Friday, January 18, 2019

today



I'm kind of loving the winter this year. The colors, the coziness inside, the kids' playfulness, the winter birds chirping (we have a group of trees full of robins outside right now singing at each other!) I've never loved winter, but this year I think I do!

Yesterday was a day of birthday prep (Ellie had planned on sledding, but we had rain and rain and rain so we needed some new plans!)  She had a happy birthday celebration with lots of fun inside games and we had a full house of happy girls.

Today, Ellie woke with a sore throat and stayed home from school. I was feeling anxious about getting sick, so I'd been having her stick to her room mostly, but Jordan had a calm work day and extra sick leave so he's taking the afternoon off and reading to her downstairs while she builds paper crafts from her birthday. (Ha, Ellie just walked upstairs to say "Mom, I think Dad's asleep...")

Landon has the day off and spent the morning working on the choose-your-own-adventure story he's writing for a school competition, waiting for a friend to play, and reading, all-the-while with his headphones on for music. Now he's sledding with a friend at the park ( I love that perfect not-too-steep,long, or fast sledding hill! :)

I took Owen and Porter to the school's 'moms and muffins' activity this morning and loved starting reading the first two chapters of Frindle with them.

I asked Landon if he'd like to play a game or something and Isaac said "I'd like to!" with more enthusiasm so we 'built' the caterpillar puzzle and played with the marble game with Porter till it was time for kindergarten.

Also, Jordan and I bought tickets last night for an upcoming trip to New York - and for the first time since we've had kids, we bought tickets for just the two of us (!!)


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Parent Teacher Conferences


At the last SCC meeting for Mount Logan, we were talking about Parent Teacher Conferences and what improvements might be made. Someone asked a teacher how many of the parents who came were those she actually needed to see. And I loved her response - 
"Well, I know what you're asking, but I need to see them all! Some I need to see to talk about what their kids can do to be more successful in my class, and some I need to see to talk about how awesome their kids are doing in my class."

Sometimes we've skipped out on conferences, but we went yesterday and I felt like it really was good for Landon (and me) to just meet his teachers in person and hear about the good things he's doing. 

And I loved how he walked into each classroom with a cheerful greeting for his teachers and left each room with a friendly "Have a good night!"

As we went from class to class, we walked this stretch outside and I loved how Landon without even thinking walked the whole pathway in the snow (rather than the shoveled sidewalk :) It reminded me of this funny elementary drop off day -

There had been a ton of snow, and I had pulled up right in front of the main doors at the school. There was a neat pathway all shoveled - a straight shot from our van door to the school. Instead of taking that shoveled walkway though, Landon hopped out and ran a super wide semi circle to the door right through the piles and piles of snow. 

I sure love this kid. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Ellie Anne!


This little Ellie girl is 10!


Here are a few cute stories in honor of this little/not-so-little girl I love!

A bike riding girl (maybe my favorite post ever :)
Two-year-old Ellie Anne
Ellie presents
The Great Quantifier



Ellie at 10 loves:

playing with legos, making origami (especially cranes) and other paper projects, reading (especially when she can get to bed early and have extra reading time at night), having after school jobs finished, playing cello along with me playing piano, planning activities/events, playing in the snow, having fun projects to work on, and many more happy things!




Tuesday, January 15, 2019

that January clean up time




This weekend, I finally hit the point where the loveliness of our empty living spaces was overcome by the chaos of all the bedrooms filled with all the stuff. So, the boys and I worked hard and got all the bookshelves and books (oh the books, books, books, books!) put back where they belong.  (I love these little helpers!) The kids requested a piano move, so we switched things up a little with some bookshelf swapping around. And I tried to clear out our books a bit so that they could all fit back on our shelves.  I also tried to only bring back out the things that I really wanted so that we could still keep a little of that great clean feel!

Also,

+ I've found that with our new carpet, all the little things that end up on the floor don't bother me as much - it turns out board books and duplos and hair ties and crayons are lovelier on clean carpet!

+ Here's my goal by the end of the month - I want to get our whole house clean (tidy) (all the rooms clean, all at the same time!)  That sounds ridiculous because, aren't most people's houses usually tidy? BUT, that's my goal and I'm hopeful we'll make it! :)

+ Because I wanted to finish by the end of the year for the donations tax deduction (and because I was prepping for the house mix up with the carpet install) I was working hard at the end of the year to clear out any extra stuff that I could send to DI. And I thought (seriously) we were going to be pretty well set till even next year maybe... But, we're two weeks in and we've had one drop off already and another big bag full almost ready. (Where does all this extra stuff come from?)

