Monday, November 17, 2014

Carma is six months!

... and what better way to mark the occasion that a little virtual fashion show? Here's how cute she's looked the last three months in clothes that she's now mostly outgrown as she gets chunkier and chunkier (atta girl!). So here's a lengthy rundown in no particular order:
Starting with an outfit near and dear to my heart - so cute, right?? I dolled her up like this and then sent her to Costco with Chuck and Jack (I was in one of the boys' classrooms helping). She declined to keep her shoes on, but still soooo cute.

Ohh, this romper made me so happy just looking at it:
And of course I loved it on her. A super cute girl whose family summers here in Nampa with her in-laws (happily in my ward!) gave me a box of hand-me-downs. Thanks Angie!!

 Some church outfits:
Okay, the one in the bottom right never actually made it to church because she definitely spit up... alllll over it... right as I was buckling her in her carseat, but it's still darling, thanks Cassandra! Lucky I'd already gotten the picture :).

Remember back in the day when I made Carma some onesies? Here's the 'Packers' one, as I call it:
Complete with the star on the bum :).

Another romper from Angie! This one killed me. Carma wore it basically every time it was clean. 
And another one, which made me think of the Chiquita banana lady for some reason. And, also, Carma's face. Love.

My dear BFSC Heidi gave Carma this polka dot sweatshirt and she wears it pretty much every day, starting back when it was still too big :).
I usually think yellow is kind of overwhelming, but this romper was just perfect on her.

 This was a dress that Emily gave Carma, so she wore it the last Sunday that Berthelsons were at church. Also it proved comfortable enough for an after-church nap with Daddy!!
This was Carma's first complete outfit with non-BSU shoes :). #milestone

 Some October/Halloween ensembles. Those candy corn tights were possibly the best seventy-five cents I've ever spent, despite the fact that I felt like I was cheating on Savers by shopping at Goodwill.
 The whole family got dressed up for Election Day, because, why not? Chuck and I took both little kids in with us when we voted, and an election worker asked to take a picture of Carma :). This skirt was a D.I. find that didn't make the cut for her Halloween costume but worked excellently two patriotic Tuesdays in a row (Election Day, Veteran's Day).

Alas, this was Carma's face when she heard most of the results that night: 
Church last week. Darling jumper courtesy of Maren.

OH these pictures make me happy. This was Carma's outfit for Clyde's baptism. I originally bought this dress as a back-up blessing dress in case mine didn't fit our chunk-a-chunk (spoiler alert: we stuffed her chubbs into my dress. future post). I feel compelled to share that it was a Target clearance find for $6. And that it used to have silk-ish pale pink flowers on the waist that were nice but not my favorite so I pulled them off and instead tied a random, fraying piece of dark blue fabric around it. 
[I've never actually watched Project Runway, but I feel like I would be a strong contender.]
What is it with polka dots and babies?? Love.

We're not super big on wearing official pajamas around these parts (mostly we just wear pajama-type clothes on a day-to-day basis...) but here are some of the ones Carma's worn... and outgrown... and that I then still stuffed her into for the pictures:
This super cute dress and jacket was from my aunt Diane and uncle Brent and I loved how it was cute different colors than a lot of her other clothes. 

I loved this little shirt... and the flamingo pants (courtesy of Grandma Pam, of course) that by this point were capris:
This is going to be Carma's M.O. this winter for church: cute dress with pants and a little jacket/cardigan! Also, yes, I was wearing yellow tights that day; it was my annual kick-off-to-November yellow/orange/red outfit. 

Here is Carma in an array of rainbow colors: 'I love my dad' onesie and blue pajamas courtesy of older brother hand-me-downs, orange Boise State dress courtesy of my cute friend Star, and everything else courtesy of Savers.
Buuuut don't worry, Carma also wears plenty of pink.

Okay, that's Carma! We sure love our sweet, happy six-month-old chubster!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

some september

Carma and I would like to welcome you to this post about some random September things. Please note that we match with our grey Boise State shirts!
I obviously opted to be a little more modest than Carma..

Chuck was up at Wood Badge two different Wednesday-Saturday periods in September and these are some of the lovely pictures we sent him so he wouldn't miss us too much:
And because in my heart of hearts I think texting while you're in the woods is silliness, I also sent cheesy old fashioned hand written notes for him to open each day. I actually do that every time he's gone at Scout camp/wood badge/etc because I am the BEST Wife Ever... as long as cooking isn't a requirement for that title. Chuck leaves me notes too WITH chocolate, because he's amazing and also because he knows that chocolate = my sanity = surviving with four kids while he's gone singing campfire songs :).

