ack, back to school shopping? september? don't even mention those things to me. we are having way too much fun with summer.
the awesome whattoexpect.com website just posted a list of 31 things to do in August, and i'm so excited for them. what's your list look like to embrace the end of summer?
ack, back to school shopping? september? don't even mention those things to me. we are having way too much fun with summer.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 7:07 AM
i pulled back the covers to my bed last night and asked ty, "the kids are having a great summer aren't they?". he chuckled a "yup" out before his eyes started sliding shut. i sighed as i pulled the sheets up over me and started to ponder. ty was snoring in 12.3 seconds and i thought about getting up to watch tv or read, but i just thought and thought.
i have enjoyed this summer, as all summers. something about having all my chicks home at the same time is endearing and absolutely exhausting all at once. but,
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 7:49 AM
ty has volunteered in our church to work with the Boy Scouts of America for a long time. approximately 10 out of our 11 years of marriage.
one time i complained that he was always gone on campouts. my dear friend is a widow told me how her son looked forward every month to those campouts .
and i have never (ok tried not to) complain since.
but scouts means scout CAMP. and if it wasn't during the hottest month of the year, i don't think i would blink an eye. it doesn't bother me too much when ty is gone, i just keep on doing what we do you know? but our favorite tradition now is going somewhere with just mom and the kidlets during camp week.
this year we ran away by ourselves (No aunt sarah) to california. We picked up aunt Danna and visited the ocean with my old college bestie Christie.
we swam, we marveled at the waves and dolphins. we walked and collected sea glass. i felt like the sand and the waves pulled away a lot of my daily stress and worry about life. corny, i know.
most importantly we talked, and talked and talked about what's happened over the last 13 years since freshman year at BYU.
my favorite part, apart from the friendship, were the gloomy and overcast skies. oh! i loved them.
finding sand crabs
phoebe doesn't need captions
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 7:10 AM
ty took out the umbrella stroller out of the back of the car last weekend, and left it on the porch. every time i walked into the house i would remind myself "make sure you put the stroller back in the trunk!". because, you know, you can't be caught without a stroller when you have a baby.
i mentioned this to ty yesterday and he kind of chuckled, "he doesn't really need a stroller like that anymore". that caught me off guard, and i got a little defensive, until ty reminded me, "he did climb that mountain by himself annie."
it's true, my baby did hike with us last saturday all by himself.
goodbye umbrella stroller, it was nice seeing you all the time. sniff, sniff.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 6:24 AM
my first hired writing was published this morning.
yup, i'm an official blogger for whattoexpect.com
watch out for my book at barnes and noble next year. hardy har har!
but seriously, please take a gander at my post here. it validates my puny existence.
and if you like it, feel free to share it on, you know, any social media website you please.
i never knew this little old thing would one day end me up getting paid to write. i mean, i once lost a child i was holding. just don't tell my editor in new york city that. (yes, my editor in NEW YORK CITY)
ok, enough bragging. rock on my readers, rock on.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 8:11 AM
oh, the heat. it's not the first time i've lamented about it, but this summer feels especially toasty. i'm not complaining too much, we are extremely spoiled to be able to swim at my parents' pool. i don't know if it is because i grew up with a pool, or because heat makes me insufferably cranky and tired, but i couldn't live here without a pool. honestly, it's salvation in a blessed rectangle.
this summer has been the summer of purposefully choosing to try harder every day. try harder at growing spiritually, mentally and physically. that's no small task in case you were wondering. it's really easy for me to physically work on myself, i enjoy exercising and learning new ways to eat better. spiritually, i've always been a stubborn mule on that one. i'll do good and then be obstinate about consistency. blah. mentally is the same, i will read a cluster of good books and then have a dry spell of nothingness but watching mindless drivel not the tv with ty.
all the kids are working on their library reading project and learning how to dive/swim better. we have a few friends over once a week (i can't really handle anymore than that) and take trips to get frozen yogurt and groceries. we also have spent a TON of time zoning out on tv and the iPad. i spend all.day.long with the kids EVERY day.
nap time/quiet time is my small 2hr block of time to unwind and plan the rest of the day, but i can't tell you how much i have to pray every day to be able to stay calm with the kids after 6pm. and most of the time it doest help (ack).
