Friday, December 30, 2016

30 December 2016

Rosebud took her first steps on Monday!  She's been standing independently for a few weeks, and she took a couple steps to me in order to get her new favorite toy- a spiderman ball from her stocking.  (she picked it out herself and she did a good job- it is so cute to watch her throw it, and crawl over and get it, and throw it again)  Our crawler is on the verge of becoming a walker!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

29 December 2016

Christmas this year was differently scheduled than usual.  An elderly couple in our ward usually hosts a waffle breakfast on Christmas morning, and since the husband passed away in early December, Mr. Brown offered to come and help with the breakfast.  We had our Jerusalem dinner on Christmas Eve, and then the kids had stockings on Christmas morning plus the gift box from Aunt Holly, followed by church.  Then Christmas afternoon was spent helping at the waffle breakfast, and that evening, after eating ham and mashed potatoes, we began opening presents.  We finished opening gifts the next day.  So it was slower than usual, but the kids were good sports, and we got to offer love and support to our friend Beth.

This was Rosebud's first Christmas, and although she didn't really receive a whole lot of gifts, she enthusiastically assisted in ripping wrapping paper off things.  My parents sent her a riding toy, and she quickly figured out 1) how to push the buttons that played music (which she dances to in the most adorable way); 2) how to climb on to it by herself and 3) how to scoot it around both forwards and backwards.  She has even kind of figured out how to steer it, by rocking back on it so the front wheels come off the ground and moving it so it faces somewhere new when the wheels come down.  I am not 100% certain this is intentional.

My parents also gave Nut Brown a screaming monkey slingshot toy, where you stretch out the monkey's arms and let him fly through the air, and he screams as he goes.  Nut Brown thought this was pretty fantastic, but Rosebud was totally upset by it.  She would insist on holding the monkey in order to keep it from screaming, and if we borrowed it and made it scream, she would cry and ask for it back in order to protect it.  So cute, if a little disappointing for Nut Brown!  She is definitely more attached to stuffed animals than any of our other children have ever been.

The kids know that we fill their stockings, and we do it by going to the dollar store and buying whatever looks interesting.  It's a fun trip for Mr. Brown and I, and Rose Pink told me that these were the best stockings ever!  The kids put a giant Ferrero Rocher in my stocking.  They know what I like!

Bobo identified what he wanted for Christmas when he was purchasing gifts for his brother and sister, so we bought it for him.  It's a Batman/Superman plastic play city, with trapdoors and lights and a flying thing.  It's pretty awesome.  He completely loves it.  He can't get within three feet of it without stopping to play with it.  He took it downstairs so that Rosebud would stop getting in his way. Later after a bath, I sent him downstairs for clean clothes.  After twenty minutes, I went downstairs and discovered him busy playing with it, totally naked, in our chilly basement.  And this is my child who hates to take off his clothes.  He really loves it.  Nut Brown loves it too.  He told me that Bobo got the best Christmas present ever.

So many people were so generous to our kids - we thank you for loving them and loving us.  Christmas this year was a wonderful time for us to remember the Savior's love and seek to follow Him in acts of love and kindness.  Hopefully we can hang on to it into the next year.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

22 December 2016

Instead of Christmas gifts, Mr. Brown and I lately have been giving our children $50 and a trip to the store the day after.  This is a flexible policy - we have also offered to either give them $50 or give them gifts, and let them choose.  So far we've always chosen gifts for Bobo, too, instead of giving him money.  It's helped us to simplify and de-materialize Christmas in a way that makes it much more enjoyable for us.

This year I was talking to Rose Pink about what she wanted to do.  She initially said that she wanted us to choose gifts for her, but then decided instead on money.  I asked her what sort of things she was hoping to receive or buy, and she sighed and thought and then said, "I don't know! Which is why I want money instead, because I really don't know anything I want!"

I was so pleased that she's so far managing to escape the materialism trap - that her basic needs are met, and she can't think of anything she just has to have in order to be happy.  If she manages to maintain this mindset I think she will be much happier in the long run!

