Tuesday, March 30, 2010

More pictures of Baby Russell, and crazy hair day

Raelin came home from school yesterday and the first thing out of her mouth was, "Can we go to Baby Russell's house?"
It was crazy hair day at Ryker's school today. Here's his wild hair! It was a hit!
And I wanted to do something different with Alaina's hair today. I usually only have two hairdo's I choose from: piggy tails or "half up." Her hair is pretty long but it's also really thin on top, so I have a hard time coming up with things to do with it. But today I got more creative.
She's so cute all the time! I love her bright and expressive little face!


So, you know how you hear those awesome stories on the news about 4 and 5 year olds that save lives? There was one recently about a little 5 year old girl that saved her dad's life by calling 911 because her dad had a heart attack. She stayed calm and collected on the phone and answered all the dispatcher's questions until help arrived. There are even stories about dogs who can sense their diabetic owners' low blood sugar levels and save them from insulin shock. Crazy stuff! What about the little kid who saved everyone in the apartment complex by pulling the fire alarm? Well, I don't have a kid like that (at least, there hasn't been a need yet, fortunately). I have the kid who sets off the fire alarm, but not for the sake of saving lives.

Yesterday evening we were at the hospital visiting my sister and her new baby. Brice and the kids left before I did so I could hang out a little longer. A minute or two after they left, a nurse came through and said she needed to shut the door to Gina's room. Then it registered that there was an alarm going off. Toby wondered if maybe someone was trying to get into that wing of the hospital that wasn't supposed to come in. Then the intercom said, "Code red, Women's Center Lobby." And I said, "Uh oh, what did Ryker do?"

Well you see this:Whose idea was it to put this right next to the exit doors? Ryker and Raelin were too little to set off the automatic door sensors and when Ryker saw this red box there next to the door, he thought it was the door opener (like the handicapped buttons you push to get the doors to open automatically), so he pulled it! Gotta love life with little kids! :0)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Brice got into grad school!!!!!!!

WOOOHOOOO! We are so excited! Brice's schooling plan has included a master's degree for a long time, especially since the program at BYU is only a year to a year and a half long. He'd been worried, though, because when you're going to school full time and your wife is too and you have to work and you have several kids, grades sometimes aren't perfect (something has to give!). So he was worried they wouldn't be good enough to get him in. But he got an e-mail today telling him that he was accepted! He's SO happy! Today is an exciting day! We need to have a big party!

Baby Russell is HERE!!!

My sister had her baby this morning! Russell Alan Stark was born at 7:04 am on Monday March 29, 2010. He weighs 8 lbs 8 oz and is 21 inches long.

Russell was kinda sad to be getting poked and prodded and squeezed and to be away from his mommy (she was across the room), hence his frowny little face in these pictures, but Raelin held his little hands and made him feel better. He would startle any time she let go of him.
Gina's labor was loooooong and hard, but she made it without any drugs of any kind! She's amazing! She started having pressure waves (Hypnobabies lingo for contractions) days ago, but her Hypnobabies hypnosis made them painless. Until they started to go into her back. She had back pressure/labor for TWO DAYS before Russell was born! Toby had to put LOTS of pressure on her lower back during pressure waves to help ease the pain, and now her back is swollen and bruised from all that pushing and rubbing. She went in to the hospital this morning at about 1:00 with really close and long contractions and was only 3 cm dilated (she said, "Are you kidding me!!" I'd have said the same thing!). At about 6:40, her water broke and after that things moved FAST! She was only dilated to 3 cm still, but less than a half hour later she was complete and ready to push, before the doctor even got there! The doctor did get there in time to catch, though.I'm so impressed with her that she was able to go natural when her labor was so long! After laboring for so long and then getting to the hospital only 3 cm dilated, I would have gotten an epidural. But Gina did it! She's awesome! Her Hypnobabies hypnosis helped a lot through early labor, but she hadn't anticipated back labor and hadn't practiced her hypnosis with that scenario in mind. It was hard for her to direct her endorphins to her back when she'd been practicing sending them to her tummy. But Mommy, Daddy, and baby are all feeling great! Healthy and happy and TIRED!

Back where he belongs: on Mommy's tummy. Much happier now!

Alaina's vocabulary

You don't have to read this; it's not very exciting. But one day we hope to make our blog into a scrapbook, so I want to have some of the kids' milestones documented here. So these are Alaina's communication skills as of about 14 months old.