working on my own weaknesses and strengths is a challenge in and of itself. as long as i keep trying more than giving up, i believe i'm still heading in the right direction. at least i hope! a lot of the times in my effort to be better, i will take notes of other women or mothers that i know that i perceive as doing a "good job", and i try to imitate or recreate their routine or actions. even just typing this i see the mistakes in that method, but it is what it is. many good routines and things have come into our family because of my attention to positive aspects of other family's lives. but another thing can happen, and that is forcing things that aren't meant for me or my family because they look "good". it's a fine line between trying to be better by following your own desires instead of Heavenly Father's.
one thing i want for my children is a strong mind, body and character. i want them to know who they are and their purpose here on earth. they are all so unique with their qualities and weaknesses. i don't think i'm alone in the feeling that it is such a challenge being a mother.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 7:53 AM
my earliest, and favorite memories of Independence Day were jumping off of rocks the size of two story houses, fishing for crawdads and getting burnt to a crisp at Lake Tahoe. the cool evenings spent on the top level of a parking garage, lying on top of the suburban, on top of a lumpy electrical blanket (i thought everyone brought their old electrical blankets for picnics) and oohing and ahhing at each burst of light. the radio static would eventually leak through a few strains of a patriotic song and we would devour bags of candy before heading home in utter bliss.
the kids have never disappointed on the 4th of July, except the one year we woke Lucy up for the fireworks and she asked to go back to bed. and the three years in a row we refused to take Rodney because he hates loud noises. but it is always full of family and fun and someone getting burnt by a firework.
this week on pinterest was post after post of patriotic nails and tees and etc. etc. etc. well, i'm lame. i don't have patriotic nails, or shirt, or matching dresses for my girls. but we will swim and eat bbq and get sunburnt and watch the fireworks display. i hope my kids have magical memories of all of these small things that we have the FREEDOM to choose to do or not to do.
God bless America
Home of the Free
i snapped a few of these photos with Ty's phone on our way home from Las Vegas this week. the heat was suffocating, 115*? 116*? and our little car was struggling to keep the air cooler than 90*, but i still saw some desert beauty with my eyes. maybe i will survive this summer
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 6:56 AM
life is full to the brim of summer around here. soggy swimsuits draped over the shower rod, damp towels drying in the laundry room. swimmer's ear drops on the counter and mac n' cheese for lunch every darn day. we watch too much tv, and try to sleep in (rodney isn't getting the memo). we haven't TOUCHED the piano in weeks and i'm perfectly fine with the break from everything.
ty is gearing up for scout camp and trying to recover every night from working in the heat all day. speaking of heat, auggie the doggie will do anything to nap on the tile inside the back door after it reaches over 101*. ha, lightweight. but his sad eyes work most afternoons: bonus, he eats all the crumbs there and in the laundry room!
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 8:26 PM
i took a big step today. i am giving away (or tossing) my pajamas.
don't feel badly, i haven't bought pajamas in four years. i currently have been sleeping in, whatever tshirt i pull off a hanger, with a pair of pajama pants. my pj tops and pants are always! mismatched, and after a quarterly organizing spree of folding them all together it only lasts a week before they separate from each other. seriously, my clothes just don't get along or something.
one of my goals this year is simplifying my life. aint nobody got time to organize their 7 pairs of pajamas.
on a side note, rodney is starting to laugh and point when i don't have my pajamas on and just my whitey tighty templeroos. if he were older, i would sit him down and lecture him about the laws of gravity and what nursing four babies does to the chesticular region. but as he isn't, something's got to give. get it? hahaha
|not the nightgown i ordered|
in order to solve the problems i ordered two nightgowns and a nice kimono for unexpected morning visitors. like, the bug man or water man. yikes.
i'm pretty sure i can keep track of two nightgowns and one robe. heaven help me, because if not i've got more issues than pajamas if i can't pull this off.
i think my granny would be proud.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 4:09 PM
i rolled out of bed at 6:30 to Rodney calling me to "get hims out!", as i walked to his room i noticed sore, wobbly legs from yesterday's workout and decided to grab my pillow and blanket too. he and i plopped down onto the couch and watched transformer cartoons while i snoozed in and out of comments and questions "whads that? who's dat? are you sleeping?". the girls woke up at 7:00 on the dot and all decided that since the last time i made cracked wheat, they decidedly do not like it anymore. thank goodness the boy still does, he ate two bowlfulls.
then the whining and complaining and fighting began. over what to watch on tv, to clothes and hair do's. no one wanted to go swim or work out today. please can we stay home? two kids had to be reminded FOUR times to put their shoes on. everyone wanted to stay home. being the awesome mom that i am i bribed them with frozen yogurt from the gas station if they all "played" nice for my workout.
it didn't work. rodney was crying 4 minutes into my warm up. we had forgotten his star wars toys and he wanted to go home. phoebe and abby were fighting over the rope, and then the rowing machine and then just who knows what else. lucy won't stop talking, won't stop talking, won't stop talking.