Speaking of Scouts, Clyde started Cub Scouts and had his first Pack Meeting in September, where he was awarded his Bobcat - as shown in the top left. Usually just a parent comes up with the award-recipient, but Carma and Jack both think they're attached to me, so we all headed up.
It was a bit discombobulating to be a Cub Scout parent instead of a leader - but ohhh so enjoyable! The evening was fun and cute and we learned that Clyde is a creative genius when it comes to transporting popcorn via feet (he had the brilliant idea to walk on his heels) and we learned that Will occasionally has thoughts like "What if hot dogs were made out of real dogs??" luckily followed up with "then people would say YUCK."

Girls' night!
So wonderful, we were all there plus Paulina's super cute sister Melinda (on the very right) and after we survived the Most Awkward Server Ever (for the second month in a row... we haven't been back since...) we went and checked out Kara's amazing new house! Seriously beautiful.

A while back I told Clyde that I would make him a Percy Jackson shirt, and like two months later I followed through. And then for fun I made one for Will with my current fave nickname for him (Will I Am).
So there's a chance that I carry Carma around like this all the time. Like right here where I'm making a sandwich for Clyde. I've done it with all my kids and I always kind of laugh when people think it's weird and/or dangerous... but now looking at it from this angle I can kind of see what they mean, haha. 

In the latest of a long, long string of my friends who are mean and move away from me, my dear Emily and her family moved to Washington at the end of September. I still haven't processed it. Denial feels like a better option for right now :).

The job interview/offer/acceptance/move all happened quickly and I was so, so happy to see a need that I could fill - running Emily's HUGE garage sale for her for a couple days while she and Travis drove up to find a place to live. 
 It was definitely exhausting but also SO fun! I had a great group of girls that came and helped in shifts and we talked and laughed and haggled with shoppers.. and each other sometimes.. and my kids did amazingly well (thanks Tasha for taking the middle two all day Saturday!!) and it gave me something to do while Chuck was at Wood Badge that week!
Here are some packing/moving day pictures; Chuck worked his Tetris magic in the moving van for a while.
And here's our goodbye picture. Emily will kill me for anything I write, but it has been such a privilege to know her and watch her and learn from her. She is such a 'do-er'; she sees a problem or a need and jumps in. There are about a billion examples I could name where she listened with a furrowed brow and then started nodding and spouting off what needed to be done and did it. I would not have been able to handle my RS activity chairperson calling without her as the RS presidency member over our committee. I could always count on her to talk through things with me and laugh with me and eat cookies with me and take pictures with me even though she hated it :). Washington is so lucky to have her, and I'm so glad that she's learning to live at a slower pace there - she deserves some rest!! LOVE you Em!

Oh, here's a fun story: Clyde chipped his tooth. Like a whole corner of it. Crashing his bike. About six hours after his baptism (oh, yeah, Clyde's baptism! future post...). Ahhhhhh! 
[Much thanks to our good neighbor Trent who witnessed the accident (Clyde may have been showing off for little Logan) and walked Clyde and his bike home.]
It happened on a Saturday night, which left Chuck and I allllll day Sunday to ponder how expensive and extensive and painful the repair process would likely be to fix this PERMANENT FRONT tooth. Monday morning Clyde and I rolled into the dentist only to discover that it was a ten minute filling for $60. Say what?? Amazing. Granted, it's just anchored along that diagonal break and could got knocked off again in the future, but that's a $60 risk we'll take! And let the record show that Clyde was back on his bike Sunday night - that's the top left picture; he's riding over to leave a thank you note for Brother Swallow :).

No story here, just hanging out on the floor with my baby girl. This was the night before her blessing at church (future post! promise!) and I was feeling crazily emotional (Clyde's baptism that afternoon, a fantastic General Women's session of conference that evening, coming home to hear about Clyde's bike crash and chipped tooth) and it was just so perfect to see this sweet, innocent, darling baby chew her fingers and wave her chubby arms and smile at me. I sure love her!
Oh, and Chuck and I went on a date in September! Jared was in a play at his new school and it counted double - Jared is one of Chuck's YM aaaand one of my Sunday School kids. As always he did a fantastic job and we had a great time. Good news since we're seeing him in Romeo and Juliet next week for Chuck's birthday date :). #romantic

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Goodbye Northbridge (all one word!)

My mama did it; she sold her house! It closed at the beginning of September and Carma and Jack and I made the trek over that morning to help my mom say goodbye:
I'm really impressed with my mom; this hasn't been an easy journey over the last year as she's made the decision to leave the house she's lived in for so long and start a new adventure elsewhere (elsewhere being into a beautiful house out here in Nampa that she's in the process of buying, hooray! Keep your fingers crossed the process goes smoothly, the house is wonderful!)

