6.29.2015

FLOWERS, FEATHERS AND FAT

Nellpea (talking about getting married): I want to be thirty-ten! 
And then I'm going to be super FAT! 
Because I'm going to have a lot of babies in my belly! 
Nellpea: I want to change names. I want to be Huntsville House. I don't like Nellpea.  
Me: Ok.  
Nellpea: No. I actually like Nellpea.  
(panicking)  
Mom! I actually like Nellpea!
Herbie had a good week. How could it not be? It had the day he's been looking forward to all summer--scout camp.  Not even getting sunblock in his eye on arrival and crying from it the first half of the day could deter him. Shooting BB guns was his favorite activity.


This week Herbie got the guts to go off the slide and swim to the wall in the deep end. I was very surprised to see that he sits very high in the water and has a nice stroke with a powerful kick, until he has to breathe. Breathing easily continues to be a struggle for everyone.

Grandma came to plant flowers. Every kid except Herbie had a melt down at some point. Here's Moses, sad, because he didn't get a car.


But Moses did have a shining moment of glory this week. Linus was in a surly, bad mood, and Moses decided to be a peacemaker. He gave Linus some toys, said some kind things to him, and completely turned Linus' mood around. For an entire day Linus and Moses did everything together as best friends. And they're still getting along.

Moses wrote a get well card today. He spelled the word "better" as "deder," which when read out loud said, "I hope you're feeling deader."


I'm a bit paranoid with our library books, after having to buy too many in years past. The books live in my room and the kids have to show me their hands before I'll let them take one. Linus is by far the most careful. He washes his hands every single time, dries them carefully, and then comes to me to make sure they're completely dry and clean.

Ruby is burning through books. Part of me thinks she can't be reading that fast, but whenever I ask her the story, she knows it. Maybe she's just a natural speed reader. She's been very excited about her shark shorts Grandma brought her, and has showed them off to anyone and everyone.
Ruby: Herbie, you're such a newton!
I think she was going for nuisance.


Last week in church, Ruby, Herbie, Moses, Linus, and Penelope, who are in Primary, stood up in church to sing songs to the fathers. Archie isn't old enough, but when the other kids stood up, Archie scrambled off the bench, "I'm going too." I figured he'd be fine, and he was, standing up there, staring at the congregation, just as well as any sunbeam.

Archie is happy with repetition. He spent many minutes blowing this feather, giggling, blowing, giggling, blowing and so on. At the pool, by far his favorite thing to do is throw toys in. I parked myself in the shallows below him and placed stuff back on deck as he threw them in the water, over and over again.


Woo's diverted trail project took him to Park City to present at a meeting of the State Transportation Department. Actually, some other guy made the presentation. Woo stood up at the end and told jokes. Then they left.

Woo also caught a skunk. In his reluctance to actually catch one, he'd quit checking the trap, and after a week, sent Herbie who said there was a skunk in it. And it was dead. So Woo didn't actually have to witness the death, but felt guilty about it being less humane on the skunk... Cleaning out the trap was no fun either. No wonder people hire this one out.

Well, that's it. Congrats to Tyson and Rachel on baby! Hope everyone had a great week!

6.22.2015

FLOODS


The kids have spent many hours this week entertaining themselves by throwing each other garage sales. They each set up a pile of treasures and exchange dominoes or backgammon tiles as money. It's worked really well, with only one argument when Herbie wanted his watch back the day after selling it to Linus. Also, somehow, some deal was made where Herbie is buying Moses a new pocketknife at scout camp with his own real money.


The kids joined an impromptu soccer game in the park--girls against boys, which quickly broke down when it was clear the girls team was far superior to the boys team. Herbie was the first one back to complain about it, but he was quickly joined by Moses.
Moses: And that's why I wish I was a girl! 

While the older kids had made their friends, we tried to help Penelope make friends with a little boy about her age. We encouraged exchanging names, saying hello, etc., but negotiations quickly broke down. Then we were schooled by Linus.
Linus: Hey Nellpea! There's a boy over here! That is three! 
We'd forgotten that kids connect to new kids at the park by comparing ages. I'll just stay out of it next time.

Tyson: Do you like these cookies? They're called Cowboy Cookies... 
Taija: I have a crush on a cowboy at school named Will. 
Marcus: Yeah. But he doesn't go to church. 
Ruby: Ugh. That sucks!
Ruby: Herbie was talking about-- 
Moses (interrupting): His girlfriend! 
(Herbie looks up.)
Ruby: No-- 
Moses: He does that a lot.
(Herbie just smiles.)