Things Alaina can say:

Ma-mee (Mommy)
Dadda or Aah-eee
Ah-la (Hola)
Huh-wo (Hello)
Ow (Out)
Buh-bo (Bubble)
Aaaaahk (Honk)
Vah-vo or Mah-mo (Mano--hand in Spanish)
Eeeeease (Please)
Uh-uh (uh huh, as in yes)
Dadadadad (Granddad)
Ah-beee (So big)

Animal noises:

Arf (dog)
Bock BOCK! (chicken)
Brice's dinosaur noise
Mow (Cat)
Queek (Mouse)
Galederleder (Turkey)
Raaah (Roar)
Chccc (Pig snort)
Ooh Ah (Monkey)

Things she signs:

All gone
All done
Thank you
No, thank you

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I realize that I have lots of Ryker stories and even more Alaina stories, but not very many Raelin stories. There are a couple of reasons for this. Raelin is more serious, more obedient, and more independent. We have fewer interactions. It makes for an easy child, but not a whole lot of stories. She's also gone most of the day at school and I see her less. When she is around, she prefers to play/fight with Ryker or read or do some sort of craft. Also, most everything I would have to say about her would pretty much be bragging rather than story-telling. She's my easiest kid and my hardest kid at the same time. She's emotional and sensitive and easy to damage, so she needs less direction, correction, and coaching, but a lot more care and thought from me in the ways I interact with her. So I'd better make sure she gets some recognition on the blog before I hurt her feelings! Get ready for some bragging!

I took some pictures of Raelin the other day and have been meaning to create a post about this since. I'm glad I didn't get to it until today because now there is more to tell.

First, some background. Raelin's birthday is in November. In California, the school cutoff is in December, so she would have started kindergarten last year if we lived there. But here, the cutoff is in September so she was supposed to wait until this year and she should be in kindergarten right now. Well, that just didn't seem right to me. Raelin has always been such a smart cookie and a bit of an old soul and she's been ready for school for a LONG time. And if we go back to California like I hope we will, she would be a year older than all her peers. One of the things I learned in college was that, for girls, this is generally bad. Typically, girls who are older than their peers have a higher risk of negative outcomes (like early promiscuity, low self-esteem, running with the wrong crowd, drug use, etc.) while being a late bloomer is associated with more positive teenage outcomes (confidence, ambition, better grades, safer sex practices, etc.). The opposite is true for boys--being older and/or an early bloomer is better for them typically. Anyway, I worried that being SO much older if we ended up in California would really be hard for her later on. So I did some homework and figured out that I could put her in any grade I wanted for the school year that started after her 5th birthday. So she skipped kindergarten and went right into first grade this year (incidentally, if you are going to do this with your kid, don't talk about it in terms of skipping kindergarten--just say to the child and everyone else that you homeschooled kindergarten. It gets a lot less grief from adults and peers alike. We learned that the hard way).

We really didn't do all the prep I'd hoped we would. I planned to get her reading some and to teach her all the basic things you learn in kindergarten. Well, life got kinda crazy and she wasn't really reading when school started and we hadn't covered all the math concepts or much of anything really. Fortunately, Brice naturally does a lot of math stuff with the kids and Raelin had a good foundation for that. Also, even though Raelin wasn't reading, she had been read to a ton by Brice and me (she and Ryker have an uncanny ability to memorize books--I have to keep good learning-to-read books separate and hidden so they don't memorize them before they are ready to try reading them on their own) and she loved books, so she had a good foundation there too. But still quite behind where I'd hoped she would be at the start of the year. But like I said, she's a smart cookie and she was reading almost as soon as school started, pretty much just taking the time to figure it out and not wanting to be left behind. Her math skills turned out to be well ahead of the game (good job, Brice!) and everything else has been coming along nicely. Her teacher was a little worried at the beginning of the year, but I wasn't because I'd seen how much she had learned in such a short time. So it's been a good fit; challenging but doable.

On to the main story. The other day Raelin got ready for school pretty early (before the time change--she's not much of a morning person and has barely made it to the bus on time this week. I wonder where she gets that?) and told me that she wanted to go out to the bus stop early to read. I told her that she had 20 minutes and she could read in the house where it was warm for a while first. She said, "But I don't want to have to stop in the middle to go out there and then start again!" So out she went. She sat on the curb at the bus stop for 20 minutes in the cold by herself reading "Matilda" by Roald Dahl!
Now, if you know this book, you know that this is the kind of book that a third-grade teacher might read TO the class for story time, but it certainly isn't the kind of book anyone would suggest to a first-grader to read on their own. When Raelin picked it out of the closet, I almost discouraged her, but then I remembered that I always wanted to master the hardest thing and not waste my time with the stuff that was more appropriate for my skill levels. So I gave her the book. And she's been cruising right along! So impressive, especially considering she wasn't reading much at all 5 months ago! She's also reading another "chapter book" at the same time. The fact that they are "chapter books" is extraordinarily important--just ask Raelin and she'll tell you all about it.
Now, the reason I'm glad I waited to create this post is because today was parent-teacher conferences. When I met with Raelin's teacher, she had nothing but praise for smart little Raelin! She said that she had been a little worried around the time of the first p-t conferences when I'd told her how young Raelin was and because Raelin's reading was below average at that time, but now she's caught up and passed the expected skill level! Mrs. C said good for me for getting her into school early; she's such a smart girl! She's ahead on her reading, ahead on her math and right on par for everything else. First grade is definitely where she should be! Go Raelin! I'm so proud of her for working so hard and loving to learn! I love to see her reading and enjoying books so much and I'm so impressed with how fast she is picking up new skills and developing old ones.

