I am going to put a disclaimer right away. All the pictures were taken with our point and shoot which doesn’t take the best pictures but it is easier to travel with and after all the pictures were up-loaded on to the computer, I realized that they all have the same smudge. I looked at the lens and sure enough there was the fingerprint. So all pictures in this post will have a smudge, I have taken care of it and any future pictures from the point and shoot will hopefully be a bit better.
Back to the real post…..These past two weekends have been a stretch for me, letting my oldest child grow up. He is only 6 1/2 years old but wanting independence on everything. The things we let him do these past two weekends has made him think he can handle a whole lot. It makes me nervous. For starter, we let Luke go on vacation without us. He went on a trip with my mom to Seattle to see my brother. It was not the first time he was on an airplane (that was when he was 17 months old) but it was the first time he remembers. He thought he was pretty grown up taking care of his own stuff on the trip. He was in charge of his suitcase and backpack for the whole trip. I am not sure how he did but for the most part everything came back…. down to the last sock. We even gave him our little camera to travel with hence the fingerprint (haze) on all of the pictures.I think my brother took quite a few pictures because Luke is posing with his cousin. He had a blast in Seattle. For this past week he liked to tell us what time it is here in the Midwest and in Seattle. As for this past weekend, I will let the picture speak for itself…..
Yeah…all by himself no dog leash, no hand, no in between someone’s legs……all by himself. He did awesome but man did it make me nervous. I should maybe do another disclaimer, this black diamond is at a very small ski hill close to home and would probably not be considered a black diamond at Lutsen, MN or any other bigger normal ski resort where they actually have mountains. Give him another year or two and I think he will be ready for a trip to CO for a real ski trip (or maybe just to Lutsen because it is closer). We should start fundraising because skiing is expensive. As much as this one wants to grow up, my little baby Ryan is still content skiing with daddy. He wants nothing to do with the dog leash or going by himself and I am ok with that.
Do you see the haze now….annoying isn’t it. Oh well. Can’t do anything about it now and I would rather have the pictures to remember it then not.
My photography club has been working on window lighting this whole month. I have found that there are some women that are really good at window lighting. They get a very dramatic effect with the level of shading. Most are B&W pictures but not all. I have found that I am terrible at figuring out my window lighting for good pictures. I have been trying different times of the day, different windows, etc still not getting the effect that I want. I think my kids are getting tired of me experimenting on them because I now get faces like this. Or I get faces like this… I decided I needed new kids so while the boys were away at kicking class with the neighbor, I watched all the girls at home. I popped this little girl in front of the window to see if I could get the effect that I wanted. Well, not the effect that I wanted but at least it was a decent picture with a kid willing to actually smile at me and attempt to look cute. I need some more work on this, I have yet to try a north facing window which is next up if I can get my girls or boys to corporate.
And some randomness, we have been having a lot of snow days. Yesterday we dropped the boys off at my moms before the ice started, hoping that school would be canceled today so they could have a sleepover. It worked out just fine. Because the boys were gone, my house was a little quieter which was nice. The girls and I cleaned up the house and then got to just hang out and play (well, I took pictures while they played.) We didn’t get outside at all so today I decided to walk around the block with the girls to see all of the new snow. They were not excited to go outside. They whined, cried, and drug their feet one whole side of the block. I wanted to actually enjoy my walk so I asked them if the walk would be better if they got a piece of candy when they got home. And suddenly it was an all out sprint home. Yes they ran 3 sides of the block, up the driveway and then screamed, “Mommy home, Mommy home.” They went inside, took off their cloths and waited patiently by the candy jar. And yes I gave them candy. I had to follow through with what I said. A few hours later, I dropped the girls off at Grandma’s house for a sleep over and brought the boys home. It’s kind of nice just having 2 kids home at a time (although right now there are 2 neighbor kids here so I still have 4 but they are older so I don’t have to do much with them).
