But really, I would like to get back in the habit of writing about my life and my family, sharing tips (Like remember my duct-tape in the shoes idea? Well, it worked so well we've now used it to identify toothbrushes too) and more.
So, here we go.
I'm so blessed to have such great kids.
Lillian loves to cook, play the piano and violin, and learn. She suggests everyone should read the book "Salt, Sugar, Fat." It will change your life, she says. I haven't yet read it (because as long as I haven't, I'm not responsible for its contents, right?), but I'm sure I will at some point. I've mentioned it before, but I love having a daughter who loves to cook. We were planning on feeding about 20 for Thanksgiving and she and my husband chose the menu, made shopping lists, and Lillian even tested out a couple of new recipes in advance to see if they are worthy of Thanksgiving. By Wednesday of last week, they had all the shopping done and the cooking started. We had an enormous spread of delicious food, including homemade stuffing, two kinds of rolls, salad, and apple pie, all courtesy of Lillian's culinary talents. My husband and my in-laws provided the rest. I did no cooking, but I did do quite a bit of cleaning up afterwards.
Joey turned 13 last month, making me officially a mom of teenagers, plural. He's a great kid with lots of interests. We heat our home in the winter partly with our fireplace, and he's already taken charge of getting the fire going in the morning and keeping it fed throughout the day. He's got his eye on a fly fishing rod he's been saving up for and is the sweetest big brother, especially to Cami. He and Michael took turns taking care of her at the pool last week and she adores him.
Michael is 11 and loves Legos. Anything and everything Legos. We finished our upstairs early in the summer and his favorite place is his Lego closet -- really a room-size closet with sloping ceilings where he can create to his heart's content. He is developing other interests this year, however, and we're happy about that. He's reading a ton, especially fantasy, and he loves the STEM science program he has at school.
Allison is 9 and is reading more lately as well. She loves art and adventure and is constantly exuberant. She went with her dad to Hobby Lobby last week and wanted everything she saw. She has a big heart. We have the kids draw one name each year to get a "Secret Buddy" gift for. She went searching on Amazon for the perfect gift for her Secret Buddy and kept wanting things that cost all of her money -- $50 or $60 items. We finally talked her into a $25 item, but she keeps thinking of more things her secret buddy will love.
(love how Michael's photo-bombing this one)
Sarah, Allison's twin, is thriving at her new school this year and loves her independence (I found it telling when her teacher told me at conferences earlier this month, "Oh, I'd forgotten she was a twin."). She has lots of friends and loves the beauty of the world around her. She desperately wants a camera for Christmas (Allison wants one too, but I think mostly because Sarah wants one). She's one of my favorite assistants on a photo shoot (Joey's another who is awesome at it, really intuitive about what I need where and when).
Eliza is 7 and loves having a best friend named Grace. She is just wonderful. She's always grateful for what we do for her. She's also picking up reading at a pretty fast clip. At the first of the year, she had to sound out most words and was pretty halting in her reading. Now, she's fluent except for bigger or unfamiliar words.
Harmony, 5, lives life at a fast and full pace. She gets excited about everything and writes me the sweetest "I love you" notes. She loves to draw, page after page, and all the time. Last week, as we attended the Sacred Gifts exhibit at the BYU art museum, she whispered to me, "If there aren't any artists in Utah, I'll be the first one!"
The Little Things
It's always amazing to me how much the little things my kids do bring me joy. Like watching Cami run back to my husband over and over again to have her turn to be tickled. Or watching old home videos of Joey and Michael singing crazy songs while Cami dances around them (I'd post, but Joey would kill me). Or enjoying the wide eyes on the kids as they get to choose their Thanksgiving meal. Or watching one of them be kind to another or offer to do more than they are asked. I love it.
Like when Sarah had Eliza and Harmony grab onto the rocket and started dragging them across the floor.
Life is good.