Friday, May 15, 2015

Daily Dose of Soph

While we were on our cruise...

Jen and Sophi were together when Xander came into the room and asked what his chore would be.  Jen told him he would help her move things as she vacuumed.  

Sophi: "Why are you vacuuming?"

Jen:  "Because it's Saturday and we need to do it."

Sophi:  "But why?  Is someone coming?"

;)

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Sophi painted these toes herself.  She did a better job than I would have done!




Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Ultimate Career

I read a wonderful quote from C.S. Lewis this morning:

"The homemaker has the ultimate career.  All other careers exist for one purpose only -- and that is to support the ultimate career."

What a true, yet easily forgotten concept.  Regardless of whether it's mom, dad or both that are in the workforce earning a living, all other careers exist for one purpose only:  to support a home with a nurturing and loving environment.

In a belated mother's day tribute, let me just say how grateful I am for my amazing wife Christianne.  An incredible mother.  An unsurpassed spouse.  She excels at the ultimate career.

Thank you, sweetheart, for all you do for our family.

Love,

Jeremy

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Favorite Aunt(s)

I was blessed to grow up in close proximity to my three aunts on my mom's side.  Actually, my mom has four sisters, but the oldest, Joyce, passed away at age 16, long before I was born.  I look forward to meeting her someday.  I have heard many wonderful things about her over the years.  My three aunts and I had a special relationship.  They were often over at our house while I was growing up.  We usually had a large family Christmas gathering at our home with my mom's family.  They would often come over just to chit-chat or play Yahtzee or have lunch together.  Often my mom would take my siblings and me to visit them as well.  And of course we would all get together at my grandpa's cabin in the mountains at least a couple of  times a year.  I have fond memories of these three great women all through my growing up years.

They really looked after me, too.  As I said, they were often over at our home.  Any time they heard I was going to scout camp or a school band trip or EFY (Especially For Youth summer camp at BYU), they would play meet it or beat it.  One of them would pull out a $10 bill, hold it up in the air and say, "Meet it or beat it!" and then hand it to me.  I'd get a big goofy grin on my face and just wait for the cash to pour in.  My other two aunts and their mom, Grandma Lind, would join in, each either meeting or beating the $10 given to me by the first.  It was a bit like a poker game, with each one calling or raising.  "$15!"..."$20!"...and so forth.  I could easily head off to my activity with fifty to sixty dollars in my pocket.

My aunt Barbara had four children, and she would often bring the younger two over to our house on Friday nights while she and her husband went on a date.  If I knew they were coming, I would time my evening plans around them being there.  As they dropped off the kids I'd ask if they could give me a ride to my best friend's house a mile or two away.  They would always say yes, and as I got out of the car, Barbara would hand me a $5 bill and say, "This is for having to ride with us!"

For a long time, aunt Debbie lived about a half mile from our house.  We would often go over there and play with her kids and her dog.  As a very young boy, I remember visiting her old A-frame house at the beach and going fishing with a cousin off of a bridge close by.  We caught a small flounder that we threw back.  Debbie LOVED the beach and, even since I have had my own family, she and sometimes her kids would come down for a day or two during the week we would have our Green family reunion in a house on the coast.

Aunt Becky had the most awesome house.  It was a large home that was pretty large, at least as I remember it.  I believe it had three stories plus a really cool attic.  Sometimes we would have our Christmas gatherings there.  There was a ping-pong table where I got lots of lessons from my older cousins Doug and Todd.  I remember staying the night over there a couple of times as a kid.

Often as I interacted with them, they would say, "'Cuz I'm your favorite aunt!"  And I would respond, "Yes!  You're my favorite aunt!"  (And of course, whichever of them was handing me money was decidedly my favorite aunt at that moment;)  All three of them, along with Grandma Lind, really were fantastic to me as I was growing up.  I'm so grateful to them for the wonderful memories they helped me create.

So it was with great sadness that I learned of Aunt Debbie's passing this week.  She was a great woman, and in recent years was enjoying her new grandchildren.  I'm so sorry for her kids and grandkids to have lost her at such a relatively young age.

Good-bye for now, Aunt Debbie.  Thank you for being so sweet, not only to me, but to my kids.  Thanks for spending a week helping your daughter, Chelsea, tend our large family while Christi and I went on vacation.  Thank you for coming to Utah with my mom and helping us when we just had one little boy and we were coming apart at the seams trying to figure out how to be new parents.  Thank you for the many times you made me laugh.  You will be missed.

