Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cutest Cousins!

I can't remember if we've already posted this video of Sophi and her cousin, Emery.  Either way, it's sure to put a smile on your face:)

Jer


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ultimate Competitor

The world at large is seriously missing out by our lack of a family reality show.  Sophi alone could easily supply enough must-see-TV moments to fill a weekly program.  She is absolutely hilarious, often meaning to be and often not.  Since you don't have the benefit of watching Soph on a TLC show next week, I'll attempt to share one of her moments from last night.  It loses something in the telling, but such is life...

Most of our family members were playing games at the kitchen table.  Sophi scooted her way up to Christi, Taylor, Parker and me.  We were playing a word game that was a bit over Sophi's head.  As we finished up, Sophi asked, "Do you want to play Spot It?"  Spot It Junior is a great game that allows younger kids to be competitive with adults.  We played a few rounds and Sophi did very well.  Suddenly, caught up in the excitement of playing - and competing in - a fast-paced game, she switched gears.  She challenged me:  "Do you want to play Rock, Paper, Scissors?"  "Sure," I said.

So we began a game.  She chanted, "rock, paper scissors, ROCK!", pounding her little foot on the table with each word and ending with her 'fist' shaped like a rock.  I had chosen scissors, so she smashed my two fingers.  Again, "rock, paper, scissors, ROCK!" Again her little foot fist was a rock, but I had chosen rock this time as well--a draw.  Again she chanted with gusto, "rock, paper, scissors, ROCK!"  Again with the rock.  I had chosen paper and covered up her little fist with my open hand.  A fourth round, "rock, paper, scissors, ROCK!"  Sensing what she might choose, I went back to scissors and her little face lit up as she smashed my fingers.

At this point, Christi, Taylor, Parker and I were all desperately fighting the urge to devolve into fits of laughter.  Sophi's intensity combined with her fierce commitment to ROCK! was utterly hilarious.  I am guessing that her propensity for this choice is at least partly due to the difficulty of making scissors or paper with her foot.  We continued to play a few more rounds.  She continued to choose rock and I continued to choose scissors.  She continued to smash my fingers with gusto each time!  She then shared this with us:  "I play this with my friend at school and I ALWAYS win!"  Again the other four of us were left trying to avoid belly laughs at the thought of the rather poor strategy demonstrated by this friend of hers.

It was such a cute moment I had to take a picture:


Sophi looked at the image and exclaimed, "What?!?  That doesn't look like a rock!!!"

Love that girl:)

-Jeremy

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Random PIcs

Taylor came home from church and was so exhausted he crashed on the couch.  Lacking a pair of earplugs, he dove under the cushion.  He is legitimately asleep here:)

I would love to know what dastardly plan Graci is concocting at this moment!




Xander seems to be her evil henchman...


My three bedraggled helpers as we shopped in the rain from some flowers to plant in our yard for Mother's Day 2015:



 Inseparable sisters!


Snug as a bug in a rug!


Cutie Cali:



 Basement flooding is a real bummer!



 Sophi selfie:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fun conversations...

I drove Conner, Lexi and Sophi home from the basketball game last night.  In those 6-7 minutes Conner's cuteness made me smile over and over.

Sophi:  Mom, why can Conner have another piece of pizza when we get home and I have to go to bed?

Me:  Because Conner is older and doesn't need as much sleep as you do.

Conner:  Sophi!  You don't want to eat right before bed because you are a girl and you will get fat!  Me, I want to get fat.  It is my wish.

Me:  Your wish is to get fat?

Conner:  (very sincerely) Yes!  To get fat and get a girlfriend!

Later...

Conner:  I very like Skylee.  She is so cute.  I very want to have a daughter like her.  I want lots of daughters because girls are very good.

Sophi:  I want sons and daughters.

Lexi:  Me too.

Sophi:  I want 18 kids.

Conner:  18!!!!!  That is too many!!   That is too hard to take care of.  You should have maybe 10 or less.  I want to have maybe four.

Lexi:  I want 8 kids!