This past week I have spent the majority of the time on the couch or in bed sick. I am just starting to get back into the swing of things. Even with being sick, it seemed to be a busy week. There was no school Friday, today or tomorrow for Luke so he actually went on a vacation with my mom to Seattle to see my brother. He is having a blast on his trip. Because Luke is having a special weekend, we decided to spend a special day with the three little ones on Saturday. We took them to MOA. Someone from our church had given us some unlimited wristbands so they got to go on a lot of rides. They also got to spend some time with my dad as Ted and I went out on a date. Bonus for us.
Today Ryan really started missing his bigger brother. The neighbor boys can only fill in for a while but with the warmer weather he was easily distracted with the ice rink Ted built last month. After we got all the fresh snow shoveled off of it, Ryan spent the next 2 hours playing hockey with the girls and neighbors. Luke will be home tonight. Hopefully this next week will go better than last week. I need to somehow get my energy back. Wish me luck.
We have been doing ok through the cold season here. The kids have had a few runny noses and coughs but nothing to really slow them down. I have been having problems with my lungs for the last month but I think that is just the normal damage to my lungs that I got back in Peace Corps days.
But then Friday hit. Luke came down with a fever, coughing, runny nose. Bummer. I started on Saturday with a cough but again nothing that different from what I have been dealing with. Sunday Luke seemed fine but we decided to keep him home from church. He and I got to spend some quality time together. We played cards.
Started teaching him about photography.
He is going on a trip this coming weekend with Grandma Janett. They are flying out to Seattle to see my brother on their first Grandma Grandson trip. He has been practicing taking pictures this last month but I decided to try and improve his picture taking abilities. We were talking about lighting in the picture.
Then Sunday afternoon hit. I started with the chills and the shakes. Took some medicine started sweating only to be followed by chills and shakes again. It’s a never ending cycle right now. I hate having a fever. It hurts to even brush my hair. Hope I am better by tomorrow but sadly to say, Ryan’s temp. is on the way up right now. Hopefully Ted will not get it and in a 1 1/2 years with the girls we have yet to see the girls really sick. I wish I had their immune system.
This past weekend we celebrated Chinese New Years. It was a busy week leading up to our celebration. Ted was out of town for the whole week so I was kept busy just taking care of the kids and maintaining some sort of order around the house. We celebrated on Friday evening because Ted didn’t get home until the afternoon. When Ted did get home, I quickly put him to work decorating the house. Right now our house is filled with a few Christmas decorations I have not put away yet, Valentine decorations and our souvenirs we got in China. It is an interesting mix but it works because everything is red, the color of luck in China. I was extremely busy in the kitchen trying to make all of my Chinese dishes from scratch. I made shrimp lo mein, dumplings, General Tso’s Chicken (I know this is not really Chinese but it is an American Chinese dish so it worked for me), and cupcakes. I have worked hard at learning how to make most of these sauces from scratch because I don’t like all of the different preservatives in the sauces from the store. Yes, this lead to a mad dash to make a homemade garlic chili sauce to put in the General Tso’s Chicken while still trying to get everything else done. Supper was only 30 minutes late and my guests had to help cook their own food but there was no nasty preservatives in their food. I don’t think anyone minded waiting or the mess in my kitchen while we cooked, well at least they didn’t say anything to me directly. It is now the year of the horse which I always try to incorporate into the dessert. Basically I am trying to give a reason to have a dessert at a Chinese dinner which normally wouldn’t really have a sweet dessert (it works for my reasoning). I was really happy with the way my little horses turned out on my cupcakes. My kids thought it was hilarious to have them on their rainbow cupcakes. Yes, I go out of the way to give them a preservative free meal only to add every known food coloring to their cupcakes to get them every color of the rainbow. Go figure. The food was a hit. I didn’t get a picture of the food Friday night but I got a picture of some of the leftovers we had the next day.We stayed up late talking to friends but it was ok because we had a very relaxing weekend until Sunday afternoon when I had to make from scratch homemade pizza for our youth group. It was also a bit late for kick off but the kids didn’t seem to mind. We even had help all day long with the kids. Derek came over after church to help take our kids to a free swim while I stayed home getting the food ready. I think Derek’s favorite time is cuddle time right after nap time. The girls love it because Derek is in no hurry to get up which leaves the girls cuddling for well over 30 minutes on the couch. With the busy weekend of cooking, we might be having a few easier meals for the week, hope no one minds in the Yoder house. They usually don’t. Only I mind but I think I will get over it this time.