Love,

Jeremy

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Good Advice!

Christi was very sweet tonight and told me she would take care of getting the kids to bed.  I could get some work done or read or do watch a playoff game or whatever I wanted.  Thank you, honey!

As I was walking out to the kitchen to enjoy my little respite, she told that kids that Dad was done "Daddying" for the day and that I was off limits.  "So," she said, "is there any last thing you want to say to him before he leaves?"

Lexi quickly pipes up:  "Don't break up with your wife!"

Fine counsel sweet Lex:)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Me Sophi

Sophi now has a YouTube channel called "MeSophi."  This is due to what she says anytime we record her:  "Hi.  This is me, Sophi..."  Pretty cute kid!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Backhanded Compliment?

Lexi, with the sincerest intent to pay me a compliment:  "Dad!  I love you as much as I love Into the Woods!"  I guess I'm in good company:)

-Jer

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Out of the Mouths of Our Kids

This evening my aunt Dian and uncle Dave came for dinner.  They brought along a couple of college students that work for them.  Both of these girls are from China.  One is here on a student visa and speaks fluent Chinese.  The other was adopted from China at 18 months old and speaks no Chinese.  One of the girls brought her boyfriend named Jonathan.  Jonathan is of Taiwanese descent, grew up in Maryland speaking no Chinese, then served a Mormon mission in Australia speaking Mandarin.  Our kids loved having other Chinese speakers in the home and our visitors enjoyed getting to know our special family:)

At one point Sophi had this conversation with Christi:

Sophi:  "You know that Chinese boy that's here?  I don't think he's a grownup.  I think he's a kid."

Christi:  "Why do you think that?"

Soph:  "Because I checked to see if he was wearing a ring."

Christi:  "Sophi, why were you checking for that?  (Sophi gets a big grin on her face)  Do you have a crush?"  

Sophi wouldn't respond with anything but a smile.  We may need to keep tabs on this one!

-----

Yesterday Taylor was driving Conner, Lexi and me home from an activity with the Utah School for the Blind.  (Taylor's first foray on the freeway!  He did very well:)  Conner asked if driving was hard. I told him can be hard to learn, but once you are comfortable with it, driving is really pretty easy.  I asked him if he wanted to learn to drive.  He started laughing loudly then said, "If I drive, it like roller coaster!"  An apt description:)

-----

Parker had a basketball game last night.  (Side note-that kid can flat out play!  20 points.  4 for 5 from  three point range, 4 for 5 from the free throw line and 6 or 7 steals.)  Taylor, Sophi and I went to watch.  As we sat down and watched Parker's team warm up, I was suddenly hit by how soon my big boys are going to graduate and be gone.  I looked at Sophi and asked, "What are you going to do when Taylor goes on his mission?"  She looked up at me with big sad eyes and said, "I don't know."  Then a light went on in those eyes and she said, "I know what I'm going to do when Parker goes on his mission.  I'm going to play his Xbox!"  Well, we know who will be missed;)

-----

After Parker's game, we stopped at Scheel's 'cuz Sophi loves to ride the Ferris Wheel.  We went to the counter and asked to buy four tickets.  The clerk explained that they stopped selling tickets an hour before closing due to the potential for long lines.  I thought for a minute, then very nicely asked if I might talk to a manager.  When the manager arrived, I lifted Sophi up on the counter and said, "This is Sophi.  She was SO excited to ride your Ferris Wheel.  I know you don't sell tickets this late, but could you possible make an exception for this very special little girl?"  (OK, I know it was kind of lame.  But really, a kid that goes through life dealing with Sophi's challenges deserves a break now and again.)  The kind manager not only said yes, he gave us the tickets for free.  What a great guy.  My favorite part of the story is this:  Since we only had two tickets, two of us wouldn't be able to ride.  I told Parker he could ride with Sophi, and he proceeded to ask her, "Sophi, would you like to go on a date with me on the Ferris Wheel?"  What a fantastic big brother and young man!

