Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ryker's face-plant

Poor Ryker! He had occupational therapy today and he had a great time trying out THREE different kinds of swings! He loves to swing and today he got to try two new ones he'd never used before. He was having a ball! Then his therapist put him in this stretchy sack that velcroed up the back with his whole body (including his head) inside. The idea was that the therapist would sit on his rolling chair and hold the back of the sack and Ryker had to pull him around the room. Sounds simple enough. Ryker was pulling with all his might, but his therapist is well over 6 feet tall, so he wasn't really making any headway. Suddenly, his feet slipped out from under him and, since his hands were restrained by the sack, he went straight to his face! Oh, it looked so painful and sounded just AWFUL! Ouch! He started crying and doing his owie dance while his therapist worked to extricate him from his prison. I would have panicked, being so hurt and stuck in a sack like that! We got him out and started assessing the damage. His nose was bleeding and he had a small cut on the outside of his lip. He's hit his nose and gotten bloody noses before (including at another OT appointment, if you recall), but I've never seen his nose swell up before. Poor guy. He really hit it hard. I won't be the least bit surprised if he ends up with a black eye or two. He sat in Brice's lap for a few minutes until he was feeling a little better, but he still said he wanted to go home. The thing that I just love about Ryker is his forgiving nature. His therapist said, "Do you hate me?" and Ryker's immediate response was, "No, I still like you." The words just don't quite capture the emotion though. He was just so offhanded about it, like it was no big deal. If somebody had just about broken MY nose, and for the second time no less, I'd be kinda mad at them for a while. At least until I stopped bleeding and hurting. But not Ryker. It's like it never crosses his mind to be angry or upset about anything other than the pain. The kid's got character.

Raelin's cake

Yesterday, Raelin wanted to make cookies. I told her to get out my cook book and choose a recipe. She chose Texas Sheet Cake (after she started, she realized it was cake and not cookies. Oops!). I've never made it before but I let her go for it. She started mixing ingredients and measuring them herself and everything. Then she said there was no more flour. Uh oh. I told her to just use some wheat flour to make up the difference. Then I thought to tell her to pre-heat the oven. She didn't know where to look for the temperature to set it for, so I came to take a look. Uh oh. The directions said to boil the butter, water and cocoa first and then add the dry ingredients. Too late now. She finished making the batter and I poured it into the pan for her and we tossed it in the oven. It took an hour to cook rather than the 20-25 minutes the recipe said. So, needless to say, I was a bit concerned about how this cake was going to turn out. Fortunately, it came out of the oven LOOKING like a cake...

Now for the taste test. Wow! It's actually quite good! You can certainly taste the wheat flour and it's better with frosting, but it's super moist and dense--more like zucchini or pumpkin bread. I really like it! Great job, Raelin! And she cleaned up pretty well after herself, too! I just wish I'd thought to take pictures!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Professional pictures

Well, sort of. I have a friend who wanted to borrow a wooden stool to use as a prop in some pictures she wanted to take. I volunteered Ryker's red one. She offered to take some pictures of my kids in exchange. I totally got the sweet end of the deal, but hey, I'll take it!! She's not a professional photographer but I'd say she could be! Check these out!

While Alaina takes wonderful candids, she wasn't really getting the idea of a photo shoot. Guess she thought we were looking for a good mug shot.

Another mug shot of Alaina
Bribery works! I held up an M&M and asked her if she wanted a treat.
I'll take that as a yes.
Starting to complain because I'm not giving her treats fast enough. But if you've ever seen her with an M&M, you'll understand. That colorful candy shell ends up as colorful candy drool all down her chin and on her shirt. Not attractive for picture-taking.
"Want more treat! NOW! Or I'll kill you with my laser vision"
All four monkeys!
Love, love, love it! I never get professional pictures taken of my kids and I always wish I could. Now I have some and they make me SO HAPPY!

Monday, August 2, 2010

To Clarify...

I have 2 clarifications to make regarding the previous post:

1. Not knowing anything about the great outdoors does not necessarily make one a stupid person; however, choosing to go caving without being properly prepared is the sort of thing that would certainly indicate stupidity. Are you HOPING to earn a Darwin Award?