Friday, December 16, 2016

16 December 2016

Yesterday Mr. Brown promised the kids to take them sledding if I could stay home during the baby's nap.  So I did.  We hadn't checked the weather report ahead of time, and the high was ten degrees Fahrenheit, and with wind chill it was below zero.  It was very windy, too!  Mr. Brown took the two older kids and went to the sledding hill in Madison Heights (advantages of homeschooling- sledding during the day!) and they had an unforgettable experience.  The wind was so stiff that it pushed them up the hill, and then they just flew down on the sleds.  Eventually they called it quits because Mr. Brown was concerned about frostbite, but they had a wonderful time.

Monday, December 5, 2016

5 December 2016

We have barriers up.  Rosebud has learned to climb the stairs but not to go down them.  Also we're trying to keep her out of the toilet.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

30 November 2016

Rosebud has been cruising and is now standing up by herself.  She's thinking hard about walking but isn't quite there yet.  Right now we call her the Floor Princess, because everything that is on the floor is subject to being investigated, tested for tensile strength, and chewed on, occasionally to her siblings' chagrin.  She's also learning to climb stairs.  She's still so full of smiles for everyone, but super-clingy to family.  She won't go to anyone else, not even Grandma.

Yesterday I played the organ for a funeral, and wore my hair down because my hair elastic had broken.  When I sat down next to Rosebud, she wouldn't come to me because she didn't recognize me with my hair down!  It took her several minutes to sort out that I was still a safe person even with long hair.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

29 November 2016

Bobo's Sunday School teacher recently told me this story:  Bobo is evidently the smartest kid in her class, and she says it's clear that he's also the most spiritually fed.  A couple weeks ago they were having a lesson on reverence, and she invited them all to sit quietly while she played a song on her portable computing device.  They listened quietly to "Reverence Is Love" from the Children's Songbook, and then Bobo said, "I feel the Spirit when you play that song." She wanted to thank me for the opportunity for a teaching moment.  I thanked her for sharing such a sweet story with me!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

23 November 2016

The other night Bobo trotted off to get ready for bed.  We heard the electric toothbrush, and then the toilet flushed, and he came back out in very short order.  Mr. Brown said, "That was quick."  Bobo said, "Yes!  I had a pee race between the pee and the toothbrush and the toothbrush won!"  He'd been brushing his teeth while on the toilet.

Monday, November 21, 2016

21 November 2016

Rose Pink is counting down the days to her birthday and moving into the youth program at church.  (ten weeks left) She may have started into some of the moodiness of teenage-hood too.  Last Sunday night, we were reading scriptures on the stairs (Mr. Brown was on the phone in the living room) and Rose Pink got a toy plastic ring stuck on her finger.  She was trying to freak out but I kept laughing at the situation, and she eventually said to Nut Brown, in a very serious voice, "Bring me the dental floss."  He replied equally seriously, "The floss or the picks?" and she said, "The floss!"  So he rushes off, brings her the dental floss, and she somehow, painfully, got the ring off.  So we continue with reading, and Nut Brown kind of randomly wanders off and comes back with a dental floss pick in his mouth, flossing his teeth.  Rose Pink pauses mid-verse and says, "Oh, NOW you bring me the pick!"  It was so funny!

Rose Pink is so mature.  It is such a pleasure to spend time with her.  She can be so thoughtful and very reliable, and so funny!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

19 November 2016

Last Saturday we were unable to go up and see our friends in mid-Michigan, so we did our Saturday chores and went to the Warren indoor water park instead!  Bobo and Rosebud were not actually excited by the splash pad - too many sources of unexpected splashes and the 1,000 gallon bucket was too scary.  But we had a great time in the big pool, swimming and having train rides and playing in the corner.  Mr. Brown swam races with Rose Pink, and Nut Brown chased a basketball.  I even went down the scary waterslide.  It was a lot of fun to get in the water together!!  Then pizza for dinner, and a movie before bed (How To Train Your Dragon).  It was a really nice day together.