Me:  I want 10 kids!  Wait, I have 10 kids!!  I got my wish!!!  (lots of giggles) But did you know that when Dad and I were dating, I didn't want 10 kids?  He wanted 8 and I said maybe that was too many.  
So we kind of fought about it.  (Backpedaling...) Well, not really fought about it.  Just argued about it.  (Backpedaling again) I mean talked about it.  It wasn't a fight.

Conner:  Yes, Sophi, like when someone thinks one thing is right and another person thinks they are right and you just talk about it.

Me:  Yes, Dad and I don't fight.  We disagree sometimes.  But we don't yell at each other.

Conner:  (in earnest admiration) Yes!  You are right.  I never hear you fight.  Dad is a very good man.  Crazy, but very good.



Ha!  I love those cute kids of mine....


Sunday, January 17, 2016

So Cute!

We are so grateful for the many fantastic programs available to visually impaired kids (and adults)!  These programs involve overnight programs, opportunities to meet well-known people who are blind, athletic activities, exposure to the arts, outdoor experiences and other activities which help our kids become more well rounded.  A big thanks to the many people who put these programs together and make them such wonderful experiences.  Earlier this month, Lexi and Conner attended a Project Strive activity.  They started out at Cracker Barrel for a great breakfast.  (If you've never been to Cracker Barrel, you're missing out.  Any of our friends from Tennessee can't understand that concept. Cracker Barrel is more ubiquitous than McDonalds in the south.  But if you live out west, find one and give it a try:)  After the meal, they went to the Hale Center Theater and saw the play "Beau Jest." They had a really fun day.  Every Cracker Barrel restaurant has rocking chairs on a covered porch.  Here are Lex and Conner resting up:


-------------
Christi and I came home from a date the other night and found several of the kids watching a movie.  It warmed our hearts to see Sophi cuddled up to her big brother.  They are both so lucky to have each other!


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Christmas in Argentina!

Sophi had to do a school report on Christmas in Argentina.  Here it is:  (guess which parent helped her.  Hint: she's really cute!)



-Jeremy

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy Birthday Lexi!

Our sweet Lexi Li turned 11 on December 28.  With it being so close to Christmas, we are sometimes at Grandma's house for her big day.  Such was the case this year.  I was in Ferron with all of the kids except Elli.  Christi and Elli were sick and stayed in Herriman.  Lexi's day started out with breakfast in bed made by Grandma Nelson.  As per Lexi's request there were sausages and a smoothie (among other things!)  Most of the family then traveled down to Cedar City to watch her brothers play in a basketball tournament.  She got to stay in a hotel for one night, visit her aunt Leslie in St. George a second night, and enjoy a birthday dinner at Chili's.  She loved it when the servers came out to give her a birthday cake and sing Happy Birthday.  Can't believe how fast our sweet girl is growing!  Love you, Lex:)

-Dad




PS.  If you look closely at the first picture above you can see some rather talented toes resting on the side of Lexi's bed.  Pretty cute!!!


Honest Evaluation

Tonight I was putting some medicine on Sophi's toe before she went to bed.  She asked me, "How old are you?"  I replied that I was 43.  She started counting up from there.  "44, 45, 46, 47" and on and on.  She made a few mistakes along the way and I corrected her.  By the time she got into the 80's, I had completely forgotten what had started her counting.

She continued, "96, 97, 98, 99, 100, and then you will die?"

It took me a minute to grasp what she was saying.  Then I had to laugh and say, "Probably!"

Love that girl!!!

Jeremy

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Blessed

We are so blessed!  It is tremendously humbling to see the many people who serve our family in so many ways.  We still have our amazing laundry fairies, who cannot possibly know what a blessing their service to our family has been.  We have grandmas, grandpas, siblings and other relatives who help to bear our burdens.  There are those who leave comments on our blog, Facebook and Instagram about how much they love our kids and how our kids have lifted their spirits.  The love they show in these comments lifts our spirits as well.  We still feel the love of the many, many, many people who helped to envision, design and build this incredible home.  (And we never take it for granted!  On a daily basis Christi and I talk about just how special an opportunity it is to live in a home not only tailor-made for our family, but a home in which the very walls are infused with the love of those who made it a reality.)  At this Christmas season we have felt the love of the many neighbors and friends who have sent cards and knocked on our door with neighbor gifts.  Thanks to all of you who continue to serve our family.