A few months ago I recapped phase one of the 'getting-the-house-ready-to-sell' adventure (in case you missed it: every item in the house was packed, trashed, sold, or donated. Main bathroom was remodeled, financed by Sam's rent contributions and labor donated by Don, Sam, Chuck, and Cody. Carpet was replaced. Kitchen counters and sink were redone). After Sam and Terri headed back to Utah in early March, phase two began - starring none other than my amazing husband Chuck! 

You might not know that for a year while Chuck and I were dating and engaged, he worked for a painting company doing interior and exterior residential painting. He might not want you to know that, haha. But my mom and I were very aware of this and he was quickly recruited to PAINT EVERY WALL AND CEILING IN THAT HOUSE. Oh, and the baseboards. Ohhhh the baseboards. Grateful I'm still married...
Didn't he do an incredible job?? The lighting is special in some of these, but the bedrooms are all a caramel color and the main living areas were all a wheat-y kind of color and all of the baseboards and trim became white. I think the worst part for me personally was when he had to do that back bedroom that I lived in during my teenage years - I don't even want to know how many hundreds of pushpin holes he had to spackle (I liked to put up posters...) or how many coats of paint it took to cover my cool blue and yellow sponge-painted walls. Sorry again honey!

Quinn came up for a couple days at the beginning of May to help and Chuck entrusted us grunt laborers with the easiest task - painting doors. It suuuuucked. (obviously not as much as painting everything else, I know, I know)
 We did find the time (I think it was around midnight??) to take some pictures of ourselves. REALLY flattering pictures...

Chuck and I put a few more hours in and then concluded our participation (just in time for Carma to come a week later!):
My poor, patient boys!

My mom and Larry and Iris then put in their fair share of blood/sweat/tears doing all the finishing touches as the house officially went on the market that month. Why none of them thought to document their work as diligently as I did mine, I'll never know ;).

Here I am, saying one last goodbye to the aforementioned teenage bedroom :). 

I anticipated being reeeeally emotional that morning on the last walk through of my 'childhood home' but I had a better grip than I thought I would. [Full disclosure: I hate change. When I was like ten we got rid of the horrendous yellow/orange shag carpet in that house and I definitely cried.] It's really just a house. Everything that made it a 'home' - all of the trinkets and treasures that I mercilessly made my poor mom justify to my satisfaction so that it would be packed instead of donated - will be in my mom's new house, including, you know, her! The house on Northbridge (all one word!) was great, and now it's become someone else's home and that's great too. [as long as I don't think about all of the remodeling that they began immediately that rendered my thousands of paint strokes on closet doors pointless... :) ]

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jack loves Carma

September was the first full month of the older boys in school, which left Jack and Carma a lot of time together at home - time mostly spent lovingly encased in each others' arms.

Exhibit A:
I think it's painfully obvious that there's nowhere Carma would rather be... painfully being the operative word there :).

Exhibit B:
 I think it's so hilarious that Jack remains so calm even when Carma is screaming. It's like he's thinking, "It's cool. I'll just keep holding her this tight and soon she'll realize how much she loves it. Almost there..."

Exhibit C:
 Poor Carma possibly thought the helmet would protect her from Jack and his frequent kisses - alas, he opted to simply remove the helmet for some sibling lovin'.

Exhibit D:
 Quick anatomy lesson - eyes and ears and mouth and chiiiin!

Exhibit E:
Ohhh Carma's face. It's like she's trying to figure out why I'm leaving her there - do I really think it's a super comfortable position?? Come on Mom.

Exhibits F-whatever:
Seriously, if Carma is awake then most of the time Jack is within an arm's reach of her. And if she's asleep, it's A FREAKING MIRACLE because his favorite thing to do is talk to me loudly while she's nursing and drifting off.

I figure I'll hold onto these pictures and then in a few years when Carma becomes the tag-a-long little sister who follows Jack and his friends around, I'll bust these out and tell Jack it's payback for a time when he wouldn't eeeeeeevvvvvveeeeerrrrrr leave her alone :).

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Chuck is a fox

[SO, this post is about Chuck's and Dan's Wood Badge beading ceremony from two months ago. I clearly should have blogged about it in a more timely manner because in the meantime... four days ago..., Dan was called as our ward's bishop and so now he's 'Bishop Swenson' instead of, you know, 'Dan'. But since he wasn't the bishop two months ago, I'm just going to refer to him as Dan for this post with no disrespect intended :). ]

Once upon a time [a year and two months ago] Chuck and Dan went to Wood Badge! From my somewhat shoddy understanding, Wood Badge is an intense Scout leadership training up in the mountains for six days - attendees learn about the Boy Scout program origins and and methods and songs (hahaha) and communication skills and come home dirty and tired and pretty taken with Robert Baden-Powell (the nice gentleman who founded BSA) and eager to implement what they've learned in their lives and in their interactions with their Scouts.