-----

Lexi LOVES the movie "Into the Woods."  We've tried to figure out how we can watch it at home with descriptive services, but no luck yet.  We bought an electronic copy anyway, and Lexi watched it  twice today.  As I was tucking her in tonight she said, "I'm going to watch Into the Woods tomorrow."  "Again?!?" I asked.  She giggled and said, "I'm incessed with it!"  Sophi piped up from the bottom bunk, "Yeah!  She's incessed!"  We worked on their pronunciation.  I still haven't seen it.  One of these days I'll have to sit with these two beautiful girls and see what all of the fuss is about.

-----

Conner to Lexi, "Lexi, did you know that when I married, my name still Conner Green but when you get married, you not Lexi Green anymore. You name change. Like maybe it will be Lexi Blue or Lexi Purple." smile emoticon

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Poetic License

We invited Jen to do a guest post for the blog as the culmination of her nine days of caring for our kids.  So here is a fun synopsis of the week from my talented little sister:)

Ten children, nine days, 1 dog, and a spinster:
It sounds like some dumb Lifetime movie.
But this was real life, and while certainly hard,
The experience mostly was groovy.

The kids are amazing; they’re helpful and sweet—
My wonderful nephews and nieces.
But if you’re like me, without kids of your own,
Handling 10 can reduce you to pieces.

It’s 10 little lives all dependent on you!
It’s 10 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 dinners!
It’s Cub Scouts and dance class, voice lessons and B-ball.
It is simply not made for beginners!

There’s homework to check, school projects to do.
There’s housework and cleaning, dog-walking.
There’s family prayer, and bedtime routines.
For 10 kids! The commitment is shocking.

And let’s face it, this family is not quite the norm.
It’s not just 10 kids you are facing.
It’s all kids of special requirements and needs
That those watching them must be embracing.

From blindness to wheelchairs and Soph without arms.
And really, it’s all quite amazing.
But this family just works as they all help each other.
These kids, I’ll forever be praising.

So yes, it is work, and yes, it’s exhausting,
And yes, my feet hurt every evening.
And yes, I admit as the days counted down,
I was not so depressed to be leaving.

Back to my life of my sweet spinsterhood!
Back to no kids and to quiet.
Back to a full DVR and my bed.
Away from the racket and riot!

And yet…those sweet children, they enter your heart.
And quickly, quite quickly, you miss it.
You’re missing the racket and riot and work.
You’re missing the time of your visit.

Because you discover, while caring for them,
That your trials in this life are tiny.
To complain about trivial problems you face
Just seems awfully silly and whiny.

And you miss all the hugs that those children give out.
And you miss all the smiles and kisses.
And you miss the cute things that the little ones say.
There’s a long list of the things this Miss misses!

And so, I will do it again, I am sure,
Giving Christi and Jer a vacation.
‘Cuz they do this all YEAR, each day in, each day out.
With barely a moment’s cessation.

So I’ll sign up again and be happy to help.
And I’ll go and play “Mom” at my best.
 Just maybe don’t ask me for several months
‘Cuz I’m still catching up on my rest!

Jennifer

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Find Me-Second Showing in Utah

Find Me - the documentary will be showing again at the Megaplex Theater at the District this Saturday, April 25, at 11:30 a.m. This is a last minute showing, so we would LOVE your help spreading the word so we can fill up the seats quickly!  smile emoticon Buy Tickets Here

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Our Hero!

I have several heroes in my life.  The one I am currently amazed by is my younger sister, Jennifer.  Christi and I had the AWESOME blessing of going on a Caribbean cruise last week.  We went with Christi's parents, three of her siblings and their spouses.  No kids!  It was a much appreciated opportunity to relax and get away from the challenges of daily life.  

Who in the world, you may ask, stayed with your kids?!?  Aunt Jenny:)  Jen is a wonderful woman.  She is extremely organized.  She took Christi's 12-page document of instructions for the week and doubled it, making sure that every minute of every day was accounted for and that as few surprises as possible would pop up.  The kids had a great time with her and they were all alive and accounted for when we returned.  Pretty incredible!  Thanks again, Jen, for a wonderful trip.  Thanks for being such a great sister and aunt.  We love you!