Monday, January 14, 2019

weekend report


We stopped to pick up Landon from a friend's house over the weekend and Ellie, looking at these snow mounds across the street, asked from the back seat "Can I just go climb on that for one minute?"

Other weekend happenings:

+ more anki race track time (I wasn't actually sure Jordan (or the kids) would love this Christmas present, but he (and they!) did and the set seems to expand by an extra piece or two every time it comes out! :)
+ navigating a new parenting challenge we hadn't met yet, and feeling very grateful for a kind friend's advice and support
+ a fun dinner out with the kids (minus Landon who was with friends)
+ a temple trip
+ ward conference (minus Jordan who was home with sick Porter)
+ making blueberry muffins to have ready for school lunches this morning
+ fun Sunday afternoon piano/cello/singing recordings for Jordan and the kids
+ Sunday family gospel study time (we're still figuring this out :)
+ more snow fun for the kids with a half day Friday
+ playing with friends
+ birthday party planning and invitation making with Ellie

Friday, January 11, 2019

little things to remember



Just a few sweet little memories from the last little while:

This afternoon as I put Isaac down for his nap, I said "Momma loves you" like I always do, but today Isaac said back quietly, "I love you too!"

The last few days when I tell the boys it's time for lunch, Porter will say "Yep. And I'm making it!" And then he does! Our counter/sometimes floor are a mess when he's done, but he is a great little lunch chef. He'll ask Isaac "What do you want for lunch today?" And Isaac will answer (almost always) 'cheese roll ups!' (loll-ups). Also, I loved this little picture above of Porter's robot costume and how funny it was watching him try to figure out how to eat in that "Isaac, put my plate right here..."

Landon has loved playing at the mounds with his friends the past few weeks. When the snowplows come through the church parking lots, they leave some great mountains, and one of those at a building by his friend's house was named the mounds (and I think having a name makes it that much more amazing :)  and they've had such a fun time digging/tunneling/etc. there for hours!

Ellie and I have started reading the Book of Mormon together each day, and it has been a great sweet time for us.

Every time it's time for Owen to practice piano, it's kind of an ordeal to get him started. But every time he starts to practice, he keeps playing and playing and playing after his timer stops.  It has been so fun to watch him work on some harder songs for him and really sticking with it, working bit by bit through them till he has them mastered.

Yesterday, we got our first stain on our new carpet (a stepped on/smooshed in clay model of the earth's layers.) I was frustrated and stressed and pretty much storming around... I'd sent the kids out while I tried to clean the carpet, then found Porter and Isaac in the kitchen mixing concoctions of milk, water, hot cocoa mix, curry powder... finally Isaac said to me "How 'bout... you be happy?" and I was so grateful for this sweet boy helping me get over all my grumpyness. (Also, while I went back to working on the carpet, he came in and gave me a little hug and said in a quiet voice "here to help you!")

Thursday, January 10, 2019

hooray! (a dentist report :)

image here
Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the dentist with back-to-back appointments for our whole family, and we had great reasons to celebrate:

1. No new cavities! For any of us! I started to get a little panicked as I laid back having my teeth cleaned, looking up at my x-rays they'd just taken and worrying about every dark spot and imagining the dentist coming back to tell me the bad news... (it's times like these when I use all the calming strategies I learned in giving birth to five children. Seriously though.)

But -- no new cavities for me, or Jordan, or any of the kids -- hip, hip, hooray! (All of those dentist chair prayers answered! A few of us do still have a couple things to take care of from before, but no new surprises :)

2.  I was so scared of the dentist when I was young that even driving by a dentist office would make me kind of sick to my stomach with worry. I remember once watching Full House and an episode came on where Stephanie was going to the dentist and I had to turn it off because it made me too scared and worried!  (And obviously it was traumatic enough to have my favorite show betray me with a dentist visit that I still remember it! :) It has been years since I've felt that bad about dentists, but it has still been a process.  So, sitting in the dentist office for 2 hours as we all had our check ups and cleanings, and feeling fine made me also feel so grateful.

