Corporal Punishment

I came back from the store and was unpacking the groceries, when I saw this sitting on the counter. Evidently GI Joe Man was naughty when I was gone and was being punished by being taped to the Zero Gravity remote control car. Poor guy. Even though the boys are outnumbered almost 2 to 1 around here, they let their presence be known.


The 5 Things I Love

My friend (who shall remain nameless per her blog request but can be found at http://housefullofchaos.blogspot.com/ ) honored me with a blog award and now I get to share 5 things I love. My first loves are my husband, my kids, the gospel of Jesus Christ, my temple covenants, and the blessing of having time to ponder.

After that come a long list of other things that make me happy, but these are just a few that I especially enjoy.

1. Fresh Flowers. Growing up my mom always had dozens of different kind of flowers growing in our yard. I can recall many nights before dinner her going out to cut some roses to have on the table, or waking up to a vase full of flowers at breakfast. I used to love picking them and bringing her little bouquets to decorate the house with. She always made me feel loved when she would get a little glass vase out of the china cabinet to put them in. She soon would have a whole row of them lined up by the kitchen window. Even today she will get out little cups to put the flowers the kids pick for her in when she is here visiting.

I don't think I was blessed with as much of a green thumb as her, so most my flowers end up coming from the store not my yard, but they still make me smile everytime I see them. Tulips are my favorite, but I also love gerber daisies.

2. Photography. I have a Nikon D80 with a 50mm 1.4 lens on it. Love that lens!!! I have always loved taking pictures, but about 4years ago I decided to venture away from my point and shoot and aquired a film SLR camera. I checked out stack after stack of books from the library to read. Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson is my favorite. Highly recommend it! I read everything I could get my hands on online, took an online class, and practiced. Last spring I finally got a Digital SLR, and I can't put it down. I love the progress that I have made, and though I still have a long way to go, I am happy where I am. It makes me feel good to know I accomplished something that can also bless my family and leave special memories along the way. I am currently trying to learn Photoshop Elements 6 better, so more books and more reading.

3. Soft White towels and new clean sheets. My favorite towels are these from the Thomas O' Brien collection at Target. They are SO soft. It makes my old ones feel like sand paper! I love white, easy to throw in the wash with a bit of bleach and they're good as new. I also love having my bed made with clean new sheets. I love a good made bed. My husband gives me a hard time about not being able to crawl in bed unless the sheets and blankets are all perfect and straight. I love a good made bed! (Did I say that already?)
4. I enjoy reading instruction/owners manuals. I think I am definately in the minority here, but I would much rather read the instructions than have someone show me how to do it. There's my independence coming out. I'll couple another one with this one, I love doing my taxes. It's a little game to crunch the numbers and see who comes out on top-me or the IRS. I am happy to report we have been winning for years. I am sure when my children are grown and I can't claim them as dependents anymore my love for doing taxes may wane a bit.

5. I love to Create. I went to college with plans of being an art teacher. I changed majors a hundred times bouncing from Home Economics to Interior Design and back again with a few dozen in between. My Home Economics teacher had a great job at one time setting up food displays for commercials or magazine photoshoots. I thought that would be such a fun job. Though I haven't sketched any amazing pictures in years, my most favorite "creating" now is scrapbooking. It combines my love of designing and photography, and I love seeing my kids look at their books. It brings us both a lot of joy.

So, there you have it, some things you may not have known about me. I now pass this coveted award onto my friends Lisa, Nancy, Pei-Wen, Carri, Karen, and Kim. Enjoy ladies!


Pinewood Derby

Austin had his Pinewood Derby tonight at Cub Scouts. He was very excited as this was his first race he was able to participate in. He worked hard on his car, and even invited some of his neighborhood friends to come and watch him. He came in 3rd place and we are very proud of him, mostly for his great sportsmanship he showed to the other boys.

Austin also won the "Most Colorful Car Award". He spent a lot of time painting his car. He painted headlights, lightening flashes on the side, and a big window in front "just like our minivan".

I asked Austin about his experience with this years Pinewood Derby and here's what he had to say.

What was the hardest part about making the car?

Cutting it out and sanding it.

What was the funnest part?

Painting the car.

What was the best part about tonights race?

Eating the donuts afterwards.


Tongue Twister Anyone?

Peter-Piper-Picked-A-Peck-of-Pickled-Peppers. Scott loves this little rhyme! The kids say it to him over and over again and he breaks into a big smile every time. I don't know what it is? He either has a great affinity for language already at his young age or...he is just laughing at how silly we look when we say it. He is so fun at this age.


Scott's Baby Blessing

Today we had the privilege of giving Scott a blessing at church. We felt loved having Aaron's sister and her family, my parents, and my sister here for it. It's always a fun time when family is around.

Scott is such a special boy. Everyday we feel so blessed that he is a member of our family.

He is smiling now, and Austin is proud that he was the one who found a place on Scott's leg where he is ticklish. He will tickle him and then wait for Scott to make his big cute grin. He usually sticks his tongue out a little when he does it, which the kids think is even cuter. He loves when the girls read stories to him, and run to comfort him when he cries.


Clean teeth x 5

We enjoyed a fun filled day at the dentist. One mom, all six kids, a very crowded dentist office, and NO CAVITIES ! Yea! We rejoice in the little successes around here.
As each person finished their exam everyone else would cheer for them that they didn't have cavities. Austin was very sweet to hold Erika's hand for some good big-brother-support, and Abby threw a nice two year old fit in the dentist chair. The dentist almost lost a couple fingers, and mom almost lost her cool.
In the end everyone left with goody bags filled with all the great dentist office loot-new toothbrushes, toothpaste, little mirrors, a toy from the gumball machine, and lots of stickers. We finished out a good day by going out to eat at one of the kids favorite restaurants! Great job kids, we are so proud of you!


