Friday, January 31, 2014

To the mailbox

Everyday as soon as Hunter gets home from school Hudson starts following him around the house waiting for Hunter to ask him.  Hunter will drop off his backpack, get a drink or a quick snack and then say "Hudson, do you want to go for a stroller ride?"  Hudson will start clapping and book it as fast as he can to the back door and try reaching for the doorknob.  He knows what's coming.  Hunter picks him up and carries him outside, puts him in the stroller and off they go.  Hunter will stroll him over to the mailboxes and get the mail, then they go through the park and usually stop to swing for a minute before walking back around the block towards home.  
Hudson says bye and waves at me, then kicks his legs and starts pointing as if to tell Hunter "alright already, lets get going!"  As they head on their way I can hear Hunter talking to him, showing him things and asking if he sees any birds anywhere.  I sit on the porch and wait for them.
When I see them come around the corner headed down the street towards home it always hits me what a great big brother Hunter is.  Not every ten year old boy would willingly take his baby brother out for a stroll everyday.  The thing is that I think that he enjoys it just as much as Hudson does, having that time together.  I am so glad that they have each other and despite their age gap they have a special bond with each other, one that I will continue to love watching.

Baby Lab at ATSU

The YMCA sits right next to AT Still University, a school for medical students.  They had posted a flyer up at the Y saying that the second year human development students were having their annual "baby lab" where they observe babies between the ages of newborn and fifteen months.  They were in need of babies to observe in these age ranges.  I remembered my child development classes in college and felt like Hudson would definitely be an interesting baby to observe so I called the professor and signed him up.  We woke up, had breakfast and then headed to the campus.  They had a room all set up with mats and toys everywhere.  Hudson was totally happy and got busy playing.  Soon the students came in and we introduced our babies.  Hudson and another baby named Austin were the only two babies that could walk out of the ten babies participating in the study.  The professor then assigned two students to each baby and they came over and introduced themselves and then started playing with Hudson.  He was being a total ham ball, it was great.  He waved at them and said "hello!" then showed them how he could kick a ball, identify his eyes, nose, mouth and hair, gave high fives, said all sorts of words for them.  It cracked me up how floored they were at how many things he can say.  (He reminds me so much of Hunter with his verbal/social skills) 
Soon it was time to rotate and another pair of students came over to greet us.  Again Hudson was ready to put on a show of all the things he could do.  It made me smile to hear them discussing his different movements and have them ask me questions about his development.  Taking notes as they observed and interacted with him.  By the time the third group came over to us he had found the play food and had put it on plates.  He picked up a plate with some cake on it and walked over to another group of people next to us and sat it down in the middle of them.  Satisfied he came back over and got another plate with a piece of chicken on it and carried it to a different group and once again sat it down in the middle of them.  "Hello" he said and then grinned and headed back to get more food.  He socializes just like Hunter did at his age.  Not afraid of anyone, everyone is his friend and he wants to be a part of every social things happening in the room.  So funny.
We continued our rotations through all the students for two hours and then it was time to go.  The students all gathered on the mat with their teacher and began discussing their observations as the parents filed out.  Emma spent way too long picking out which type of muffin she wanted at the little table they had set up for the families and we were the last ones in there.  As I hurried her out I handed Hudson a muffin and picked him up to leave.  He wiggled wanting out of my arms so I put him down to walk.  He walked by the door, turned to the entire group of students, muffin in hand and said "Bye!!" and started waving.  "Bye Hudson!" they all started calling back to him.  He grinned as if he had reached celebrity status and kept waving and saying it over and over until I had to pick him up and carry him out with him protesting "out, out" which really meant put me down.  
They were all cracking up and I couldn't help but laugh myself even as he scowled at me in the elevator wanting me to know he was still not happy with me for interrupting his moment.  Mr. Magoo you are a hoot that's for sure.  I only wish I could've been a little fly on the wall as they discussed their observations to see what they thought about you little man :) :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Gilbert temple

We had the opportunity to take our family through the Gilbert temple open house.  Shortly after Em was born we went down to the Gila valley temple open house, it was a special experience for our family.  Since this temple is in close proximity to us we have been able to watch it be built from the ground up which has been so neat.  At least once a month if not more driving over to check on its progress.  One trip we went inside the information center and the kids each were given a piece of the rock used to build the temple.  They have kept them on their dressers and talked excitedly for months about getting to go inside.  
It was great to see that there were so many people there and we only waited a few minutes before we were taken in to see a video about the temple and start our tour.  The girls got cold waiting in line and decided to snuggle for warmth :) :)
There were so many people to get through the tours that the tour moved very fast and so Deke and I hung in the back of our group and talked quietly to the kids about the different rooms we were seeing as we went along.  It is so beautiful.  The agave plant is a special part of the decor of the temple and the kids kept finding the flower symbol everywhere as we walked.  The kids were so reverent and whispered excitedly to us about the different things they saw.
When we walked into the celestial room it was breathtaking.  Hudson who had been quietly looking around with his binky in the entire time pulled his binky out, tossed it to the floor and said "wooowwwwww" and stared up at the incredible chandelier.  The entire time we walked through the room I kept trying to quiet him down because he kept saying "wow, wow, wow" over again over again.  Staring and pointing and saying it.  It was precious.  Everyone around us kept smiling at him and the kids tried to stifle their giggles.  It was such a genuine expression I think of what everyone else was thinking.  When I think of this day I will remember that moment in that room with all of our little kids and our sweet baby's expression of wonder at this sacred place.  I am so thankful to get to have our kids go inside the temple.  We have been having a lot of discussions about it since then and look forward to going back on Valentine's Day again before it closes.
After that we went out to dinner and just had a really great night as a family.  Every time I look at this picture of Ave I can't believe how big she looks :( These are my favorite days :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Prayer rock