Friday, November 18, 2016

18 November 2016

Another of Rosebud's charming characteristics is that she thinks it's fascinating to have her fingernails cut.  She holds her fingers out for me and watches me trim each nail.  Then she wants to chew on the nail clippers when we're done.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

17 November 2016

Last night Nut Brown and I were reading scriptures, Alma 37:15, and he reads, "...which are sacred shall be taken away from you, and ye shall be delivered up unto SANTA..."

I said, "Santa?"

And he said, "I KNOW, Mom, but it's getting close to Christmas."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

16 November 2016

On my day off, Bobo decided to sort through his treasure box with me.  A four-year-old's treasure box is full of a lot of things that I would not myself value, and it was very interesting to see what he wanted to keep.  He said he was going to get rid of all the pieces of paper and all the leaves.  I held up a box that once held a dozen ballpoint pens, and asked if he was keeping it.  "Oh! Yes!" he exclaimed.  "I need it to punch people."  He slid his fist into it and made punching motions.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016

13 November 2016

Rose Pink's soccer team was renamed the Badgers this year and turned into a winning team.  New coach and some new girls, and Rose Pink really enjoyed the fall season.  She was usually goalie or defender, and worked hard at running and practicing.  Her games have started to be a lot more interesting to watch.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

9 November 2016

Batman pajamas - $3.50

Nut Brown's excitement - priceless

Nut Brown LOVES these pajamas.  And Bobo's eyes, when he saw them, were extremely covetous.  I told Nut Brown he had to take good care of them so Bobo could have his turn with them later.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

8 November 2016

Tucking Bobo in bed tonight, he whispers sleepily to me, "I super-duper love you, Mama."

Sunday, November 6, 2016

6 November 2016

It's official - we have a crawler!

She's actually been mobile for more than a month, and pulls herself upright on stuff, and will walk while holding on to your legs or fingers.  Everything she finds goes right in her mouth.  So far we've found two things in her poop (a googly eye and a necklace clasp) that worried us.  Fortunately no complications so far.  She's so dang good with that pincers grip!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

5 November 2016

A little boy and his beloved tiny pumpkin.  He named it Spike because of the vine coming out of its head.  You can also see Rose Pink's pumpkin behind him on the porch with the soccer ball - titled 'Header Gone Wrong'.

Friday, November 4, 2016

4 November 2016

The Halloween dance at church was fun.  Turns out that Bobo loves babies and little kids (except Rosebud).  Here he is dancing with a two-year-old friend.  Mr Brown was still in the grips of pneumonia but still danced a couple dances with me.  He made himself chainmail out of canning rings, and a giant spoon, and went as a knight of the dinner table.  Sorry no photo!!

We carved monster pumpkins at the beginning of October, and then it was a lovely month and the pumpkins rotted.  Rose Pink suggested getting pie pumpkins to carve, and I thought we could just about handle that, so we did.  I actually had a lot more fun with the tiny pumpkins.

Costumes: Rosebud was a lady bug, thanks to Aunt Jessica!
Wait, there must be something wrong with my camera....

There, that's better:

Older kids, from left to right: Dr. Fate, a 'Batman knight', and an iceberg.  The iceberg has a broken Titanic represented on it.

We trick-or-treated with our friends the Calls, and had a great time.  The kids came home with pounds and pounds of candy.  Bobo in particular is ecstatic.