They alllllso come home with homework! Each participant comes up with some 'ticket' items - goals they select to help them improve in their Scouting roles. They're given eighteen months to complete all of their ticket items and when that's done, they receive their Wood Badge beads! Chuck and Dan finished around the same time and were beaded together :).
Here's the excellent invitation that Dan put together, using the picture I took of them when they got home last year. I knew they'd thank me someday for making them pose for it...

The Murphys very generously donated their yard for the evening and helped a ton with the BBQ. Chuck and Dan had lots of support from other Wood Badge-rs, friends from the ward, and family.
 Some pictures of the actual beading. Caitlin (in blue) and Shan'l (in tan) were Dan's and Chuck's troop guides, respectively. They shared some of the history of Wood Badge and the significance of the beads and new neckerchiefs.
Chuck and Dan were given an opportunity to share a bit about their experiences and ticket items. One neat thing was that they coordinated a bit and completed two goals together - Chuck researched and compiled a pamphlet with tips and advice for Scout leaders as they work with Scouts with autism. Dan then organized an informational meeting about working with Scouts with autism and other special needs where the pamphlets were distributed. They did a great job... and I'm not just saying that because I was one of the speakers :).

Chuck and Shan'l. Troop guides are a vital part of Wood Badge - they teach and encourage their patrol members and then follow up afterwards as the participants work on their goals. At the time of the beading, Chuck was preparing to return to Wood Badge as a troop guide himself, with Shan'l as his mentor for that role on staff.

 As part of the ceremony, all past attendees of Wood Badge got to go up and sing a song together. It was very nice and also kind of funny and an excellent to chance to take pictures to capture the awesomeness of a group of people singing together without any prior rehearsal :).

Brother Murphy has been a great supporter of Chuck and Dan as they've gone to Wood Badge and worked on their goals. A few months ago he gave them both special neckerchief slides with their 'critter' on them - at Wood Badge you're sorted assigned into different patrols, each with a different animal, and that distinction follows you throughout your Scouting life. If you've never seen the excitement when a Scouter finds a fellow owl or beaver, then you're missing out...
 This time he carved them special plaques for the occasion, including their critter. Dan is an antelope and Chuck is a fox - something that he gets a great deal of pleasure out of repeating on a regular basis, haha.

 Random break for pictures of the kids:
 Carma was not a huge fan of the evening, luckily Grandma Pam was there to take care of her, although Ryan was recruited for a bit as well!.

 It was really neat to have Chuck's parents be here for the beading; they are very enthusiastic Scouters and have both attended Wood Badge and been on staff in various positions. I think Pops has even directed a course... Right? Pretty sure :)
 Oh man, somewhere I have a picture of Chuck with his parents at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor. I feel like I should dig that up...

We grabbed all the boys from their game of tag and made them pose for some pictures. Here are the Izatt and Swenson families:
 Have I mentioned how much we love the Swensons?? We do. A lot.

 And then some of just us, which went reeeeeally well:
 Can I just say how much I love the picture on the bottom right? Will finally has his game face on for the picture, SO cute and chipper and for the first time ever, I'm the one not looking. AHHHHHHHHH!

 We opted to stop while we were [kind of] ahead with this one:

 OH, and look what I took a ten minute break to find:
Chuck receiving his Eagle Scout award! 
Circa... spring of '98?
(Also pictured are Ronnie Pooler, Chuck's friend and Scouting chum, and Dick Wills, their long-suffering Scouting leader and good, good family friend. Dick passed away five years ago and many of his Scouts, Chuck included, were able to attend his funeral and serve as pall bearers.)

I'm really proud of Chuck and the time and effort he puts into his calling as Young Men's President in our ward and his enthusiasm for the Scouting program and even more importantly, his love for the gospel and his desire to serve our Heavenly Father and be a tool in His hands to help the boys under his care grow and learn and become men who embody the Scout law: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Chuck is a stellar example of those characteristics and I'm grateful for the role that Scouting has played in his life. 

[let the record show that I'm also grateful that Chuck's Scout uniform gives him a slight resemblance to Peter Pan, because, come on, how cute/slightly dorky can you get? I'm also grateful that the 'having fun camping in the mountains whilst Jana is at home keeping multiple children alive' portion of Wood Badge is over, haha.]