Today I want to specifically thank whoever brought the beautiful gift basket and left it on our porch a couple of days ago.  Not only was it filled with treats and delicious bread, it also had a Visa gift card with a balance that will help our family as we go through this holiday season.  We are so grateful!  Know that even though we are not sure who gave us this special gift, we are truly grateful.  And in some ways, it is wonderful not to know.  It allows us to think about the many people who may have been so generous.  So if you see Christi's or my smile linger on you for an extra second sometime in the next few days, we may be thinking "I wonder if it was them:)"

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

-Jeremy

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Yes, Christmas is without a doubt the most wonderful time of the year.  Celebrating the birth of our Savior is such a special opportunity each December.  The kids love the decorations and the music, the traditions and the extra time together.  We all love the spirit that fills the air.

There is, however, another thing that I look forward to this time of year...BASKETBALL!

Taylor and Parker both made the Providence Hall High School team.  They worked hard in pre-season practices, and then poor Taylor injured his knee in the first game and will be out until
January :(.  Poor kid!  He loves basketball so much, it's killing him to miss these games.

Parker is doing SO well.  As a 9th grader he is starting on the varsity team as the point guard.  He runs the offense very well, he averages 3 or 4 assists and 4 or 5 points per game.  But his defense and energy is what really sets him apart.  Defensively he gives the other teams fits.  Their point guards can't get in rhythm with Parker's constant deflections, steals and overall disruption of their sets.  He is so fun to watch!  (And so AWFUL to play against!)

Last night was fantastic!  (I'm not sure when my voice will recover;)  We played Rockwell, who is crazy good from the 3-point line.  They hit 70% (13/19) from behind the arc last night.  That is an almost unbelievable percentage.  We started out slow and they went up by 17 points.  It looked like it was going to be a long night.  Parker started slow and came out after a couple of minutes.  At the end of the 1st quarter we were down by about 15.  To start the 2nd quarter, Parker came in and never left the game again.  Parker's defensive intensity really helped the team to slow Rockwell down.  We closed out on their 3-point shots, limiting the number they could get off.  We rotated well to the ball.  And slowly we started to close the gap.  We were down by 5 at halftime.  Up by four at the end of the 3rd quarter.  Then it was a back and forth game in the 4th quarter.  Our big guy and our best 3-point shooter both scored a lot of points.  With 13.8 seconds left, we were down 45-44 and we were inbounding the ball.  We ran a play for our big guy in the middle.  He had scored 25 points on the night and was doing very well.  They anticipated that and as soon as he got the ball, 3 guys smothered him.   He spun around, but couldn't get a shot up.  He passed it down to Parker, who was on the left side of the hoop, about 5 feet away.  Parker took the shot...and made it!  With no time left on the clock!  We won 46-45.  Like I said, my voice is still just a hoarse whisper:)

Congratulations, Parker.  He was named player of the game by his coaches.  Here is the quote from Max Preps:

Player of the Game

Congratulations to #5 Parker Green for being selected the Providence Hall Basketball Player of the Game.
5 points, including game winning basket with no time remaining, great ball pressure defense leading to 4 steals plus numerous deflections and bad passes, 3 rebounds, 4 assists.

Taylor has been so supportive of his brother's success.  I'm so proud of both of them!  Her are some pictures.  They are from a game last week when our team got to play at the arena the Utah Jazz play in.  Fun!  Love you guys!  -Dad



Looks like he's trapped...

Not so much:)

Taylor looks glumly on.  Hope that knee heals quickly!!!









Wonderful boys.



Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hearts for Syria

As I listened to the First Presidency devotional Sunday evening (found HERE), my heart felt a tug to refocus my Christmas efforts.  I had spent the last several days shopping for my ten beautiful children (thank heavens for online shopping!) and truly loved every second of it.  Gifts are a fun and beautiful part of Christmas, but I started to wonder if I was truly bringing the spirit of Christ into our home and intentionally finding ways to honor Him.  I reflected on some conversations I had had with a few of my kids in the days prior. One was with Sophi and Lexi, who were concerned about their friends left behind in orphanages.  The other was with Xander.  He had watched a video about the Syrian refugees escaping by boat into Greece, and his heart was very concerned for them.  He had asked me if he might go door to door and collect money for the Syrian refugees.  I told him he had such a kind heart and that we would talk about it, but I hadn't followed up.  As I reflected on those conversations, I thought how beautiful it was that my kids were concerned about others who were suffering, and how sad it was that I hadn't taken the time to do something about it.  So after some thought, we planned a family home evening for Monday where we could put their good thoughts into action.  