"what am i doing wrong?" i think. we have crayons and coloring books, white board and dry erase markers, bikes, trikes, snacks and work out equipment they love to "play" on and they are all whining to go home. it hasn't even been two weeks of summer and they've cracked. we came home and the boy didn't want to nap, i still made him, but it was an extremely short hour and a half for my serenity. the girls zoned out on studio c episodes and i read my new book club book. makayla came over and entertained phoebe during the down time which was wonderful, despite my plans to have her nap as it has been almost a week since she had one and was due. i got a headache and cranky by 5. we ate dinner and then no one was listening to me. i finally got some kids thrown in a cold bathtub and rinsed off and the others brushing their teeth and in pajamas. phoebe got her first bloody nose during scripture study and the girls (again) weren't listening at bedtime.
so i'm writing about it. but yesterday! yesterday was a completely different story.
because they all miraculously slept in until 7:30 i got up and ready before the kids, ( rodney even went to bed at 6:30 the night before). everyone happily ate their cheerios and, AND cleaned up without complaining. they all ran to get their swimsuits on and i only had to remind 2 kids to get their shoes on once! i packed the snacks, and my swim suit into my mary poppins' swim bag and we took off. ah, a fresh monday for a new week! they swam happily with the sitter (cousin ari) while i trudged away at my workout. i'm so lucky to have babysitters. we all happily swam together after i finished, visited with the messers and came home hungry and tired. the house stayed relatively clean and the kids were pleasant.
despite my preparation today (cracked wheat in the crock pot) and plans, the kids were just grumpy. yesterday they were fine. and that's just how it is, good days follow bad ones and vice versa. even when i'm prepared we have poop days and on thrown together days they are happy as little clams. sometimes there are reasons, sometimes it's a crap shoot.
yesterday i woke up refreshed and happy. today i woke up like a zombie. and then the kids' all followed my lead. i'm a work in progress if anything.
they didn't get frozen yogurt in case you were wondering.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 8:04 PM
i've been teaching a 6-7 year old class in church every sunday for a year and a half now, my favorite part, aside from watching them try to sit still and not wiggle for 2 hours, is singing the primary songs with them. even though i'm not so talented in the vocal department, i love singing these simple verses that always help me think more about motherhood, families, and our relationship with God.
here are some lyrics we sang on sunday:
God gave us families
to help us to be what he wants us to be.
this is how he shares his love,
for the family is of God.
i've said it more than once on here, parenting is hard! motherhood is exhausting and being the dad is stressful. but i can look at the trials ty and i have passed through as parents and wouldn't trade them for anything. we both are better people, parents, and spouses because of each and every one of them.
ty loves things clean and orderly. he is willing to sacrifice having the house perfect for a few decades to endure a house full of growing mess makers. (it still needs to be clean(ish) just not perfect)
ty loves having things work just the way they are supposed to and look nice. because we have a large family he spends 1/2 of his time fixing our hand me down tools and older cars before he can get the work done. we laugh that in our house every time you fix something, two other things will break.
he would love to spend his time on his dream truck, but he knows the kids will grow and be gone and there will be plenty of time for things like of that nature later (i help him remember this too).
but i think i love him most because he gives me beautiful children, and in the first place he knows everything about me and still agreed to have a family with me. win/win
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 7:07 AM
I found a high chair at a yard sale when Rodney was one; not just any high chair, the high chair I had always wanted. Small, simple, wooden, classic. Rodney ate in for the next 18 months.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 3:37 PM
|carol 1943 panama|
"pick your battles", this is pretty universal, but i use it especially in our marriage and with my kids. as the knight says in Indiana Jones, "choose wisely." haha
"bananas"- "mom, where are you going?"
"fruit loops"- "Mom, what's for dinner?"
"they probably have problems at home", we would hear this whenever we would come home and lament about friend or peer problems. and guess what? it's always true!
"they're probably on drugs"- anytime would see someone doing something especially outlandish, and guess what? true again mom
"when you potty train, you only train yourself"- i totally refused to listen to this one the first time around. lesson learned!