A couple nights later, the boys and I made a bar chart of all the candy by laying it out on the playroom floor.  They got more kit-kats by far than anything else.  Reese's Cups and Snickers were in a dead heat for second place.  It was really interesting to see which candy companies have a lock on the Halloween market.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

29 October 2016

Bobo and I got in the car to go somewhere, and he asked me to put in the 'Fudgie Tales' CD - the one with Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

27 October 2016

And finishing the Winter Clothing Distribution meant that we could also acknowledge illness- Mr. Brown has some respiratory thing, and Bobo has an earache, and Rosebud was wakeful last night because she has a snotty nose and is pretending to be Snuffleupagus (more than usual).  Bobo's prayers last night: Dear Heavenly Father, please bless Papa, who is pretty darn sick, and please bless me, who is pretty darn sick... Today, doctor's appointments and hopefully antibiotics for both of them.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

26 October 2016

As part of Rosebud not sleeping, one night we warned the kids to be VERY QUIET while we were trying to get her back to bed.  Rose Pink made her own caution tape by cutting copy paper into strips, writing 'DO NOT CROSS' on them and taping them together.  She then taped off the end of the hallway, in case any of us forgot.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

25 October 2016

At the end of September we all came down with this horrible head cold.  It started with Bobo, then me, then Nut Brown and Mr. Brown and Rosebud.  Rose Pink might have gotten it a little bit.  She is more resistant to disease than the rest of us.  Nut Brown and Mr. Brown and Rosebud didn't get it too badly, and got over it within a week.  Bobo and I continued to have congestion and runny noses and to feel generally lousy for days.  It moved into my chest just a bit, and then the doctor diagnosed me with walking pneumonia, so that was fun.  Bobo is still not great and is now complaining about an earache - to the doctor he goes, tomorrow.  Rosebud fortunately didn't get it too badly, but she had a hard time sleeping for a couple days because of the congestion, and all the hard-won sleep training was lost.  Now she wakes up several times a night just to cuddle, which is sweet and I love it but I'm going a little crazy with lack of sleep myself. 

Everything in life went on hold last week while Mr. Brown chaired the Winter Clothing Distribution in our ward - 17,000 pounds of clothing, 3,700 invited guests, and 1100 volunteer hours over four days.  It was a lot of 12 hour days and pizza for dinner and no naps for Rosebud.  The opportunity for service and sacrifice was a great blessing for us, and now we are laying around the house recovering.  Bobo is sick, and Mr. Brown is also sick with something respiratory.  Now that we're done with the WCD, we can address this, and also Rosebud's lack of ability to sleep.  Sleep training, round two!  Starting tonight.

Friday, October 21, 2016

21 October 2016

I just put Bobo in bed.  He said, "When do I get to be the one in front, and Nut Brown behind?"  I said, "Not for awhile.  I think you have to grow up a bit."  He said, "It's not working.  I'm stuck at four.  I eat all my vegetables and it doesn't help."

Monday, October 17, 2016

17 October 2016

Last Monday was Columbus Day, and we celebrated the day off by going to an orchard and picking apples, having donuts and cider and enjoying the beautiful fall weather!  It was such a beautiful day and a lovely time to be together.  We all tried the different varieties and had a great time walking around the orchard together.  Rosebud loves apple cores - we have started calling them 'baby crack' because when she gets her hands on one she doesn't want anything to get in the way of enjoying it and will scream when you take it away.  So funny!  She just chews and chews on them with her two teeth.

When we came home, we decided to grill for dinner and walked up to the corner store and ordered five different types of meat from the butcher counter (we all wanted something different).  Mr. Brown ordered a NY strip steak for me, which was very sweet of him.  Nut Brown had a hamburger, Rose Pink had a BLT, Bobo had a sausage and Mr. Brown had a chicken breast.  It was a lot of fun, and a wonderful day all around.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

15 October 2016

Nut Brown was playing a game outside with large boxes and Bobo that involved 'trapping' each other inside the box.  We came inside and Nut Brown decided to see if he could lure Rosebud into a box and 'trap' her.  He laid a trail of Reese's Puffs cereal across the floor leading to a little bowl of cereal inside the box, and then carefully coaxed her along.  She totally took the bait, ate the trail and then crawled right into the box and sat up to eat the cereal in the bowl.  Nut Brown squealed with laughter as he lowered the other box on top of it, and shouted, "I trapped Rosebud!  I trapped Rosebud!"  She didn't actually appreciate sitting in the dark, but Nut Brown's excitement was so fun to see!