While on the cruise, we had limited email access and received a few updates from Jen.  Here is my favorite:

It is 9:50 p.m. All the kids are in bed, some of them long ago...some of them not so much. It snowed today. This added an element of wet, muddy mess to Molly. And the snow meant I had to drive Jesi to dance and Xander to his pack meeting because I just couldn't let them walk there and get freezing cold and I had all sorts of time to spare because this happened on a night of Elli absolutely breaking down and screaming and fighting so hard it took Taylor, Parker, Graci, and me to get her into PJs. And she bit me hard. Even drew blood, believe it or not.  But that's okay because this was the night that I found out Sophi had an animal project that was already due today, so had to be done tonight in order to be turned in only 1 day late (tomorrow). But that's okay because this was the night  I had already promised Cali I would try a couple different hair coloring things she had to see if they would work because I know she wants to color her hair. None of them worked anyway (none of them were permanent). But I didn't want to back down on that promise because there's not a lot I can do to connect with her and I wanted to keep my commitment to her. But that's okay because this was the night Sophi and Lexi needed their baths and I really just couldn't move it tomorrow because tomorrow is New Beginnings. But that's okay because this was also the night I had to edit Taylor's paper because it's due tomorrow. I had asked him Sunday and Monday if I could edit it because I don't like to procrastinate, but he kept putting me off and since it's due tomorrow, finally had to be done tonight.

All-in-all, I'm quite impressed it's only 9:50.

Oh, but I still have to clean the disaster of a kitchen 'cuz I told the kids I'd do it because they were all behind on their chores and homework because Matt and Carla and their 6 kids visited today until about 4:30. Which was great, of course, but pushed schedules back.

I deserve a freaking medal.

Love,

Jennifer

You absolutely deserve a medal, Jen!  We can't thank you enough:)

-Jer

Thursday, April 16, 2015

60 days later

We did it Taylor! 60 posts in 60 days! Thanks for the wake up call. Someday these posts will be like magic for your kids and grandkids. They'll be able to see you and your siblings progress through many precious stages of your childhood. 

Know that mom and dad love each of you so very much!

Dad

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Guaranteed to make you smile!



















Drivers BEWARE

This is a real, live picture of Taylor behind the wheel.  He is going about 45 miles per hour at this point.  Poor kid has to learn to drive in a 12-passenger van.  But he really is doing well.  Can't wait to have another licensed driver in the house!!!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Jesi likes a few flowers in her hair...

(Yes, she is using a bath towel as a shawl.)



Best Buddies:)

All on their own, no coaching from parents.  I love kids' imaginations!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Generous Graci

Graci LOVES her long hair.  When it gets to the point that it might be a good idea to cut it, it is often difficult to convince her of this fact.  A couple of months ago Graci decided she would cut her gorgeous black tresses and donate them to Locks of Love.  We're proud of you, girl!



Grandma's House

Over Christmas break most of the family went to Grandma's and Grandpa's house in central Utah.  Christi and I split up the time there so one of us could stay with Elli here at home.  While Christi was there, she made a few videos of the kids.  Here they are doing some arts and crafts and also sending messages to me:)  I feel very self-confident after hearing Lexi and Sophi!


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cutest Hula Hoop Ever!

Road Trip with Dad


Last month I had to go to Cedar City for work.  Six of the kids wanted to come with me, so we loaded up and headed down the freeway.  After my work appointment, we got to go to dinner at Chili's, watch the new Cinderella, and go swimming at the hotel pool.  What an adventure!





Sophi found out she can stand up by herself (and jump and dance!) in the shallow end of the pool.  Way to go, girl!!!




 On the way back home we took a short detour to Richfield and went to see Grandma Larsen.  I was talking to Grandma in the kitchen and suddenly noticed that the house had gone completely silent.  Our family does not do completely silent!  We couldn't find the kids in the house, so we ventured outside, only to find all of them, including Cali!, up in a tree.



Saturday, April 11, 2015

Waiting At Shriner's

Sophi and Cali both went with me up to Shriners hospital last month. We had to wait quite a while while they work on Cali's wheelchair.  It's amazing how much more patient kids are in these types of situations if there's an electronic device for them to enjoy!