Sophi wanted to raise money for a little boy who was also born without arms and who is in China waiting for his forever family.  He has been matched, but that family is still collecting funds to complete his adoption.  For this boy, Sophi is making toe-print snowman ornaments to sell for $2.00. We are waiting for the wood pieces to arrive (they should be here tomorrow), but they will resemble the bottom one here:



Lexi and Conner wanted to raise money for children who are blind and are waiting for families to adopt them.  We decided to make little white cane ornaments with a tag that says, "The blind will see," a line from one of our favorite Christmas songs, "Mary, Did You Know?"  I think the canes turned out adorable, and it was so precious to watch our kids make them.    And honestly, I can't think of a more perfect ornament to honor Jesus Christ.



Xander didn't care what we made to raise money for Syrian refugees, so I decided on these paper hearts because they were inexpensive and easy, and it represented that our hearts are with the refugees:




We spent the evening making canes and hearts.  We did a lot of green and red hearts because not only are they Christmas colors, but they are the colors of Syria as well!  All the kids participated and we had so much fun!  The idea was for the kids to go out another day to sell them door-to-door for $1.00 per ornament.  Well, after realizing how easy the hearts were to make and how great the need is for the refugees, I wondered if other kids might like to do the same thing.  I know that many parents are like me-- wanting to give their kids opportunities to focus on putting Christ into Christmas.  

So... we are loving if you would like to participate in what we are calling "Hearts for Syria!"

You can participate in one of these ways!

1.  Have your children make the heart ornaments (tutorial to follow) and sell them.  They can donate the money made to a page I have set up on YouCaring.  Just click HERE.  I chose this site because they do not charge a fee like GoFundMe.    Besides the 2.5% fee for using a credit card, ALL money can go directly to the refugees. Or, if you don't want to use an online venue, you can send us a check and we will get it where it needs to go!

2.  Buy a heart from a child who comes to your door.

3.  Buy a heart online.  Pay for your ornament by making a donation on the YouCaring page.  We are suggesting a $2.00 donation per paper heart (instead of $1.00 if you buy it in person) to cover the mailing costs. Then LEAVE A COMMENT there or at check-out that you would like an ornament sent to you.  In order to make it easy to send, your heart will arrive looking like this: 

  

Just bend down the strips and put a staple in.

4.  Make your own heart! Have your child make their own heart! Then hang it on your tree and make a donation on the YouCaring page.  We are suggesting a $1.00 donation so that all kids can participate  with their own money (though you can of course donate more!)

5.  SHARE this fundraiser!  Can you imagine how amazing it would be if this little paper heart ornament started to find it's way to LOTS of Christmas trees this year?!!   That when people saw this simple paper heart, they knew it meant that your heart was with the refugees!   I am often reminded of the scripture, "By small and simple things, great things are come to pass."   I know that it's possible that something as simple as a paper heart can bless the lives of so many people who are suffering!!!

PLEASE, if your kids participate, consider sharing your photos on Facebook, instagram, or twitter with the hashtag #heartsforsyria so that we can join in the fun!


Of course, you are welcome to buy or make a paper heart and then donate directly to any charity who supports Syrian refugees.  I just thought it would be extra fun to have all the donations go to the one site (at youcaring) so that we could track how much money is being raised.   There is an explanation on the youcaring  page as to how the money will be distributed to the refugees.  You can trust me that we will treat the money raised as sacred funds, and ALL proceeds will go to the cause as listed.