Friday, October 14, 2016

14 October 2016

Bobo has had interaction with the letter Z and decided that he must have one in his name, since the first 's' is a hard 's'.  So now when he writes it he includes a Z instead of an S!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

12 October 2016

Rosebud has started crawling, and it's such a treat to watch her work her way across the floor!  She has also started pulling herself up on things and is often standing up in her crib when we go in to pick her up.  She also has learned to clap, which is super adorable, and to make kissing noises, which she definitely associates with affection.  You may think that because I haven't posted in so long that this is the cumulation of several months of development, but all of this actually happened over the last two weeks.  She's so beautiful!  (She has also stopped sleeping through the night and started refusing to go to sleep in her own bed.  This part is not so wonderful.)  On Sunday I showed off her new crawling skills for my Sunday School class and they applauded.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

11 October 2016

General Conference- I love it!  The kids made the list of words to listen for as usual and my canny nine-year-old said, "How about God-slash-Heavenly Father?" and I said, "I think you need to pick one of those."  Bobo said thoughtfully, "I pick 'slash'."  This past Sunday I turned on the Tabernacle Choir on our way to church and Bobo said, "I love General Conference."

Monday, August 22, 2016

22 August 2016

Tonight Bobo and I went for a long walk in the twilight around the block and pretended Star Wars together.  We kept discovering people hidden behind trees that I had to guess.  "You see a hairy person!" says Bobo, and I guess "Ewok!"  "No!" "Jawa!" "No!" "Chewbacca!" "Yes!"  The next one was - "You see a person in Jedi robes and a beard!"  I guess Obi-Wan Kenobi.  "No," says Bobo.  "It's Jesus."

I tucked him in bed when we got home, and we said prayers, and he said, "Make sure you go to bed and ponder - that means think - about what we did tonight.  About Star Wars."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

13 July 2016

Happy six months to Briar Rose!  She sits up on her own now, eats solid food, enjoys water play and does not yet roll over.  Sweet baby.

I had her in the Baby Bjorn the other day and Rose Pink said, "What's this weight upon my chest?  Oh, it's not guilt, it's a baby!"

We had a clothes-folding party in the basement the other day and Rose Pink came upon a pair of 3T pants that don't belong to anybody at the moment.  She put them on her head and said, "Look, Nut Brown, I'm a Twilek!" (star wars reference) and then said absent-mindedly, "I guess my head is size 3T."

My raspberries are on with a vengeance and we are picking most days after work.  Still not enough to make jam, mostly because we eat them before they get in the house.  Yum.  The zucchini is also producing like mad.  I'm pretty sure one zucchini plant is the right amount.

This is the summer that the kids are learning to swim - lessons at the Pleasant Ridge City Pool with some homeschool friends of ours.  The classes have just a couple kids each in them, and the children's progress was immediate and tremendous.  Bobo does underwater tricks now, and will float on his back and have a great time in the water.  Rose Pink and Nut Brown jumped up to level 5 and 4 respectively, and Nut Brown will probably move up to level 5 once he gets a little better at treading water.  They've learned specific strokes and treading water and diving in from the edge.  It has been so great to watch them progress, and I'm so glad that they're much more comfortable in the water.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

30 June 2016

Mr. Brown is not keen on Father's Day, and so on the second Sunday in June, the children hung up balloons and decorations, and gave me a card that said, "Happy Working Parents' Day"!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Monday, June 27, 2016

27 June 2016

Nut Brown, when asked to share his favorite scripture in Primary, chose a verse from the Book of Mormon about men racing to the judgment seat and find the chief judge murdered and lying on the ground in all his gore.

We just read a verse about wearing 'costly apparel' and I asked if 'costly apparel' increases one's personal worth.  "No," he replied. "Well, maybe to an assassin."