And here's a cute picture of the other two at Grammie's house. We've been there a lot lately helping my sister refinish some dressers in preparation for her new baby, Russell, who could come at any time!
Sorry for the lack of pictures and the excessive writing, but like I said, Raelin isn't around as much as the other kids; I don't have as many pictures of her. This summer I promise to get LOTS though!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Playing outside!! And some other stuff

Wow, this is really irritating. My computer is taking FOREVER to load the pictures from the memory card to the computer. I just want to click through them, for crying out loud! But, noooo. It takes about 15 seconds for each picture to load. Ugh.

Anyway, It's finally starting to warm up (on occasion) around here. Some days are warmish and then three hours later it might snow. You never know. But the warm days give me hope that I'm not stuck in some sort of global cooling trend. I'll take global warming over global cooling any day.

One day we went over to the park by our house and played. The kids had a great time being out of the house. Especially Alaina. She doesn't get recess like the other kids do. But at least we could all go out without freezing in 5 minutes.

Last Sunday, we sent the kids off to get dressed and Ryker comes back like this. You can't expect much since neither Brice or I have any fashion sense, but you'd think that maybe he'd recognize that nothing he was wearing matched after we pointed it out. Nope. He was a bit hurt that we found his outfit funny. Poor guy.Brice has been wanting a 9mm handgun for a long time. He found a really cheap one and had been hoping to get it for his birthday. I told him that I wasn't able to get it in time. He has this annoying habit of figuring out what his presents are before he opens them by shaking them and feeling them through the paper. Drives me nuts! So I lied. I told him that there were a bunch of hoops I had to jump through because my driver's license wasn't updated with our current address. It's true that I had to update my address, but I was able to do it online and it only took a day for the DMV to change it. But I told Brice that I had to submit the info in writing via snail mail and that it is, after all, the DMV. He was disappointed, but moved on with life. But then he opened his gun and...
was totally surprised! Hahahahahaha, I'm so sneaky!

Monday, March 1, 2010

No nap today

Ryker cracks me up even when he's throwing fits:

"Mommy why are you always starving us?!! You never give us any food!"

(I'd just given them rather large rice crispy treats, carrots and dip, and cheese. An hour before that, they had cupcakes--lots of sugar, I know. Bad! And dinner's in an hour)

Now the sobbing begins. "I'm starving! Why don't you ever feed us! You're starving us!"

"Why don't you go to your room and eat your arm."

"Noooo! Then I won't have an arm!" Still sobbing.

"It will grow back."

Still sobbing, "No it won't! Only lizards can grow things back."

Sidenote: Yes, I realize this is my 4th post today. It's been a waiting game all day. Waiting, in the end, to do nothing. At least I got the downstairs cleaned up! And hopefully gave you something interesting to do on your computer.

Great Laugh

I heard crazy amounts of intense laughter coming from the girls' room and I went to investigate. This is what I found. Alaina just thinks Raelin is the funniest thing in the world! I only caught the tail end of their laughing session on video, but at least it's something!

Lest you be deceived

I've posted several of my sewing successes, but I would hate to have you mistakenly believe that I am some sort of master sewer; far from it. Here's the proof. I mean just look at this thing! What the...!?Raelin was kinda sad after Christmas when she realized that she was now the only one without a stuffed mousie. Ryker has had one for a long time that he got from his Aunt Melissa and he loves it. Now Alaina got one for Christmas. And poor little Raelin feels downtrodden, as she the only child to remain mousie-less. I've looked high and low (she had money from Christmas that she wanted to use to get a mouse) at every store I go to, but alas, no mousies to be had anywhere! So I thought, well, someone sews these stuffed animals; maybe I could do it. Mmmm, not so much. Fortunately, she still loves it. Unfortunately, it's not exactly the sturdiest thing I've ever sewn (tiny circles are hard to sew!) and it is destined to a short life. In the meantime, in preparation for a day not too far in the future when this little guy will find his way into the trash, the mousie hunt continues...

Clarification of my explanation

So, a friend of mine pointed out that the background is just fine, but the problem is that Alaina is the only one represented in the header labeled "The Somers Family." Well, now, there's an oversight! (Don't worry, Andria, this post is really just an excuse to post some funny pictures of R&R.) But she's so darn cute, can you blame me?! At any rate, the reason for that is that she's the only one I seem to get good pictures of! Every time the camera comes out, I get things like this:Or this:Or this:And if I try to get myself in a picture (Brice isn't usually around to take pictures and he doesn't often think of taking them when he is around), you get this:And we are just boring:So Alaina, being around me the most and being cute rather than silly (I can't tell you how often the kids want me to take pictures of their hand or the pen they're holding or something else no one wants a picture of) and posing for me like Alaina will:you just naturally end up with lots of great pictures of her and not so many of the other kids. Summer ought to change that. I love taking pictures outside, so I'll be taking more then. And I also don't have many recent ones of all the kids or the whole family. I thought about making a collage, but I have to figure out if I even have a program that will let me do it, then I have to figure out how to use it. Maybe one day I'll have a more appropriate picture to put up with "The Somers Family" but for now, it's just little Alaina with her big eyelashes! I must say, though, I love opening up to my blog and seeing that pretty little face!