Also, Our friend Kelda works at our dentist's office, and it has made our visits a little brighter to have these little reunions every 6 months or so!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

a kind comment


Whenever we have a hotel stay, the kids' favorite part is always the hotel breakfast (or pool :) They're always thrilled with the choose-what-you-want buffet (plus juice! and fruit loops!) and the make-your-own waffles. It's fun for me too,  but also always a little stressful since make-your-own waffles with toppings like raspberry sauce, chocolate chips, and whip cream for 5 young kiddos isn't the best combination for fancy upholstered chairs and carpeted floors!

One morning last month when we were in Provo, the kids and I were almost through breakfast when the hotel breakfast host walked over to our table. (Uh, oh I thought!)
"I just have to tell you..." (oh dear!)
"Your family is just one of the nicest, neatest families I've ever seen here!"

Her sweet comment was just so completely unexpected and kind that it has stuck with me and I just want to remember it. I kind of know it wasn't true (or bless these hotel employees!) but it was so kind and loving! She had a busy morning and plenty of work to be done, but she took a minute to come share that moment of kindness with a bit-overwhelmed mom, and it was such a wonderful way to start that day for me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

more snow!

Showing Isaac the progress of her fort

Ellie came home from school yesterday and raced to get her jobs done as fast as she could so she could play in the snow.  Owen just dropped off his backpack and had his snow pants on before I could suggest after school jobs, and he was so excited that I just let it go. And these kiddos just played and played and played until dinner time! I thought they'd be ready to warm up by then, but instead they begged to eat outside on their snow chairs at their snow table... so they had a two person picnic! They finally made it back inside when the sun went down at the end of their picnic and they realized it was a little cold! :)  Such a happy, snowy afternoon!

And, today it is just as beautiful as can be with bright clear blue skies, sunshine, and all this lovely snow!







Monday, January 7, 2019

snow days!


It has snowed and snowed the last few days and the kids have been loving it. Landon is amazing at bundling up bright and early in the morning and clearing our driveway before school (without being asked even!) and Porter loves to help too (And Jordan works hard on this too!). 

We have snow forts, a snow chair (with footrest), snow caves... and piles and piles of boots and coats everywhere :)

I don't remember ever really playing in the snow when I was a kid, but I so love seeing my own kids play! It is just delightful to see them bursting with energy and fun and creativity all bundled up and playing and just totally loving these snowy days!

Friday, January 4, 2019

2018 Year in Review


I love these New Year days. Over the last few days, I went through our pictures from the last year and tried to remember some of the things we were up to in 2018. Mostly I noticed that the beginning and ending of the year were very much work-focused for our family. And all the middle months were very much enjoying our beautiful Logan-focused (that part is probably just because that's when I took the most pictures!)  

Here are some of our Brough Family happenings of 2018 (according to my photo library :) 






JANUARY

LostMyName/Wonderbly was struggling and let Jordan know they could keep paying him for about three more months (!) so we jumped into some intense job searching. 

Also: 
Jordan and I went to the Silicon Slopes conference in Salt Lake, and Kathie flew up on short notice to play with the kids. Owen and Landon played basketball with the North Logan city teams. Ellie had a Blueberry Birthday Party, and Porter had a month of tumbling classes at the local gym. 



FEBRUARY

Jordan was here, there, and everywhere with a month packed full of phone screens, technical screens, phone interviews, and coast-to-coast (and back again if I remember right!) on-site interviews. 

Also, 
Lots of job search discussions and brainstorming and decision making. More basketball for Owen and Landon (plus cheering for the rest of us). Ellie participated in the science fair with her friend (what happens when you change the amounts of baking soda in her favorite muffin recipe?) We made Valentine's for the kids' class parties. The kids enjoyed our snowy Logan world, and I got to see my favorite Dar Williams in concert here in Logan!


MARCH

Jordan started work for Teachers Pay Teachers, and our family had a really wonderful visit to New York!

