to sit and hide quietly. She is so little she can be anywhere. I have found her behind chairs, behind curtains, behind the computer desk, behind doors, in cabinets, or in the corner behind the couch. She has mastered hiding - here is a picture of her sitting behind her chair in her room. This time she had decided to read some books behind her chair.

Art time! Tessa loves to draw with Sam. She loves to draw on Sam. She loves to draw on herself. Needless to say, Crayola Color Wonder products are becoming a staple here!

Computer time. One day she will lock me out of my own computer and I won't know how to get back in!

Bed time! At last. She loves to hang out with her older brothers and sister - and they love hanging out with her. I love bedtime!

Yes, my day can be crazy, but I love all of this time I get with my kids. Tessa reminds me to enjoy this time because she will grow up way too fast, just like her brothers and sister are, and I know I will miss these days when they are gone too soon.

I better go.....someone is hiding.

Pumpkins, Hay Rides, and Mazes...Oh My!

It's that time of year again and we found ourselves out at Linder Farms to pick our pumpkins. It was a lot of fun. The kids were so excited to finally get their pumpkins - we've been meaning to go now for weeks, and since Halloween is in three days we decided we had better get going!

All of the kids were excited, and we had agreed that if they could carry the pumpkin they could get it. Gone are the days where we try to juggle one child on one arm with two pumpkins in the other.

Of course no trip to get pumpkins is complete without a maze to go through. This year we just had the kids do the mini-maze. Tessa learned quickly that it was easier to crawl through holes in the hay bales than to try and find her way out!

Piano Recital

Twice a year the kids have a piano recital - and three things made this one special. First, we left the two younger kids with a babysitter. It was amazing how much more enjoyable it was without worrying about the cheerios spilling, the seats banging, etc., etc. It was great! Second, a universal truth was confirmed: The more relaxed you are, the better you will perform. Emma practiced and practiced until we felt like we all knew the pieces completely. Lincoln plunked out the pieces several times, but then would "forget" to practice for an extended period of time. When we arrived at the recital I felt nervous for the kids, especially Lincoln, figuring if he didn't know the pieces he was to perform then this would be a good learning opportunity. His conversation with Ted went like this: Ted: Are you nervous? Lincoln: Nope. Ted: Are you ready? Lincoln: Yep. Ted: I haven't even heard you playing these pieces at all. Lincoln: Oh well.

True to form Lincoln got up and performed the pieces flawlessly without missing a note. When Emma got up she was shaking so badly that I could see her hands shaking even though I was several rows away. She still did great but was a little frustrated that she stumbled through a few spots. Needless to say, being relaxed goes a long way.

The third thing that made this recital unique? As we were walking out the door Lincoln casually turned to me and said, "Mom, we are supposed to wear our costumes." Mom: Oh well.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sun Valley 2008

Sun Valley has to be one of the most beautiful places ever! It is so peaceful and quiet - and we love being there. The Checketts invited us to go up along with Grandma and Grandpa Thompson for some good ol' relaxing fun. This year some of the highlights included the bike rides, floating pine cones, finding some really big sticks, mother deer and two fawns out front, Sam and Meigan "spying" on everybody, a big fort, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, shopping, staying up late and laughing 'til our stomachs hurt, and of course lots of candy and good food.

Of course, we had one incident. Ted took the kids on a mountain bike trail and they had a great time, until Sam came cruising down a steep hill and crashed at the bottom.

We took these pictures just after getting him cleaned up. Sadly, it looked worse the next day, but he was a good sport and is still excited about going riding next year.

Thanks for a great trip Scott and Liese! We love you!

P.S. The pictures taken of all of us were taken by Liese - she managed conveniently to cut herself out of the pictures! Grandpa, I need a copy that has EVERYONE in it!!!

Has it really been 15 years??