Now for a tutorial from cute Parker:



Realize the hearts do not have to be complex or difficult.  If you are a professional crafter, you will likely have them looking extra amazing by adding embellishments or hiding the staples or using beautiful paper.  But simple hearts work great too!  In fact, I think my favorite ones are those with just two hearts-- using four strips of paper.   If you are doing the two-hearted version, just have the smaller strips half the length of the long strips.  So if you're doing 12 x 12 paper, use two 12-inch strips and two six-inch strips.  Double sided cardstock looks best, but you can even use plain white computer paper and a stapler and make a great ornament.  I even made one using an old Christmas gift bag (it could easily have made 15 ornaments.)   If you don't have a stapler, you can use glue or tape-- we just found a stapler is the easiest, and I personally don't care about the fact that you see the staple.  Yesterday I had a 15 minute window to make some, and I was able to make 9 ornaments in 15 minutes using 3 sheets of paper.   Here is a picture tutorial of me doing it, complete with my busted thumbnail smothered in superglue:


Take two pieces of paper (we did red and green) and cut into 9 even strips.  Or 8 or 10-- whatever you want.   Cut them at the same time to make it easier. 
Take one piece of another color (we used white),  cut in half, then into 9 even strips (these strips will be exactly half the length as the red and green ones).  So now you will have 9 green strips, 9 red strips and 18 white strips.
take your ribbon or string and fold it in half.  Set it about 3/4 the way up one of the long strips

put the other long strip on top and add a staple.  This will secure your ribbon/tie.

add the short strips on the front and back.  You may put a staple in at this point or just hold it securely.  Fold down the strips to make your heart and put a staple at the bottom.  If you've used thick paper, you may need to put a staple on both sides as Parker did in the video.
I was able to make these 9 hearts start to finish in about 15 minutes Yes, I've had practice-- but this is definitely not a long, messy project.  Are they perfect?  No.  Doesn't matter!  Don't worry about making them perfect!

And finally, if you would like to order one of Sophi's toe-print Santa ornaments or Lexi's and Conner's white cane ornaments,  you can use this Paypal link and if you will, please leave a comment with your order details.  (:

Thanks and Merry Christmas!!!




Random pics

Sisters!  Leslie, Becky and me at Bethany's wedding.  (Bethany is Becky's daughter and the first of our kids to get married.)  As soon as I get some, I will post pictures of the beautiful couple!
We love the deer that frequent our backyard
Best friends (:
Santa Claus!
First formal date!  (:  Oh my goodness-- I just choked up as I was typing that.  My first baby, all grown up!
Graci took this last night as she went to see the lights on Temple Square.  Beautiful!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Great Student!

Last month we received this wonderful email from Parker's biology teacher:

Hello Parker Family, 

I just wanted to let you know (and congratulate Parker) that Parker was the only Honors Biology student to earn a grade of 100% (IB score 8) on his term 1 final exam.  

Good job, Parker!  Keep up the good work!

Mrs. Peterson

Way to go, Parker!  Thanks for being such a great kid:)

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Legend of Buckbeak

Our family LOVES the Harry Potter books!  Taylor and Parker read them a few years ago and got me started on them.  Then recently, Xander, Lexi and Conner have started reading them, and I am rereading them.  I get them on CD and listen as I drive.  (Unbelievably fantastic narrator, by the way!)  As we've been reading, we have also been watching the movies.  We have watched the first three so far.  These earlier movies are lighter and more kid-friendly than the ones to come, and we have let Sophi watch them with us.  She is a bit nervous about watching them, so she sits in my lap and I cover her eyes if there are scary parts.

Everyone has their favorite characters (ask Lex about her crush on Ron Weasley;), and somehow, Sophi has become utterly enamored with Buckbeak the hippogriff.  When they play act Harry Potter stories, she always tells Ron and Harry to "say hi to big Buckbeak!"  I'm not sure exactly why this mythical creature has so captured her fancy, but she is very much in love with him.

This morning, Christi walked in on Sophi in her bedroom.  Soph had a composition notebook in her feet and was reading:  "The Legend of Buckbeak."  This is a book that Sophi has written.  Or maybe is still writing (it is a bit short).  She had asked Christi to print out a picture of Buckbeak a day or two earlier and glued it in here herself:



For those of you who can't read Sophisian, let me translate:
Buckbeak
It is nice.
It is fast.

And there you have the legend of Buckbeak.  We have reached out to J. K. Rowling for a licensing deal.  No word yet.

Love this girl!

-Jeremy