Also, 
We had a day in Salt Lake and visited Temple Square before we left for NYC. Jordan stayed in New York and worked his first week at TPT while the kids and I came home. Landon, Ellie, Owen & Porter did swim lessons at the University (Porter's first - and he was an amazing little swimmer! Owen finally felt comfortable and started with real strokes, and Landon started kick turns and some diving!) Landon and Owen finished up basketball. Ellie had her Odyssey of the Mind competition. Jordan hung hammocks in our front yard that were enjoyed all Spring, Summer, and Fall. We had a lego robotics demo day with the team we'd worked with through the school year. We had our first family campfires and campouts of the year, and we enjoyed watching General Conference. 





APRIL

We had two fun trips to Provo - one at the beginning of the month to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday and one at the end to celebrate Nathan's graduation from BYU. (And I realized at his graduation that it was just about the same amount of time from when I graduated (2005) until our kids will start graduating (2030-ish) wow!) 

Also, 
We celebrated Easter at home with our family, played basketball at the church and enjoyed some Springtime bikerides. Owen turned 7. We went ice skating a few times, Owen started Spring Soccer, I was a delegate for the Republican caucus. We had our last 'kid party' play group of the year for our house, and more fun preschool time with Porter and his friends. April came for a visit and we got to celebrate her birthday with a fun Green Canyon campfire . 


MAY

May was busy and full with all the end-of-the-school-year things.

Also,
Jordan had fun helping with a kayaking field trip with Landon's classes. Owen played more soccer and had a late birthday party with friends. Landon worked hard on a research project for band. Owen started Logan city track and the rest of the kids started "Dad track". We had fun at Hillcrest's Portuguese celebration (and I contributed by making hundreds of Pão de Queijo). The boys had a Father/sons campout (I can't actually remember this, but I think that's what the pictures must be!) We finished up with Lego Robotics, and the kids finished school for the year!



JUNE

We started our summer break with a road trip to see April in Montana! We had a fun time staying with her and getting to know Missoula a little better too.

Also,
Porter finished Upstart (his online preschool). We celebrated Jordan's (40th!) birthday with another all day bike adventure with stops for pickleball, playgrounds, and fun food. We went camping and had some other fun hikes, and we celebrated Isaac turning two!

JULY


JULY

Ellie and Landon loved going to Harry Potter camp and were such great buddies coming and going each day. And we all found our groove a little better for our summer school time. 

Also, 
we celebrated Independence day here in Logan and trying something new watching fireworks from the school field. We visited the American West Heritage Center (where Jordan and Landon both tried milking a cow!) Jordan and kids went camping. We had a fun visit to Tony Grove with kayaking and picnic-ing. Ellie was part of a kids arts & crafts fair with her friend Aria. We had some fun kid days with bowling and jump zone. We celebrated Pioneer Day with our ward's annual parade, etc.  We celebrated Landon's 12th birthday kayaking with his friends. Landon spent a week in California with Grammie and Grandpa. We filled a basement wall with fabric squares like I'd seen at a shop in Brazil, and we did some more hiking and walking.




AUGUST

We got a short term membership at the gym and I took the kids swimming as much as we could. 

Also, 
We eased up on our summer school days and enjoyed a more relaxed summertime schedule. Landon went to scout camp for the first time, and Jordan joined him for the last few days. We had an end-of-summer camping trip to Bear Lake and other fun walks/hikes/adventures.  We celebrated Porter's birthday with a super-hero party. We did a fruit-fly catching experiment (after lots and lots of delicious summertime peaches). The kids all went back to school, and I started back in to my favorite morning walks. 







SEPTEMBER

We enjoyed another beautiful Logan Fall with lots of outside time.

Also,
Landon and Jordan prepped for (throughout the summer) and rode in the Bike the Bear challenge (50 miles around Bear Lake). Ellie started playing cello. Jordan and the kids went kayaking. Our little garden had a few good things ;) Owen and Porter started Fall soccer and we had lots of great hikes, walks, and bike ride adventures.



OCTOBER

We had a wonderful Fall Break in Livermore and Jordan and I celebrated our anniversary while we were there with a trip to San Francisco.

Also,
We enjoyed more outside time with walks and bike rides and other adventures. Owen and Porter played more soccer. Jordan went to New York for "Camp TPT" and some work time too.  Isaac fell and hurt his eye - "Mine eye is all better now!" The kids loved raking and playing the leaves. We visited the American West Heritage Center again. We carved pumpkins, I helped with a class party, and we celebrated Halloween with a great Uncle Sam, Pigicorn, Mailman, Bat, and Tiger.