We have been having a lot of really cold weather lately, too cold to want to go outside so I did the next best thing and got a shower curtain. I am in a photo club where I commented that I never get really good indoor pictures because of where the natural light is and where our stuff is. One person commented that I need to get some shower curtains to put up to make a good background so that is what I did. I posted these pictures on facebook so I am assuming most people saw these but I am pretty happy with the way they turned out so I was going to post them here too.
Quinn was really happy with her pose. She kept on wanting to look at the pictures to make sure she had it the way she wanted. What one twin does so does the other. Jenna decided she also needed to pose and this is what I got.That is right, my little girl with attitude. After I took their pictures I decided that I needed to get a new picture of myself. I quickly put the kids down for quiet time and set the camera up to use the timer except I couldn’t find the timer on my new camera and I didn’t feel like digging out the camera instructions so I did the next best thing. I got Ryan up from quiet time to play photographer. I had everything set on the camera the way I wanted so all he had to do was half way down to focus, all the way down to take the picture. I think he did a pretty good job. Ryan was very proud of his abilities using momma’s big camera. I really liked the turn out so I went back yesterday and got some more curtains, some that didn’t have flowers on them so I can take more pictures of my boys. By the time I got them set up, the sun coming in my window was making a harsh shadow on Luke’s face but I didn’t want him to feel left out. I will have to redo his pictures because I am not totally happy with it. Oh well. I will get it right next time. I have a few other curtains to try too.
Last week school was canceled for 2 days because of the cold weather. The kids were jumping off the wall with energy with no outlet because it was too cold to go outside and I was sitting on the couch with a very bad cough. The first day I was creative, I did crafts with them, played games, etc. The second day I was done so I brought in the big guns, youth group kids who were bored and wanted to get out of their houses. Brett and Derek came over to play. They wrestled, sled, carried my kids around all day. They got jumped on, pushed over, you name it, it happened all while I sat on the couch. Love our youth group.
Anyways, during the deep freeze we manged to do yet another craft project. Luke had found a rice crispy train craft project in the clearance rack from Christmas and all of the cold weather seemed like a great time to use it.
The kit had plastic molds to make the train and then the kids went to town with the frosting.
Don’t worry I let the kids eat them because who doesn’t love a rice crispy treat.
Over Christmas break we went up to Ted’s parents house. Our kids were very excited to go sledding there but as many of us Minnesotans know, it has been really cold for a very long time. Ted and I are excited when it actually gets above zero for the day. Never-the-less, we went outside to go sledding. Some runs got a little crazy but the kids had a blast.
Jason came up with a great way for the kids to go back up the hill. Usually the little kids are tired after 2 trips up the hill and then they want a ride which gets hard on the adults. But this year we didn’t have to carry the kids up at all because they got a ride with Jason. They couldn’t wait to get down the hill so they could load up and get a ride back up.
The kids had a race to see if Grandpa Jason could get them through the woods and up the hill before we could get the sleds back up the hill.
We didn’t stay outside too long so when we were inside we spent a lot of time playing games
and building different Lego/knex things.
We also managed to do another craft. We had 4 extra adults so we figured we would pull it off. We started with a foam cone, marshmallows, gum drops and a bunch of toothpicks. We got busy trying to make a cool table decoration that looked like little Christmas trees.After we got started we realized that the trees would have looked better with large marshmallows instead of the mini marshmallows because they would have hidden the toothpicks better. We ended up with 2 Charlie Brown Christmas trees and 2 mushroom looking trees. Guess we will get it right next time. The kids had a blast and I think Great Grandpa Sam and Great Grandma Frieda has fun too although I think our kids and all the commotion wore them out.
And what could be better but cleaning up after the craft involving candy was done.