Monday, November 9, 2009

A Mummy, A Jedi or Two, and a Grouchy Ladybug

That was our Halloween. I love how the boys' costumes didn't get decided on until a half hour before the Trunk-or-Treat.

For Friday night, Jacob decided he wanted to be a mummy. Luckily I had some fabric that I bought 9 years ago that stayed in my fabric box awaiting the perfect project. Yes, I know...I'm quite talented. (He actually won a prize for his costume! He's loving his new scripture bag!)

On Saturday, Jacob decided to be Indiana Jones and Joshua was Mutt. The costumes Brandon and Blake are wearing have seen many a Halloween night. I think we've gotten our money's worth on those.
And last, but certainly not least, is our own Grouchy Ladybug. Sweet little Emma eventually calmed down.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dan's Race

Dan completed an Olympic triathlon this morning. That is a mile swim, a 25 mile bike ride, and a 6.2 mile run. It was very inspiring to see all the athletes finish. (I had to wipe a tear or two..)

Dan's the man!

(I told Dan that I'd love to run this race with him next year. There is a problem, however. My swimming skills amount to the ability to not drown and the last time I rode a bike was my junior year in high school. Also, I really don't run. So we'll see if I'm there next year.)

We had fun waiting around for Dan to finish. Only a few scrapes and not too many meltdowns. (Brandon got a bit scraped up when, after a few times of jumping over a trash can, finally missed and Jacob hit his eye and mouth on a pole of the playground.)
That's us! Way to go, Dan. We love you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

More Pictures

I love my children.
Joshua cried during the entire photo session. We had to get the "soft overlay" option to minimize his red eyes.
In all seriousness, what a blessing it is to have these sweet children in my life.
I learn from them daily. I love them.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Our First Attempt

at gardening is producing some results! We are so excited.
This part of our yard was covered in loose gravel but it was the only space we had that could possibly fit a garden. A small garden, but a garden nontheless.
After a lot of trips with the wheelbarrow, we were finally able to plant some seeds.
We weren't sure exactly what would grow but we are pleased to report that we will at least have zucchini. Dan and the boys have done all the work. They are awesome!
We removed a Christmas tree that has been here forever and decided to put an orange tree instead. Sorry, tree. I hope you don't mind.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blessing Day

Emma was blessed on July 12. We are so thankful for our family and friends who made this occasion even more special. My mom made her dress. I love it! Gracias, Mami!

Brandon, Blake, Jacob, Joshua, and Emma. Her brothers are so good to her!

Ericka bought this dress for Emma and she wanted a picture with her wearing it.
Thanks, Ericka!
And last but not least, the usual attempt of trying to get the grandchildren to take a picture.
We missed you Kyle!!
I don't know why we think that surely this will be the time when everyone smiles and cooperates. I'm sure we'll get one sometime.
A special Thank You to Chris (my brother-in-law) for being our patient photographer!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Emma Felicity Hull

She's here and we are so happy.
Emma Felicity Hull
June 13, 2009
7lbs. 12 oz.
19 1/4 inches long

Friday, June 5, 2009

Random Thoughts

  • We have some neighbors down the street who have the cleanest house in the neighborhood and quite possibly in Yucaipa. They are a retired couple so maybe one day I'll do the same. They wash their driveway and sidewalk everyday. On trash day they wash out their trash cans. I don't think they can get very dirty. I'm sure they even wash out their garbage before they put it in their trashcan. Their garage is very organized and they actually park both their cars in it. A few times I have seen the lady sitting on the sidewalk with a brush and bucket of soapy water scrubbing the curb and part of the street. The cracks on their driveway and sidewalk have nothing in them. I'm happy for them.

  • Someday I would like to get a pressure washer for Mother's Day or my birthday. Dan knows this so I can't get him one for Father's Day or his birthday. It would be too obvious. I want to clean the cracks in my sidewalk and driveway, too.

  • I may have fingerprints on my walls or smudges on my kitchen cabinets but I would rather clean the edges of the baseboards with a toothbrush. There is something about knowing they are clean that gets me excited. What does this say about me?

  • On the same note, unclogging the shower drain or a bathroom sink makes me happy.

Moving on to another subject:

  • School is out next week and we never quite mastered the Jacob Please Pack a Snack For School Today routine. Or the Jacob Where is Your Homework Folder routine. Maybe next year.

  • We had Open House last night. There were lots of different activities. The one Jacob was excited about was the Hoola Hoop contest. He was one of the winners. He was super happy.