Penelope kept hearing the word "mother" in all the Father's Day songs this morning, which is pretty easy to do when all your hopes and dreams revolve around the word "mother." She kept telling me, "Happy Mothers Day, Mom!"

Also, she has a new party trick, which is reciting the talk she gave a couple months ago to any adult she can get to listen. She first did it when she pulled aside the dad of a family who'd invited us to dinner, and I guess she did it a couple of times yesterday at the Fathers Day BBQ.
Nellpea (looking at the handicap signs in the parking lot): Why does it have blue pictures of people sitting on the potty?!

Archie sat very stiffly in the boat at Dipper Pond, and wore a constant concerned face, but when asked, he was very clear that he liked riding in the raft, and even went again... still stiff and concerned.


Tuesday was a fun day. The wash machine overflowed again, into the basement. It wasn't as bad as last time, since I caught it mid-load, but I still used most our rags moping up the floor and halloween buckets to collect drips.

Then after dinner, I walked down the stairs and saw water in a totally different part of the basement, far away from the washing machine. I realized it was flooding near the wall where the hose is, and ran outside. Sure enough, the hose was running right by the window (for who knows how long). I threw the kids a couple towels to clean up the mess they'd made, but I hadn't really seen the extent of the damage. I was thinking a little puddle. Turns out it was ankle deep.

The kids were good to carry up load after load of things up and out into the sun to dry. Ruby sang songs, Herbie was in his element, Woo shoveled up water with a dust pan. I told Herbie how lucky he was to have a dad, who when his kids flooded the basement, didn't swear, didn't spank and only did a little bit of yelling, which he apologized for later.


This was probably the roughest day for Woo, but everything hit me on Thursday. I was tired. After a long day of moving stuff back in (now neater and with a garbage can less junk!), returning fans to neighbors (by stroller), and every day stuff, I hopped into the shower only to find no hot water. The fans had blown out the pilot light to the water heater.

The week could only go up from there :).


Anyways, I hope you all had a great Fathers Day! I'm grateful for my dad and the sacrifices he made for me. And I'm grateful for Woo.

6.14.2015

WHERE WE STICK CLOSER TO HOME


This week was both a fallout week and a recovery week. We've been doing a lot of driving the last few weeks, and there have been a lot of late nights. Thursday and Friday I kept feeling like I couldn't keep my head up for air, but I'm recovered now. Even if the kids and Woo aren't fully there yet.

Part of Woo's problem is that his life continues to be stressful. There's work. And then there was his debut before the County Commissioners concerning a public access road up here. It didn't raise his opinion of politicians. Or lawyers. Also, the rental has a family of four skunks that he's half-heartedly been trying to trap. The problem is if he catches them, there's an "extermination" he's dreading. Especially since three of them are babies and pretty cute, even if they are skunks.

Still, he's managed to go swimming with us twice a week, which has already done wonders for the kids swimming skills. Moses can float! He has a pretty great front glide, and could probably swim pretty far, if getting a breath weren't still a problem. Maybe he'll get it in the next week or so.


Archie would be doing a lot better in the pool if he weren't terrified of the drains on the bottom. About once every time we go, he'll get brave and start splashing out in the water, but then he'll get to the drain, cry, run back and out of the pool, and not get in again.


And Linus found a penny, which he put in the safest place imaginable.


Sometimes it's fun to think about how far I've come...
Linus: Is that how you tie your shoes, Mom? That's very good!  
Me: Thank you, Linus. I've been doing it for 33 years now.

For a while there Penelope started saying she was the best mom in the whole wide world. I was thrilled, for a time, to be the mother of the best mom in the whole wide world, but we've settled into a new routine that we do almost every day before naps.
Penelope: You're the best mom in the world! 
Me: You're the best Nellpea in the world! 
Penelope: I love you! 
Me: I love you too!
I have to say my part word for word, and I can't start first or Penelope gets upset and we have to start over.

The closest Penelope can get to the name Buckwalter:
Are we going to the Bookmarks?!