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

14 June 2016

Briar Rose's hair is long enough for a tiny ponytail!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

11 June 2016

Last night I'm pulling weeds out of the garden bed with the tomato plants in it (I have two) and Nut Brown wanders over and asks what I'm doing. 

Mama: I'm pulling weeds out from around the tomato plants.  Want to help me?  Everything except the tomato plants can be pulled up.  .  .  .  . we're making space so that the tomato plants get all the nutrients and don't have to share with the weeds.  Because tomatos are yummy.  You know what tomatos from the garden mean?  BLTs!

Nut Brown: That means bacon!

Mama: Yep.  And lettuce!  And tomatos!

He decided to help, and when Bobo came over a few minutes later, Nut Brown said, "Bobo, will you help us pull weeds?  It will increase our chances of buying bacon!"

Friday, June 10, 2016

10 June 2016

Now that soccer is over, we've had a bunch of quiet peaceful evenings together.  Mr. Brown and the kids kick a soccer ball around, we go for walks or to the park, I pull weeds in the garden, and just generally we hang out and get to spend time together and still get kids in bed on time.  Last night Mr. Brown made dinner and then we ate outside, just sitting around.  Mr. Brown and Nut Brown kicked a soccer ball while holding their bowls in their other hands.  Rose Pink was reading Harry Potter (again).  The baby was jumping on my knee and Bobo was telling me about something in between bites.  He talks so much lately.

After dinner Mr. Brown asked if we could go to the park, so we did, and stopped for treats at the corner store on the way home.  Then it was home for scriptures and bed, which I love.  It was such a peaceful evening.  I'm so grateful for long summer days and quiet times with my family.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

9 June 2016

Bobo's evening chore is to clean up the (short) hallway outside the bathroom.  If other people have left their stuff there, he brings it to them to put away.  But lately, since we've been throwing away so much stuff that doesn't bring us joy, he will pick up items and announce that it doesn't bring him joy and so he's throwing it away.  For example, Mr. Brown's jeans, or Rose Pink's shoes.  It's been extremely effective at motivating the rest of us to take immediate action to save our possessions.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

8 June 2016

Last summer about this time Rose Pink was drawing hands:

Monday, June 6, 2016

6 June 2016

We've been reading "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and evaluating our possessions for whether or not they spark joy.  Nut Brown and I were playing with Briar Rose one morning when she was being especially adorable and I said jokingly, I think we're definitely keeping her!  Nut Brown said, "Yeah, she definitely sparks joy for me!"

Sunday, June 5, 2016

5 June 2016

By Rose Pink, from last summer.  I wish I remembered what the story was.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

31 May 2016

Bobo, talking to me as he's playing with Briar Rose, "She doesn't have me in her eyes!" i.e., she's not looking at me.

Monday, May 30, 2016

30 May 2016

 On my birthday, the kids and I went for a walk in the woods.  It was a lovely lovely day, so nice to be outside.
(a chipmunk on the path)

 Nut Brown was determined to climb out on this branch and jump on it, in spite of the fact that it was now in the middle of a spring pond about eighteen inches deep.  He was pretty confident of his balance so he made his way out there and only fell in the water once.

Walking again later in wet shoes and pants, he said, 'If I'd known I was going to fall in, I wouldn't have done it.'

Briar Rose snoozing through most of it.  She's learning to grab things, that's why there are ribbons on her car seat.

We had some munchies to keep up company, including pita breads.  Nut Brown asked for a pita and I said, I don't know how many there are, so please take into account that everyone will want some when deciding what to take.  He counted and there were (serendipitously) enough for everyone to have exactly one.  So he's munching on his and sings to himself, "My own... personal... pita..." and starts to laugh.  (Name that Depeche Mode song- again from the 80s)

The kids were playing a rhyming game with animal names.  Rose Pink asked Nut Brown to name an animal, and he said, "Elephant!"  So she sings, "I wish I were an elephant/Then I could be so benevolent!"

At a birthday party last month when they were playing Duck Duck Goose, she wanted to know why it couldn't be Shark Shark Tuna.