Emma loves Sunbeams.  She loves Sis Hiatt and the fact that her teacher "has a baby in her belly!"  Last Sunday Deke picked her up from class and she came running up to me holding up a little pink plaid sack.  "Oh that is pretty" I told her, "did your teacher make that for you?" She grinned, "yep and inside is my special rock.  It's a prayer rock."  She dumped out the bag and a rock fell into her palm adorned with stickers and her name written in marker.  "I have to put it under my pillow and then tonight I will bonk my head on it and that reminds me to say my prayers." "I love my prayer rock" she added and then hurried over to show Avery and Hunter.  We headed home and sat down to eat lunch, I went in to get Emma and overheard her talking to the rock as she got it all situated under her pillow.  I was so proud of her that she had not only listened to her teacher but she understood the concept and was being so obedient hurrying in to put her prayer rock under her pillow before she did anything else.  
That night I went to tuck her into bed and she started to cry.  "Mom, I laid my head down and bonked my head and then I said my prayer."  I was confused.  "Good job Emma, you remembered what to do and said your prayer.  You are such a good listener, why are you sad?"  "I love my prayer rock but it hurts my head" she told me clearly feeling conflicted. Realizing now what was going on I reached my hand under the pillow where the rock still lay directly underneath her head. I went and grabbed the little poem that had come with the rock. "Oh Em, remember after you say your prayer you toss the rock on the ground so in the morning you will bump your toe on it and it will remind you to say your morning prayer??" "Now that you said your prayer you need to toss the rock on the ground for in the morning."  She looked at me and smiled with relief, "oh ya, that's right silly Emma" she laughed and then gratefully pulled the rock out and tossed it to the floor.  She rolled over to her side, "Night mom, night Ariel, night Elsa, night rock."  Oh my goodness little gal I could not love you more.  As I walked back to my room I couldn't help but be touched spiritually by my little three year old.  It was important to her to be obedient.  She was going to sleep on her rock even if it hurt or was uncomfortable because that was what her teacher and mom and dad had told her to do.  I am often amazed by my children's desire to do good and be obedient. I am glad that Emma wants to talk to Heavenly Father, that it is a priority in her three year old world to make time for that everyday.  Emma I hope that you always continue to love praying and keep good communication with Him.  Her love for Him is so pure and genuine.  My kids are so humbling to me with the amount of faith that they so easily seem to have.  It definitely makes me want to do much better for myself.  Time to get outside and find me a rock I guess :) :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Avery got an easel for Christmas.  She is my kid that always has a paper and pencils writing or drawing something.  The other day all the kids wanted to paint and so we brought out Ave's easel and they each took a turn painting something for dad when he got home from work.
I stripped Mr. Man down to his diaper and put him in his high chair so he could get his first experience with paint.  Of course after having watched the older kids he knew just what to do.  He dipped his brush in the paint, mixed a few different colors and then swiped it across the paper.  He kept his eyebrows slightly furrowed the whole time in deep concentration over his artwork.
It had been awhile since we busted out paint and I had forgotten just how fun it is :) :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Picking turnips

We have lived in our house for five years now and talked several times about going out to visit Schnepf farms.  We finally went to check it out. Our family days together where we head off on these spontaneous trips places are always my favorite days.  Most of the rides and craft vendors and activities happen on the first Saturday of the month which had already passed but we went instead to try out the farms "u pick" garden.  Each of the kids got a basket and we headed out to the garden to pick what veggies were currently available.  All different varieties of lettuce, spinach, radishes, green tomatoes, peas and turnips.  Deke grabbed a shovel and showed the kids how to harvest the different kinds of vegetables.  The kids were in heaven.  They got right down in the dirt and started pulling up the biggest veggies they could find.  Hunter and Avery went carefully down the rows searching for the one that they though would be the biggest and then comparing them with each other.  Imagine their surprise when Em pulled out the largest one of them all a turnip that was half the size of her head!! We all laughed when she pulled with all of her might and launched herself backwards on her behind trying to get it out.  Dad came to her rescue and she got wide eyed as soon as she saw it yelling "I got the biggest one!! Hunter, Ave look at mine!!"
The kids would gather five or six of one kind and then run up a ways to a new row and start pulling up the next kind.  It was fun to watch which vegetables they chose to fill their baskets with and to watch them pull them out and how excited they were about all of it.  It was so much fun.  To be outside in the nice weather no one else really around but our little family working together.  Oh how I wish we had room for a garden.  There is just something so amazing about watching seeds go into the ground and so quickly turn into little plants that then grow to produce delicious foods.  It is so neat to watch the growing process and such a sense of accomplishment to feel a part of it.
The kids all filled their baskets and then we headed back to the country store to weigh our goods.  As we loaded them all into bags, the kids talked about trying all the things they had picked.  Everything I could find an easy use for except the beets because I have tried them a couple times and think they are gross to be quite honest.  Thank goodness we only got a couple.  However the turnips were a head scratcher for me since I have never had one.
We grabbed up some pecan rolls to eat because you have to get dessert if you eat all your veggies....
Then took Hudson for a train ride since he had been pointing at it all afternoon every time it went by.
So now we have all these turnips because of course the girls thought that they "were pretty" and I have looked up every known turnip recipe on Pinterest that I can find.  Believe me this is not all of them (just the ones lucky enough to make the photo shoot :) :) )  We will be trying them mixed in with potatoes done mashed and loaded with chives and bacon and then shredded hashbrown style with cheese in another recipe as well.  We'll see how it goes :)