2. According to Brice, the cliff I was talking about is not one that would result in certain death if you fell like I made it out to be. He says that if you tumbled as you fell, you might not stop until you hit the creek bed at the bottom. That sort of fall could kill you. But if you were smart and spread yourself out as you fell so that you slid down, you'd just get a sound beating, but you'd live. I'd hate for Brice to read this and think I'd misrepresented the danger factor. This was a "it's possible that you might die if you fall" hike, not a "you're certain to die if you fall" sort of hike. Though we have gone on "you're certain to die if you fall" hikes before (see my very first blog post--our anniversary trip to Zion's). Just not with kids. Oh, that's not true. The Timp caves hike is like that, but the trail is nice and wide and paved and Ryker was on a leash. I guess that one's a "you're certain to die if you fall off the edge" hike, but the likelihood of falling off the edge is slim.


Our 8th anniversary was on Tuesday and we had a GREAT day! Gina and Toby watched the kids (THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!) for us so we could have the day to ourselves (Landon came with us, of course, but he's easy--he doesn't talk). Brice and I wanted to go hiking and find a cave so we looked around on the Internet for a while and then we picked one we thought we'd be able to find (they don't tell you where any of them are unless you're part of a caving club--it helps preserve the caves and keep stupid people who don't know the first thing about the outdoors from getting themselves killed--caves are dangerous!). We started our hike and it was STEEP!! I'm pretty much a complete wuss about heights. If I don't have like three things to hold on to (yes, I realize I only have two hands), I'm totally chicken. This super-steep hike was on loose dirt and rocks (at least, they felt loose to me) and there was a one-wrong-step-and-you're-falling-to-your-doom cliff on one side of the trail. And this cliff wasn't like a foot or two from the trail; it was RIGHT THERE. Talk about walking on the edge! So we hiked for a while and Brice loved it because it was one of the few times in our married life that his damsel has been in distress and needed rescuing. Apparently guys love that. He was almost giddy to be my knight in shining armor and hold my trembling hand to practically pull me up the mountain (my arms and back were sore the next day from clinging to him for dear life). I must admit that I was giddy too, but from intense fear. Part way up, we decided that this might go a little better if Brice carried Landon. Having a helpless baby to protect on this treacherous expedition wasn't helping my fear or anxiety, or my coordination. But when I took Landon out of the carrier, I realized he was hungry. So I stopped to nurse him and Brice decided to go scout around for a few minutes. He was gone longer than a few minutes, but since I hadn't heard any rock slides, I was pretty sure he was safe. In fact, I was kind of hoping that he'd found the cave and was taking a peak inside at least a little because I was feeling like, unless the rest of the trail was NO WORSE than where we'd been, it just wasn't safe enough to go any further with Landon. Brice finally got back and said that it gets a LOT worse and that he found the cave (but didn't want to go in without me--plus it's not very smart to go into a cave alone anyway) and only made it back by the power of prayer. Yeah, end of that hike! Down we go! I pretty much slid on my butt the whole way down (and discovered that it wasn't as slippery as I'd feared on my way up... But still steep! Much safer sitting down; I don't get vertigo when I'm sitting on the edge of sudden death, only when I'm standing on the edge of it). We made it (safely) to the car and decided to go watch a movie at the dollar theater and then go for another hike so as not to hike through the hottest part of the day. We went and saw Iron Man 2. I must say that the Iron Man movies are my favorite comic book movies. Tony Stark cracks me up! Then we went down to Payson to hike a trail I'd seen a sign for a long time ago that I though sounded like fun. It's a short hike that's all in the shade and ends at a waterfall that's in a little grotto, hence the name Grotto Trail.It was a nice, cool hike that we decided to take the kids on soon. It had lots of footbridges and creek crossings that the kids would love. Then we decided to go to another dollar movie (Brice loves going to the movies and spending a grand total of $4 for an anniversary sounds great when you're on a tight budget!) and we saw Robin Hood. It was a really fun and simple anniversary celebration. We had a great time being together and I especially enjoyed getting to spend time with Brice (awake) without kid interruptions.

