Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Father's Day

Gavin is an amazing dad. The kind of dad every girl hopes of having for her children someday. When we were dating we both knew we wanted a lot of kids and talked about how fun it would be to have a big family together one day. Here we are 14 years later and it's been an amazing journey with him. This parenthood stuff. He is rockin' the dad title. And just seems to get better and better. He's involved in every part of their lives and they absolutely love him!

The sports. He doesn't ever miss a game. And there are lots of games and events with four kids involved in soccer, football, basketball, dance and gymnastics.

The fun dad. He dares to go on all of the big rides at the amusement park with the big kids but also takes the time to go on all the kiddie-land rides with the little ones.

An example, spiritually and physically. Our kids get to see their dad set goals and accomplish them. Because of his example, Jack and Ryan now have an interest in cross country, track and running 5K races with their dad.

St. George Marathon

My helpmate. He helps out every night with the bedtime routines. Brushing teeth with the kids. Diaper changes. Baths. Putting on jammies. And it usually ends with lots of laughter as he swings them into their beds and finishes up the day with a good night prayer.

Family outings and adventures. He's willing to put in the extra effort that is needed to go and do things as a family. It's not easy to go places with all eight of us, but that hasn't stopped our family from going on lots of picnics, parks, restaurants, trips (complete chaos with 8 of us on the airplane), amusement parks, boating, road trips, etc. It's always a workout but usually worth it in the end.

Father's Day was filled with cards and gifts . . . lots of ties. He got a couple of ties from me and each of the kids made him a tie (a white tie that they decorated in Primary), Mia made him a tie in nursery, Griffin gave him a chocolate gold medal and Jack bought him a card and cow tales candy but Ryan ate it before Jack had a chance to give it to him (the fun of sharing a room with a little brother).

I love that he proudly wore all of his gifts around his neck at church. Looking like a big BYU fan . . . Ryan's and Griffin's ties both had BYU written on them. The strange thing is that Griffin only knows how to write his name and the writing looked a little too polished to be his own. I guess his Primary teacher is a BYU fan and thought Gavin should be too.

Thank you Gavin for being such an incredible dad!

We had a Father's Day celebration at our house with some of my family and some of Gavin's family. Gavin chose his favorite meal for the dinner--Hawaiian Haystacks.

The cousins all had a great time together

and so did the adults

We finished off the celebration with yummy crepes (made by my hubby) filled with nutella, strawberries, bananas, ice cream and whip cream. Yum!

Happy Father's Day to my own dad! I love you so much and so do your grandkids! You've taught me so much as my dad but the things that really stand out are hard work, milk isn't the best thirst quencher when it's hot outside, the value of a penny, the joys of traveling around the world with a large family, swimming pools in the backyard make summers fun, take time to turn off the lights before leaving a room, and the number one thing . . . love your spouse. Thanks for being such a great dad! I love you!

Switzerland 1980 (Way before PETA . . . )

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Tribute

I'll blog about Father's Day in the near future but until that time--enjoy Ryan's tribute to his dad.

Friday, June 11, 2010


I admit it. I go a little crazy when my house is a mess and chaotic. I had this distorted vision of what my future family and home would be like when I was young. My home would always be clean, my kids would have jobs and responsibilities, they would never fight or be allowed to call each other names, my home would be a little piece of heaven at all times. Fast forward a few decades . . . heaven? Not even close (well maybe around 10 pm when they are all sleeping quietly in their own beds). Unfortunately, my kids do fight and call each other names. And it's been impossible to maintain any kind of order in the house on weekends with everyone in the house at the same time. I knew something needed to change if we were going to survive the summer together.

The last few summers, I implemented job charts with coupons the kids could earn. Shop til you drop with mom. Un-birthday party. Spend the day at work with dad. Movie night. Bowling with a friend. Build-a-bear excursion. It was a great idea but I was terrible at following through on the coupons. The kids earned them but rarely got to do what was on the coupon. I knew I needed to do something differently this time around.

Every parenting book seems to agree that it's not good to have an allowance dependent on chores completed. Kids should do their chores because that's what is expected of them and part of their responsibility in the family. Blah, blah, blah. I had to figure out something that would motivate my kids to do their jobs without me asking and reminding them all day long. And money was the best motivator.

They can earn $5.00 every week for doing all of their jobs right when they wake up. I'll help them but I'm not free. I charge $.25 for each chore they leave for me. I also charge $.25 for each piece of clean laundry that ends up on the laundry room floor (one child found this was the quickest way to clean his room). Jack and Ryan were very excited about the possibility of earning $5/week. Hadley, not so much. She's my child who enjoys serving. She said she didn't want any money for doing her jobs. I explained what the money could be used for--slurpees, shaved ice, shakes, birthday gifts, father's day, bowling, movies and popcorn, etc. All things my kids love!

The first week went pretty well. The house stayed clean (which is quite the accomplishment with 6 kids), they were able play with friends and there was order in the home. Jack and Ryan both lost a few quarters along the way (Jack paid me $.25 to do the dishes last night) but were all happy to get their money today. All but Hadley. She still didn't want to take her $5 but I forced her to take it and now she can go get a father's day gift with the money. It's amazing how excited they all were to do their jobs this morning with the new job lists posted and money in their wallets. Hopefully the excitement will last for 9 more weeks.

Weekly Job Lists

The kids had this great idea of taping a pen on their job lists. Morgan had a better idea. . . taking the pen off of the list and drawing all over the wall.

I need to let this cute girl do more. I realized this morning that she'd never vacuumed before. I showed her how to do it and let her loose. She loved it and actually did a good job (if you don't care too much about the vacuum going full speed into the chairs, couch and tv console). Looks like it's time for a new job list to be added to the wall. Welcome to the world of daily chores, Morgan!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Even though Jack is still a month away from becoming an official teenager, he seems like a different child than the one finishing up 6th grade last year. He likes naps after school. He'd rather play his itouch or wii games than hang out with us. He's thinks it's awesome when he purposely breaks something (his brother's bed and sister's scooter). He doesn't want any suggestions of what to wear or how to do his hair.

One thing that remained the same is his determination to get good grades. He finished 7th grade with 19 A's and 2 A-'s. He worked really hard and was hoping for another 4.0 this last quarter but ended up getting an A- in his computer technical skills class because of his grade on his last project -- business cards. I had to agree with the teacher. He chose an orange font with shadows. It was tricky to read. Straight A's or not, we are very proud of him!

Being honored as a member of The National Junior Honor Society of Secondary Schools.

Refreshments with a few of his best friends

At his final band concert last month, he decided to exercise his independence with his choice of shoes. I tried to talk him into wearing his sunday shoes but then realized it wasn't worth the battle. I remember being a teenager and wanting more freedom and control. It's hard as a parent to let go of that control and watch and hope your child makes the right choices but clothing and hair seem like minor things to give up.

This teenage phase is still new to us with Jack being the oldest. I'm nervous for next year. 8th Grade seems like the year when kids become more apathetic and friends become the most important thing in their life. I know I'm going to need a lot of patience with this next phase. I have a hard time not being in control but I also know how important it is for kids to be able to make their own choices and learn from the consequences of those decisions. That's easier said than done. There's so many decisions as a parent in this digital era--facebook? cell phone? itouch with internet access? private email? sleepovers? And there's no right or wrong answer, just what works best for each family. We need to get it figured out quickly because we're going to have a houseful of teenagers in no time. Wish me luck!