  • There was also a karaoke booth. I realized that a lot of the girls wanted to sing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" but none of them knew how it went. They did know how to sing "Love Story." I really wanted to get up there and sing but I restrained myself from embarrassing my children or myself. Can you imagine if your mom got up to sing at your Open House?!

Moving on to yet anther subject:

  • Do stretch marks ever go away?

  • Does it really matter?

  • Will I ever have my cut abs again? (I dreamt about this one time and in my dream I was pregnant and my abs were cut because Stacy and Clinton were there telling me how great I looked in a structured jacket.)

  • Will the swelling in my feet ever go down?

  • Will I even be able to see my feet again to know that is has?

And finally:

  • I'm really enjoying the Ranch Chicken Taco Salad from Taco Bell.

  • I'm really enjoying Otter Pops.

  • I'm really enjoying Breyer's Orange and Vanilla Take Two ice cream.

  • Maybe that's why I may not have my abs again.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Joshua is 3

Joshua's birthday was on April 28. He is a funny 3 year old. He loves to wrestle his brothers and he loves to give his Mami kisses but his favorite thing to do is be with his Dad. He loves to snuggle with Dan at the end of the day for a story. The other night I put him down for bed and said to him, "Goodnight, little boy." He replied, "Goodnight, big Mami." I'm glad he's learning opposites. We are so thankful that Joshua is in our family.
Joshua is our 4th child and I have always felt badly about his coming home from the hospital story when he was born. I thought for sure the nurses wouldn't let me bring him home.

Joshua Benson Hull was born shortly after 4am on a Friday. It became evident that he was having a hard time breathing. The nurses said he was grunting. I held him quickly and then they took him away. He was placed in the NICU shortly after being born. It was determined that he was born with a pneumothorax, a small hole in his lung.

He was placed in a hoodie with oxygen and got a few IV's. Dan and my brother-in-law Paul gave him a blessing. I was so grateful and felt that things would be fine. They kept taking xrays to determine if air was still escaping from his lung. They said that these kinds of small holes usually seal up on their own but if it didn't surgery would be needed. After a day or so the amount of air that was leaking was getting smaller so we knew that the hole was sealing up. During this time we were unable to hold him. I was in my recovery room on Saturday afternoon when I was told I could go up and hold Joshua. It was so great to hold him again.
I came home from the hospital on Sunday evening. It was so hard to leave him there. I was pumping and storing milk and I would need to take it up throughout the day. They thought he would be there for a week. My mother-in-law came on Monday morning and was such an amazing help. I'm so grateful she was here.

After coming home on Tuesday from my visit at the hospital I got the call from the nurses saying that the doctor had OK'd Joshua's release for that afternoon! We were so excited to be bringing him home a few days before what had been stated that morning. It is protocol to have Social Services call the families of the children in the NICU to make sure that they are going home to a safe environment. She asked if we had a crib for the baby and a car seat. I told her that I had everything, he's my fourth child. We were told to be there at 3pm and that we had to watch a car seat safety video and then we could bring him home. I said, "Perfect, we'll be there at 3."

Ok...this is the part where I thought for sure, "Yeah, he's the 4th child" and "There's no way they're going to let me take him home."

I called Dan to let him know we could bring home Joshua so he came home early from work so that we could pick him up. I put together the diaper bag with his coming home outfit and matching blanket.

Dan's truck had been acting funny so we made arrangements to drop off the truck on our way to the hospital. We would be picking up the rental car, too. So we drove the truck to the car rental place. Then I drove the rental car and followed Dan as he drove the truck to the shop. Then Dan got in the rental car and we drove to the hospital.

We arrived at 4. We were an hour late picking up our son!!! I felt so horrible. There were other parents there with their children who did not know how many more weeks or months or if they would even be able to bring their babies home at all and here I was able to bring mine home and I was late. We watched the safety video and then we were told that we had to get our last paperwork clearance so that we could officially check out of the hospital.

Dan and I went downstairs and the lady looked us up on the computer, she checked my hospital tags on my wrist, and then asked to see a photo ID. I opened up my purse and realized that my wallet was in the diaper bag. I then realized that the diaper bag was in the truck. I then realized that the truck was in the shop. I didn't have the diaper bag with me!! My wallet was in there and so were Joshua's clothes. I told the lady that I didn't have my license with me. She checked Dan's ID and I answered all of the security questions correctly but she needed to see something with my picture on it. I looked through my purse to see if there was anything in there that had my picture on it. And then I saw it. I pulled out my Costco card and said this was all I had. She took it and copied it and said that would be fine.