Life with four kids

Lots of people ask how it's going with four kids, so I'll tell ya. It's either going swimmingly or it's falling apart at the seams. For instance, right now, the house is peaceful and quiet and even somewhat clean! Alaina and Ryker are napping, Landon just fell asleep too and Raelin is reading quietly. I love nap time when it goes well. However, the scene from 30 minutes ago looked nothing even remotely like this one! Landon had woken up and was screaming for some attention, but I couldn't hold him and take Alaina potty so he had to wait. Alaina's been doing this thing where she wants to go to the potty every 5 minutes, but she won't actually GO ever. Raelin and Ryker had been working hard cleaning the upstairs all morning and they had earned coffee cake and were "dying" of starvation. I couldn't get the 13X9 pan full of cake out of the oven one handed, so Landon resumed screaming when I put him down. I also didn't want to eat holding Landon, but I was hungry too, so I tried to bounce him in a bouncy chair while I ate--I'm not that coordinated. Then Alaina was throwing her coffee cake all over the floor and on Landon's head, making him scream more. Alaina wanted to go potty again and getting her out of her chair to sit on the potty (but not go) results in crumbs all over the floor. Then Landon pooped. The older kids wanted milk. Alaina wanted milk. Landon wanted milk of a different variety. I wanted milk. Cups and milk all around and then Alaina wants to go pee again. Landon cries. Ryker spills his cake on the floor and needs help cleaning it up. Raelin tries to help him but he doesn't want her help. Everyone is screaming. Including me. That's having four kids at its worst. Most of the time it isn't like that. Getting ready to go somewhere, however, IS like that. Everyone needs help with every blessed thing--Raelin can NEVER find her shoes, Ryker can't find either the belt he wants or some socks, Alaina and Landon both need to be dressed by me and Alaina is certain to have carried off her shoes (she loves shoes) and left them in two different rooms in the house and Landon is bound to want to eat five minutes before it's time to leave. Oh, yeah, and I have to remember to dress myself. Don't forget that tiny detail.

I got brave the other day and let the kids finger paint with a little paint mixed with shaving cream. They had a pretty fun time. When I take Alaina in the shower with me, I put some shaving cream on the wall for her to use as soap so I don't have to keep filling up her hands with it. So she thought this was soap and by the end of this exercise, she was green all over. She worked particularly hard to wash her feet and her "privates." I told the other kids to paint the paper and not themselves even though Alaina was doing it. They had fun getting all goopy and writing their names in the shaving cream. I took Alaina up to give her a bath and seconds later, Ryker appeared with his whole leg and foot COVERED in green shaving cream! AAAAHHHH! I told him to rinse it off in the bath and I went down to survey the damage. Fortunately, he didn't track nearly as much through the house on the way to the bathroom as I was anticipating. I cleaned up what mess there was and went back up tot he bathroom. I found Ryker completely submerged in the tub with ALL HIS CLOTHES ON! AAAAHHHH! I told him to take his wet clothes off and get out of the tub. I left the room to try not to start screaming at him for all this trouble he'd caused when I was trying to do something fun for him. The next thing I heard was the distinct sound of sopping wet clothes being plopped on the carpet! AAAAHHHH! I yelled at Ryker to get his wet clothed OFF the carpet and get out of the tub and take a nap, for cryin' out loud! I'm sure Landon woke up and cried somewhere in the middle of this fiasco, but I can't remember for sure.

But most of the time, things aren't completely insane. It's usually only two kids (not shaving cream-covered green monsters) needing something at any given moment and one of them can usually be placated for at least a few minutes. Raelin is getting to be a big helper with Alaina. Ryker is a great fetcher of baby things. The two of them play together wonderfully most of the time. The biggest issue issue with the two of them is usually that I don't like the way they're talking to each other, so, while they would work it out on their own if I left them alone, I intervene to instruct them on speaking kindly. There's also a fair amount of tattling that I want to figure out how to eradicate. Oh, and the endless sneaking of food. I HATE that. Like I'm not going to notice that they just ate half the bag of Oreos. I don't even have to see the bag; the evidence is all over their faces and clothes! Hello! But other than that, the two older ones are really stepping up. They are doing a much better job of cleaning without arguing and that alone is making a huge difference! They really don't need a whole lot of help with most things so that frees me up to help the two babies and do all the things they need. The most difficult thing with the two babies is keeping Alaina out of trouble while nursing Landon. And she is trouble! She's into EVERYTHING! It's extremely difficult to enforce what I say to Alaina when I've got a parasite sucking the life out of me. I also have yet to master running errands with the two of them. So overall, I'd say things are going pretty well. A few trouble spots here and there, but we'll figure out how to get through them. It's also helped a lot to have Brice around more; it gives me a chance to figure out how to do four kids slowly with lots of breaks from going it alone. If I was doing four kids 24/7 like I was when Brice was in school, I think I'd pull my hair out and turn into a crazy person. Crazier might be more appropriate. But this way, by the time Brice goes back to school and I'm on my own with them more, I'll have a lot of it figured out.