Ted and I celebrated our fifteenth anniversary just a few days ago. We spent the evening at a great restaurant, had some yummy dessert, and then we came home to a surprise. Emma and the kids had decorated the kitchen with streamers and they each had wrapped up some treasures for us. When we came in we could smell freshly made cookies and they all yelled "surprise!" The treasures we received included fuse beads that said "love" and heart shapes, a few homemade bracelets, and a few of the younger kids' favorite toys.

Happy anniversary babe. Here's to 50 more!

The Wolf Badge

Lincoln just received his Wolf Badge in scouting - what a great night! The night included a stream, an award, s'mores, a fire, a dead fish....what more could an 8-year-old ask for? Here he is pinning the mother's award on me, and then receiving his own. Way to go Linc!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fire scare

I am so grateful to have an inspired prophet who tells us to be prepared. Last night there was a fire on the bluff above us at the end of our subdivision. It began as a brush fire but quickly traveled up the bluff to several homes. It was a 4-alarm fire which quickly became a "general alarm" fire which means they call out all firefighters. It was jumping streets, and people were evacuated with no more than a moments notice. Several people weren't even able to get shoes on before they left! While we were comforted that we were not in any immediate danger due to excellent preventative measures taken by the firefighters, I was grateful that we had 72-h0ur kits ready at hand. As a few neighbors packed up their cars with their important items I realized that there is more to be done to be prepared, but I was grateful that we had a few essentials ready to go.

It was so devastating to watch as several families watched their homes burn in front of them. A total of 10 homes were burned literally to the ground, there was one death, and several other homes were damaged. Such a devastating experience for so many, and a cruel reminder to get all things in order.

First Day of School

Well, the school year got off to a great start - I can't believe that Sam is in Kindergarten, let alone that Linc is in third grade and Emma in sixth grade! Time flies. Here they all are for the traditional first day pictures!

The only tears we had were when Sam realized that we were driving him to school -- he has been waiting to ride the bus for years! Also, Tessa was a bit devastated when she realized she wasn't staying at school. She was convinced that all of the fanfare was for her!

My greatest blessings

On Saturday we took the kids to see Kung Fu Panda at the dollar theater. It was quite an adventure: Standing in line hoping there would still be seats, trying to balance what feels like 50 sodas while you walk to your seats, shuffling seats 10 times to make sure everyone has a good view, comforting the child with the spilled popcorn, wiping melted chocolate on your pants because there are no more napkins, ahhhh... But then the movie starts and all seems to be going well. Tessa loved it...for five minutes. Then she loved running up and down the aisles seeing if her voice could echo. That's when you do the speedy dash out of the movie theater and start walking along the shops that sit next to the theater.

I finally made my way to Deseret Book (hey, I had to do some primary stuff anyways, right?) Tessa loved that too. She especially loved walking with her hand out to her side realizing that she can swiftly knock about 40 things off the shelf before mom can react. She was giggling and having a great time while I scurried around trying to pick up all that had been knocked down.

It was at that point that I looked up and saw this print: I knew I had to have it immediately.

Suddenly the situation seemed almost enjoyable. We picked up a few things, made our way to the side walk, played some peek-a-boo, ran around for a bit, and I listened to her squealing and giggling and tried to memorize it so I would never forget it.

I can't wait to go to the movies again.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Swim Team

Summer is in full swing, which means mornings full of swimming. Emma and Lincoln do swim team, and the kids love it. It gets us up and out of the house relatively early so I love it too. Each week they have a swim meet which lasts about four hours. It really is fun to see how the kids have improved since last year, but we have absolutely loved seeing their confidence increase. Here are a few pictures of the kids at the last swim meet. Emma does freestyle relay, freestyle, and breast stroke (her favorite by far). Lincoln also does freestyle relay, freestyle, and breast stroke, but he also has added butterfly this year. We were really surprised that he wanted to try this because he really hasn't ever learned to do this stroke. When we asked if he was sure he wanted to try this he said, "Yeah - it's fun to try new things...right, mom?" How do you argue with that?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Catching up......

Even though I would love to feel like I am catching up, I have given up on ever being truly "caught up." The last little bit has been hectic to say the least. I know that everyone has crazy schedules, and our house was no exception. However, here is a brief update on a few of the highlights that took place over the last two months.