"oh my stars and garters!"- an exclamation of surprise, i love it
"are you reading your scriptures?" or "did you pray about it?", this was an easy way to cut off any moaning and gnashing of teeth over our silly personal problems. i can't imagine everything she has listen to us all complain about!
my favorite memories of my mom from growing up was hot breakfast waiting for us every weekday. her smiley face she drew on our notes. reading to us. all those stops at historical markers that i loathed as a kid, i totally do that now!! camping trips, and long road trips to see family, and her remarkable patience. my mom was almost 40 when she had me and i never remember her freaking out about anything i did...ever. bad grades, late curfew, wrecking their car(s), even my freshman year of college i forgot to take a final (I KNOW) and she didn't even complain, we just hopped into the car, drove up there, took my test, ate a yummy lunch and drove home. luckily all my other siblings had wore her down by the time i came around, nothing surprised her and i think she essentially knew by then what was important to wig out about and what wasn't. in college i would probably call home once a month complaining about how hard it was and how i wanted to move closer to home, to which she would reply, "just keep trying and working hard, or you could just come and live at home for forever." ha! that one always nipped my grievances in the bud.
my mom was 24 and in the middle of getting her master's degree from BYU when she married my dad and moved to Chicago. she helped put my dad through Northwestern for 4 years while teaching elementary school (a few years in the inner-inner city too). she then raised 7 children from 1968 till forever (does it ever stop?). she finally finished her master's degree at UNR in the early 90's and never stops working and moving from project to project at church, home or with my dad. their next big project (together!) is a mission for our church. we are all eagerly awaiting their call!
happy birthday mi madre, muwah!
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 7:45 AM
well, it's here. the birthday week where i will mourn every nap time and bedtime with my baby.
my baby wears diapers and sleeps in a crib
my baby talks to strangers, and they understand him
my baby feeds himself with a fork and spoon and drinks from a "Non" zippy cup
my baby has gone #1 in the potty 7 times all on his own volition
my baby loves star wars legos, ninja turtles, pirates and robots
my baby loves to dress up (we only have dresses and skirts) and says "WOOK! i'm a pirate!"
my baby snuggles and hugs me every day
my baby lets me sing lullabies to him
my baby still holds my hand and tells me he "Wuvs me"
my baby can count to ten and sing the alphabet
my baby has his favorite books memorized
my baby knows the differences and names of all heavy equipment on construction sites
my baby knows every Jedi
my baby isn't a baby, but i want him to stay a baby forever.
this morning i told him he could live in our house and play nintendo the rest of his life (but not really)
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 4:03 PM
this is the third year we have trekked to the cemeteries with all kids for memorial day. and for par, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth and a few graves accidentally walked over (seriously overton cemetery, a few markers?). in case anyone is looking for an eagle project, hint hint.
anyways, we went as soon as the heat lowered from sweltering to just a simmer. we told the kids about their relatives and our family friends that we saw. we walked and i teared up at all of the babies buried, oh, so many babies. one of my greatest fears is losing a child. as we drove home i told ty, i don't think i could handle that. but then i thought, what about losing a child spiritually? that should be my greatest fear, it's something i try not to think about. my greatest goal for my life is to raise all my children with strong testimonies of Jesus Christ and the gospel.
the fear of losing an adult child through poor choices and addictions drives me to do some silly things. i get frantic about protecting them against pornography, FRANTIC. i try to limit their exposure to media, songs, and conversations that are blatantly promoting breaking the commandments. i also get uptight and yell and scream because i want them to be happy, successful children. the irony is not lost on me.
enough with the tangent: taking them to the cemeteries is important to both of us, and even though they complain about it, i know as adults they will be grateful.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 7:40 PM
a wedding! we love weddings! the kids have been waiting ever so not patiently for the day to finally arrive. we all dressed up in our nicest duds, and drove to the temple for Taylor and Megan's wedding. it was beautiful! they were sealed for their time on earth and for all eternity together by a beloved family friend and neighbor. it was a perfect day all around and we all had a wonderful time.
enough sappy stuff, here are some pictures to remember the momentous occasion by.
|light saber app fights saved the R man's no nap attitude|
|look at those eyes!|
|love this one|
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 6:06 PM
my reading habits are sporadic with novels. i'm either in a frenzy, reading one after the other or i have a dry spell. i'm always on a lookout for a good book, and i usually find one that i'm in the "mood" for. some weekends it's fluff that i need, other times i'm ready for a good historical non-fiction, or a historical romance. yes, i really enjoy historical novels.