Cultural Daddy Date

Last month there was a great local opportunity to celebrate Chinese culture.  There is a traditional Chinese dance company from New York that is called Shen Yun.  You can see some trailers of their performances at shenyun.com.  When I saw it advertised I thought Graci and Cali would love to attend.  They agreed:)  The three of us went up to Salt Lake for a fancy evening together and had a wonderful time.  I'm so glad for our ties to China and for opportunities to continue to learn about the Chinese history and culture.  Love you girls!  -Dad



Wax Attack

Christi has been threatening for years to wax my back. Tonight she decided the time had come.  OUCH!  Yes, I am blogging as I am being tortured. Thank heavens for iPhones.  OUCH!  Christi doesn't have a lot of sympathy for me, although she is impressed with how well I'm enduring it. She says she's been having her eyebrows waxed for years and I just need to suck it up.  OUCH!  Taylor, Jessica and Parker are watching with avid interest. Parker keeps saying things like "I don't know why I keep watching. It's really kind of nasty. But I can't look away."  OUCH!  Jessica keeps offering great supportive verbalizations. Things like "how much hair did he have before? Was it like a monster?" or "Dad, aren't you glad you're doing this?  Isn't it worth it? All this pain?"  OUCH!  I'm going to sign off now, before I black out. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

10-Year-Old Xander

It's amazing how fast children grow up.  Two weeks ago our sweet Xander turned 10!  Hard to believe he's been with us for almost six years.  Xander is such a wonderful boy.  He is thoughtful and kind.  He always tries to help.  And he is so creative!  He loves to build things with legos or other building sets.  He loves to cook and often tries new creations.  Xander, you are such an important part of our lives!  We love you so much:)

-Mom and Dad

Jesi insisted that she buy Xander a present with her own money.  The night before his birthday, Jess and I went to the store and she got him a football and a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  What a sweetie:)



He wanted pumpkin pie for his birthday cake:)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Beeping Easter Eggs

Every year around Easter, the Utah Council for the Blind sponsors an easter egg hunt.  They have special eggs that beep so that kids who are visually impaired can find them.  They also let parents and siblings get eggs, but they have to wear blindfolds so they can experience what their visually impaired family members are going through.  It's a really neat experience and we're grateful for the volunteers who help put it on.



Sophi standing next to any kind of character is a bit of a miracle.  She is finally OK with them.  Yay, Soph!



Mouths to Feed

We can always count on our kids to remind us if we're running short on food.  Parker lets us know if we're running low on 1% milk.  Graci always lets us know when we need more fruit.  Taylor alerts us if the peanut butter is almost gone.  Cali can't survive without almond milk.  And of course several of our kids are frequently pining for more Chinese food.

Today I walked into an ambush.  As I entered the living room, Graci and Xander started chanting "We declare more food!!!"  This particular time they were basing their revolutionary tactics on the lack of Asian food in the house.  They 'declared' it a couple of times, then Xander added, "and we have pitchforks and torches!!!"  Fortunately I was spared their wrath by the fact that they both burst into giggles after this comment.

Graci is SO amazing with her siblings.  She is always playing with them and taking time to share her imaginative play acting with them.  Graci, you are AWESOME!

Here is Xander demonstrating his "pitchfork and torches" look:

I told him that when he wears this "muscle shirt," I have to call it a "bone shirt" instead;)

-Dad

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sweet Conner

Conner is so sweet with his siblings.  He is particularly mindful of Elli and Sophi.  He will often give them hugs and talk to them.  In spite of Elli's special needs, he often reaches out to her and tries to let her know she is loved.   We're so grateful to have him in our family!  Thanks for being such a great big brother!


Cousin Ben

Over Valentine's Day weekend, my nephew Ben came to hang out with us.  He LOVES Xander and always looks forward to seeing him:)  And Xander loves it when Ben comes to visit.  Thanks, Ty and Laura for letting him stay with us.  Here are Ben and X-man all dressed for church:


Fashion Models!


Happy Birthday Lex!

Lexi is often at Grandma's house for her birthday it falls right after Christmas.  But even if she's in Ferron, she still gets breakfast in bed, gifts and birthday cake (Or, this year, cupcakes:)








We didn't get around to her actual party for a couple of months.  Lexi has always wanted an outdoor Teen Beach Movie party, but with a birthday in the dead of winter, that hasn't usually been feasible.  But with the unseasonably warm weather we had this year, we had a beach party in February!  She had pictures at the "beach," outdoor games, and even a campfire with hotdogs and S'mores.  Happy birthday Lex.  You are SUCH a special and important part of our family:)