Scott at 6 weeks

My little man is already 6 weeks old. He and I were having some quality mommy time tonight after all of the other kids had gone to bed. He was so happy and was smiling and cooing. It was very sweet. He is growing up so fast already. I wish I could stop time.

I think that one of the reasons I love photography so much is I feel I get to stop time for that instant. I get to capture who or what that person was in that exact moment in time. As hard as we try to remember how something or someone was in the past, our memory fades and the little details are slowly lost in time. But with a picture, you get to look at them and relive those sweet moments all over again. Tender feeling that were felt when the picture was taken are rekindled; senses aware of how things felt, smelled, sounded, and looked; and the memory once again, if only for a short while, is restored.

I often feel as Alice in Wonderland who proclaimed, "In my world, books would be nothing but pictures" Oh what a joyful place that would be.


Growing Independent Children

I am a independent person. Okay, that may be a bit of an understatement. I am a VERY independent person. I like to accomplish things by myself. Not because I feel like I have to prove something or that I don't enjoy working with others, I just get a sense of satisfaction that I can do it myself. I guess I am a little old fashioned that way-the whole "A hard days work for a days pay" type mentality.

I like pushing myself sometimes just to see if I can do it. Like, can I mow the whole lawn when I am 8 1/2 months pregnant. Not because I have to, just to see if I can. My poor husband thought he might get lynched by the neighbors for letting me try such a thing. He just shrugs his shoulders and says she wouldn't have it any other way. And I wouldn't. In my defense, it was a self propelled mower and we don't have any hills.=) It's like a great power walk!

Being so independent I have a tendency to not always be the most patient person when trying to teach my children to do things. I have to admit the thought has entered my mind more than once "I can do this faster myself" and at times I do just do it myself. But as much as I like to do things myself, my way, I do want my children to leave this house having learned how to work, how to complete a job completely and with good workmanship, and be competent, responsible adults in society.

Achieving this in children is no small task. Some of my kids have inherited my genes and naturally have a love for organizing and tidying things up, others need a little push once in a while. Though I am happy that they all are humble enough to at least try.

So here comes the great story to show that my kids really have been paying attention to me somewhere along the way. After church today Brooke was "starving"(her word not mine) and headed right to the kitchen to make some food for lunch. Some kids may come and say, "I'm hungry" wanting me to make them something to eat. Not Brooke. I asked her once why she wanted to always do everything herself and she frankly replied, "If I ask you to do it then I have to go to you, ask you, then you have to come and do it. If I do it myself I am just here and I do it" Smart kid.

Everyone else was back in our bedroom and when we all came out for lunch Brooke had not only made chicken for herself,(via microwave) but also for her two younger sisters! Now that is independence for you. Independence mixed with a sweet sense of service. What could be better. I couldn't have been prouder. It was one of those sweet moments as parents we can sit back and reap the blessings of being a parent.

Here is a picture for you per Brooke's request. At this age she feels she does have something to prove. I can understand. I am also a third born.
And yes, I am aware that is a ginormous pile of ranch dressing on her plate. A huge bottle of ranch dressing, a five year old-you do the math. The down side of independence I guess.


Christmas kitchen

The girls and their cute new aprons

The girls got a fun new kitchen set, stocked full of food, dishes, silverware, and even personalized aprons thanks to Santa. They have had so much fun with it. Even the big kids have had fun.

Erika cooking up some good food for me.

Abby feeding her new baby on her own little highchair


The love of a sister

Everytime I look at her I am amazed at how beautiful Brianna is. Seeing the love she has for her brother makes that beauty even deeper. She has been such a tremendous help for us since Scott has been born. She has stepped in and helped out without us even having to ask. She is responsible, loving and so tender with her younger brother. Thank you Brianna, we love you very much!



Just a cute picture for today. I am loving having a model to photograph who doesn't run away or I have to bribe to get a picture of. Such a sweet boy!


A Couple of Firsts for the Year

This morning we were awoken to happy squeals from Brooke who lost one of her bottom teeth. The first of many that will be lost by the Starbuck crew this year. She lost her first tooth on November 30, my due date with Scott, along with Austin and Brianna who also lost teeth that day. They all thought it was good luck, and were hopeful that their good luck would woo Scott out. Unfortunately, he wanted to stay in his warm cozy spot for a couple more days.

Which brings us to our second first-Scott has successfully completely his first month of life. No sicknesses, no bodily harm from little siblings who love him a little too much sometimes, and he slept in his own crib last night, another first!


The power of a hug

In the wee hours of this morning after we had brought in the New Year, my 4 yr old wanted to give her new little baby brother a hug before bed. He was fast asleep in his bouncy seat, and as she bent down to kiss him and was walking away he smiled. The first smile that has graced the lips of this newborn. It was the most precious thing, and certainly made my 4yr old's day.

It got me to thinking how many hugs get exchanged in our family in a year. We have a tradition of giving each member of the family hugs and kisses after family prayer, morning and night. So 8 family members x 7 other people we hug x two prayers a day...... over 40,000 hugs a year!!! Amazing! And that doesn't even take into account the "I hit you and took your toy and I'm sorry" hug, and the "Daddy's home from work" hug, and the random but my personal favorite "I just love you" hug. I think we sometimes overlook the impact a simple hug can have
on another.

Start the new year off right and give someone a hug, and as you are walking away they may just be smiling inside too! Happy New Year!