Ruby won the raffle for her age group at the library's summer reading program activity. Which we expected. We've been going to these for a few years, and we have six kids. One of them almost always wins a raffle. They get a bag full of goodies like stickers, bookmarks, treats, a few books, trinkets, etc. One book Ruby got was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which had a golden ticket on the first page.
Ruby: It's a National Golden Ticket Sweepstack!!!
One Family Home Evening tradition we have is an "Awards Ceremony" at the end of school. We announce something each member of the family has mastered that year, everyone claps, and they get a gift. This year most of the kids got science kits. Here's Herbie panning for gold with his. It was one of the most popular.


Speaking of gold, Ruby and Herbie have tried to start two businesses this summer and have drafted flyers. The first is for dyers woad removal (an invasive weed around these parts), which they actually earned $12 for, and the second is a soccer training camp for elementary school kids. Ruby and Herbie are the "experts." So far, no takers.

We did manage to see Ryan before he went into the MTC, which for us was better than a farewell. Instead of getting to watch Ryan talk to his friends, we actually got to talk to Ryan. Good luck!

Oh, and we finally got Herbie some new flip flops.


Well, that's about it for the week! Hope yours was great!

6.08.2015

BONUS PICTURES

LITTLE SAHARA


Some people think it's impossible to have fun at the sand dunes without an ATV. Well, that is just not true.

See--we all jumped off this ridge the first minute we got there,


and THEN we had to pack up and head home.

Ok. Also not true.


The kids loved the sand. They could've played there forever. And with Bentley's sand toys and Taija's jump rope, they were good for forever and a day.


And some people get excited about just sleeping in a tent. Who cares where it is?


But, it really was a fun spot. It helped that we went on a Thursday and the place was practically dead. First thing in the morning we hiked the ridge of Sand Mountain. It turns out that climbing a 700 foot mountain of sand with an Archie on your back is not easy. All the adults had to stop for a breather about 10 feet up, our calves were already burning. But we plodded on. This was actually my favorite hike in years. It was striking to look up and see nothing but sky and hikers on the ridge above me.


When the wind would whip up and blow sand, I thought of all those Everest documentaries I've ever seen, and because I have zero desire to hike Everest, I was satisfied that this was close enough.


Sand Mountain pretty much wiped out all the adults for the day, but in the afternoon we hiked to Paul Bunyan's woodpile, which had some interesting formations. Because we were unfamiliar with the trail and wanted to keep all the kids close, Woo had Penelope hike up front going up, and Linus lead going down. They really stepped it up while in the lead, and the other kids were good to follow.


We also saw more wildlife than we usually see. There were lots of little tracks across the sand. Moses swore he saw fox tracks, but we never saw a fox. I saw lizard tracks, and Herbie and Linus later saw the little guy. Some of the most interesting were made by insects.


Woo and I also saw a very pretty blue bird on a fence post and an adorable kangaroo rat.

Ruby and Marcus found a pet beetle and a pet grasshopper that they placed in a water bottle together with some grass. Absolutely no one could've predicted they'd end up fighting and one of them would get killed...


There was a hill of fire ants near camp, that Bentley attempted to destroy with a bottle of insect repellant. (Didn't work.) Then Hazel was terrified when she dumped her glittery, princess shoes on a hill and the ants crawled all over them, but Brody patiently shook them off and saved the day.

Oh... and there was also that rattlesnake ahead of Penelope on the trail (on the way home from Paul Bunyan's woodpile). It was scary, but turned out all right. Penelope screamed so loudly the snake was scared off the trail, and Woo was right behind her to immediately pick her up and leap several feet away.

Woo and I made our first attempt at smores, but our chocolate bars were soup after sitting in the hot car all day, so we were still failures. Lyndy had much better results with her fudge striped cookies with a roasted marshmallow in between. I'm going to do that next time.


The drive (except anytime we were on I-15) was beautiful. The state is so green right now, and there really are some impressive mountains in south Utah county. It was a great little trip.

Hope you had a good week!
Love,
Chelsey

One of my young women taught the lesson on the priesthood today, and here's a story I shared:

When Josey was in kindergarten, he got pushed off the top of the very highest slide and landed on his head. He was unconscious and they called an ambulance, which he rode in alone, since my parents weren't able to get there yet.

Anyways, at some point on the ride he stopped breathing. They couldn't get him going again, so one of the EMTs, who was a member of our ward, gave Josey a priesthood blessing. He started breathing immediately and made it to the hospital okay. And now he's the dad of four little girls.

I guess I never really thought of it before, but what a miracle it was for Josey to have an EMT who was worthy and ready to give a priesthood blessing when needed, and who, even with all his training, knew that a priesthood blessing would help Josey.