NOVEMBER

Jordan jumped into the big tax project at work, and we felt grateful for the time we still got to spend together!

Also,
We voted. We enjoyed a longer Fall and the beautiful place we live. Porter and the boys discovered shoulder angels and caught Jordan for a minute whenever they could to practice their climbing. We got to watch our nephews when our new baby niece was born. We joined with friends in their Service Scavenger Hunt. We had some sick days (welcome winter!) We celebrated my birthday  (with a pinãta even!) The kids were thrilled with the first snow, and we filled thankful trees for our Art of the Month project.


DECEMBER

We enjoyed a lovely Christmastime!

Also,
Our kitchen became a pizzelle factory for a day or two with everyone working together to make pizzelles for our neighbors and friends. Ellie played in her orchestra concert. We got to go the temple with Landon for the first time. We had a few fun days in Provo and celebrated Nathan and Rachel's wedding with them! The kids made themselves graham cracker houses for after school snacks a few times. Jordan worked hard to get things done in a great way for TPT and ended up getting to take some time off for Christmas Break even - hooray! We celebrated Christmas at home with our kiddos. We had a happy Christmas break with lots of game playing,  race track playing, and snow time, and we had a Happy New Year's Eve celebration playing games and ringing in the New Year with Brazil (at 7:00 :)






Thursday, January 3, 2019

And, Saturday is the day! (new carpet continued...)


It turns out the carpet installation was a little trickier than expected (we have a weird layout around our living room loop...) so our obstacle-course day has been extended a bit with a repeat coming on Saturday when they come to finish the job. But -- the great news is - I like the new carpet!  I was only able to finally order something because of the 90-day exchange window, but I think this is going to be just fine - hooray!

Other things this week...
+ Back to school for all the kiddos after Christmas break - it's tough to go back!
+ Back to normal work life for Jordan after a successful New Year's Eve launch of all the new TPT tax efforts he's been working on - yay!
+ A pizza movie party in the basement last night while the carpet installer finished up what he could. (We finished Christopher Robin which was very sweet.)
+ Helping in Porter's class yesterday - I always just love this so much. We read about forces and made a little roller coaster and I'm learning these kiddos names and it's so fun to just see Porter as a little kindergartener.
+ And I love each day when I drop him off, watching him walk into the building, just the way Porter does. 
+ Beautiful wintery days - cold, but blue sky and sunshine. 
+ Crazy van doors that suddenly won't open/close as they should. Owen hopped out the wrong door this morning when I dropped him off at school, and I stood there almost in tears trying to get that door closed again with my morning hands! (Later, Landon made the same mistake but offered to close it and I realized after watching him that it would have been pretty tricky even without the stiff hands!)
+ Everything from our living room and reading room is piled up in the bedrooms right now, and it's so lovely having things so clean and empty (plus lovely clean fresh carpet!) that I almost don't want to bring anything back out! Except, it wouldn't take long before all those neat stacks of books covering the floor became quite a problem, and at some point we may want to have real bedrooms with walkways again... I'll enjoy the neatness out here though while we wait these few days to finish the carpet!






Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Today's the day! (new carpet!)


We've been waiting for about a year and a half to get started on this new carpet! Our basement flooded in the fall (not last fall, but the fall before!) and we had to do some drywall replacement and while we were at it started a few other projects. We also needed to replace the carpet downstairs, but since we'd long wanted to replace the carpet upstairs we decided we'd do it all together. But then we needed to finish the other projects, and paint before carpet, and whatever else... Last Christmas (starting the day after Christmas a year ago!) we had someone come and paint for us almost everywhere. Then we were ready for carpet but we had all sorts of back and forth issues with ordering it and then I just couldn't get myself to choose something else....

Finally (finally!) this October I decided to start smaller and just get some carpet ordered so we could make some kind of progress. With all the steps along the way, and some scheduling issues... here we finally are in January with new carpet in progress!

It was a pretty fun morning with the boys,  moving books with Isaac "I'm helping with the books!", bookshelves with Porter "Did you see? It was way over there and now it's way over here!" And then watching as the carpet installer cut and ripped out the old carpet and pad. And playing puzzles and playdough at the kitchen table so the boys wouldn't get too close.

Hooray for some progress at last! And hopefully I'll love it so we can keep going and finish this project!