anyways, the days have been pleasantly warm, but not too hot and i've let the kids take late naps and skipped cleaning to revel the loveliness of just "being" outside without the need of a pool or water in some form or another.
we just read this book for our book club. i'm not a huge young adult novel fan, and i also had food poisoning while reading it, so i will just say this. i enjoyed it, and i didn't enjoy it all at the same time. it was witty, and funny, agnostic and tragic all at once. i'm glad i read it, the writing was very interesting, the end.
but this, this was a gift of a novel. there are few books where i say, it impacted my life and this one did. it was, as i told joshlyn, who graciously gives me wonderful books to borrow, " hauntingly beautiful". i recommend it as a read to any woman/mother. i really just love when a woman is written well, hallelujah!
anne morrow lindbergh led a fascinating life, and this historical fiction captured it well. being a woman is a wonderful contradiction to me, it's full of beauty and sacrifice, and i love learning about other mother's stories.
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 12:16 PM
what does your list look like?
now that i'm home and looking around my house, i realize how neglected it has been.
slowly, i have been cutting out a lot of commitments i have made outside of the home and focusing more on home. my list of things that need to get done and i would like to get done around here this year is written down.
how do you tackle home projects? slow and steady? or all out warfare? i'm kind of an all or nothing person, but luckily the only way is slow and steady with a house full of kids.
in other news, after we came home from California i came down with an awful case of food poisoning. and when i say awful, i mean it and will spare you the gory details.
thank goodness for my parents and grandma leavitt, they saved the day for me on friday when i was ready to curl up in a ball and die. luckily, there is amazing modern medicine and i'm starting to feel like i have both feet on the ground.
we have a wedding this weekend! so exciting! and memorial day!! and summer just around the corner, i can't tell you how excited that makes me.
this year has been full of ups and downs for me personally, and us as a family. its' frustrating, to feel like i'm making some personal progress and then wham! another hurdle put in our way. i'm going to take this quote to heart this week:
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 12:19 PM
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 10:55 AM
i joined Facebook in 2008? or 2007? i can't even remember. i never went on much the first year. and then slowly over time, more friends added, and then family members, and it was wonderful to keep in touch! such a lifesaver!
my mom always tells me of the times in the seventies when calling your family/friends was so expensive, you could hardly do it. it was extremely difficult to be isolated all the time from your peers and family.
i think i have the opposite problem. thanks to social media i am dripping with online contact with my peers and family members. I KNOW TOO MUCH. and the more i would know, the more i would feel sorry for myself.
but here's the problem, i couldn't get off of it.
i deleted the app from my phone, but still couldn't get off on the computer.
i was sure i would miss something if i didn't check Facebook multiple times a day.
and so, in a moment of desperation and a need for intervention i threw up my hands and said, "That's it!" and i did something that sounds crazy,
i made my husband change my password. and not tell me what it was.
now i log onto Facebook (or should i say, Ty does) once a week or so and check to see if there are messages or notifications from friends/family.
confession: the first few days were HARD. can you say "withdrawals?" say it with me: "With dra wals"
and now? It's wonderful! i love it! every time i log on i announce to Ty, "I didn't miss anything!!" haha. and i'm happier at home, with my own things to do and news to hear. guess what? if it's important, someone will call me or text me. or even EMAIL ME. i know right? people still email. who knew?
anyways, if you've had a problem with Facebook, which i'm sure you haven't. i'm sure i'm the only stay at home mom spending too much time on the computer. but just in case you were looking for a solution, try what i did.
i'm not guaranteeing it will last. but it sure has been nice these past few weeks. i've loved hearing things firsthand from people, instead of reading about it online. face to face really is the way it was all meant to be. and yes, i still blog and read other's blogs. but i'm not going cold turkey, social media is absolutely wonderful in its own ways. but be warned, it's also addicting as crack (not like i would know, i've just heard that rumor)
*lately i've been praying to have a better work ethic at home. it's so, so, so easy for me to just read a book instead of CLEAN MY HOUSE. gah, i'm in a constant cycle. i often think of my Grandma's work ethic, and our other grandmas. enjoy this vintage gem of a photo:
|Grandma Gold, my mom, and nakey aunt linda|
thoughts by Annie Leavitt at 11:50 AM