1. Emma finished her soccer season. I wish I had pictures to share, but because Ted was coaching and I was always at baseball, the games that I got to see where few and far between. However, she had a great season and did great!

2. Baseball - what a great season! Lincoln's team really did well. Not only did the accuracy of their throws and catches improve dramatically, but they all worked on knowing how to play truly as a team and make the best play. It was a fun season for Lincoln to play, and it was fun to watch as well. In addition, Sammy was "bat boy". He took his job very seriously and made sure that the bats and helmets were neatly lined up at the beginning of every inning. As a matter of fact, they started one game early and Sam was about three minutes late - when he got there the coaches all commented on how neat and orderly he kept things, and without him it was a confusing mess. It made Sam feel extra important, and he loved every minute of it!

3. Emma finished her Showtime performances. Each year we are more amazed at how her abilities and confidence grow. What a great time they had, and it was fun to watch them perform various Broadway songs.

4. Ted's bike race season started! He has done several time trials, a 50 mile race, and the Sugarhouse criterium. He did great in all of them. The 50 mile race made me a bit nervous because there was an extremely steep hill that even with brakes on and staying towards the back of the group to avoid going too fast, he was going 46 mph. The kids LOVE watching for dad, and Sam has mastered what his helmet looks like and can often point him out before any of us can see him. Still more races to come, but here are some pictures of the most recent: Sugarhouse Criterium.

5. Extending the patio. We realized that we needed more room on our patio, and we needed to get rid of a tree that was too big for the space. We also had to have some fence removed get the picture. We decided to do this ourselves - and we are glad, now. During the process we kept wondering if we were nuts. We are still waiting for the thyme to really grow in between the rocks, but it is coming along nicely, and we have already enjoyed several dinners outside.

6. Gopher trouble. This seems to be a yearly battle with us. This year it got so bad that every day we would awake to four new gopher holes - our yard was thrashed. We decided that drastic times called for drastic measures. The poison hadn't worked. The traps weren't doing anything. So we called Burrow Busters. You can see their website at to get the real idea of how they explode the holes, but essentially they pump some gas deep down into the hole and then spark it. The spark ignites the gas, and the tunnels explode/implode, and hopefully eliminate the gophers. However, the tunnels were so extensive that they exploded all underneath our garden, our neighbor's garden, and around our sprinkler boxes. The sprinkler boxes were completely destroyed, and a few pipes were broken. Those have since been fixed, and we have been relatively free of gophers. We did have a few gopher holes after that, but this time the poison seemed to work - at least we are crossing our fingers that it did.

7. Family pictures - yeah! - sort of. Actually it was a pretty pleasant experience. I am always wondering what we look like as there are about eight people trying to get one 1-year-old to smile and look at the camera. Maybe the perfect picture is actually the picture that truly depicts the family, which is not perfect at all. At least that is what we are hoping. Here is one picture of all of us together, and one that will show you about the best smile we got of Tessa - you'll note that she isn't smiling.... I haven't gotten the pictures of the older kids yet - but here is a good one of Sammy, too.

8. Sammy graduated from preschool. We all LOVE Mrs. Patricia. Seriously, she is the nicest person I think I have ever met in my whole life. Sam loved preschool, and this sets the stage for how excited he is to be in kindergarten riding the bus with his older brother and sister. Here is a picture of Sam with Mrs. Patricia at graduation. He is growing up so fast!

9. Visiting Utah and seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! We also just got back from Utah where we got to see Grandpa Thompson conduct a few songs of Music and The Spoken Word at the Conference Center. It was such a wonderful morning! I forget how powerful the Mormom Tabernacle Choir is - it really was great to see him up there!

10. The older kids just started swim team this week - and they have been swimming even though it is only 46 degrees outside (they are tougher than me). We'll have pictures of their meets in the future.
How crazy life gets, but how grateful we are for all the wonderful opportunities that have come our way! Here's looking forward to another couple of crazy wonderful months!