We went back upstairs to take Joshua and the nurse asked me if I had clothes for him. I told her that we had forgotten his diaper bag and that his clothes were in the bag. Once again, I could feel the stares of some of these parents. I tried not to look at them. I asked the nurse if it was OK to take the hospital shirt he was wearing and if we could have the hospital blanket as well. She said we could.

So Joshua came home wearing only a white hospital shirt. He didn't have any socks or pants. I was waiting for Social Services to stop us on our way out. They didn't and it's been a wonderful 3 years! We love you, Joshua!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Brandon is 12

Brandon turned 12 on April 17. I really can't believe that my little baby is not little anymore.

Turning 12 also meant that he would be ordained a Deacon. I figured I would be emotional, especially being pregnant and tired, but I wasn't fully prepared for the sweet experience of watching Dan ordain Brandon. Brandon is such a good example to both Dan and me. There are many times when I think that I need to get my act together and follow the lead of my children.

Brandon likes to set goals. So do I. The difference is that he actually accomplishes them. One of the goals he set for himself earlier this year was to read The New Testament before he turned 12. We realized that if he did this he would have read all the Standard Works. I am 34 and I have yet to read all the Standard Works from cover to cover. We encouraged Brandon to read but also told him that it was OK if he didn't finish. What he had already done was pretty amazing. On Easter Sunday, 5 days before his birthday, we read the last chapter of Revelations with Brandon. I hope that we can continue to focus on the Scriptures and that as the tough teenage years come, our children will be able to turn to the Scriptures for answers.

We celebrated Brandon's birthday on Sunday the 19th because he was on a Scout camping trip for his actual birthday. Our boys get to request whatever dinner and cake they want for their birthdays so that meant that we would have spaghetti. Brandon loves spaghetti. He also requested corn on the cob, the 5 (or is it 7?) layer chocolate cake from Costco, and homemade vanilla ice cream. It was a good dinner. A nice way to end a nice day. I'm grateful to my parents who were able to be here for the occasion.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Adios, Nana

My Nana passed away on Friday, April 3, 2009. She was 86 years old.

She was the only grandparent I remember. She was my mom's mother.

My Nana was a funny lady. Just last Saturday all of my sisters were together and we were able to visit with her. We told her that we would be by on Monday to sing to her and we hoped she could get out of bed to dance. She quickly put up her arms and started to pretend to dance.

I have many memories of her. When I was little my family would go to San Luis, Mexico just about every Saturday and visit her. Every once in a while I would stay with her for a week during the summers.

There I learned that 5am is a good time to get up and make coffee and go outside and water all the plants. It is also a good time to sweep the dirt. I learned how to wash clothes by hand. She had a "lavadero" outside and we would lather up a bar of soap and start to scrub our clothes.

She made the best tamales and tortillas. I remember her taking a small ball of dough and start to pat it. She would keep patting this dough until she had a tortilla at least a foot and a half in diameter. She would let me try. I could never make them nearly as thin or as round as she could.

She also loved to tease me. She knew I was gullible and once told me that she had put cockroaches in the dinner and I believed her.

She taught me about making do with what you have. The only TV set in her house was in the bedroom. Her room was an extension of the kitchen and we would always gather in there. She always liked to show us her "remote control." It was a long stick. She could be in her bed and reach out and push the on/off button with her "remote." We knew we couldn't play with that stick because it belonged next to her bed.

She was a devout Catholic. She had her Saints that she liked to pray to. We felt bad when, not once but twice, my sister Ericka accidentally broke her most precious Saint. My oldest cousin was frantically trying to glue it back together before she got back. We knew she was extremely upset when she saw what we had done but she didn't yell or scream or do any of those things. We didn't dare look at her in the eyes.

This past August I was in Yuma visiting and we were able to see her. She asked when I was going to be leaving and I told her the day. The day came when I was loading my children in the van getting ready to leave when the phone rang. It was her and she was calling to wish me a safe trip. She said to me, "Te quiero, mi amor." ("I love you, my love.")

Nana, I love you, too.

(The picture is Brandon with my Nana, taken in December 1997.)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Boys!

It was Blake's birthday on January 29. (Yes, I'm behind) Jacob's birthday was March 24 and I haven't posted about that either. Brandon's birthday is coming up on April 17 followed by Joshua's on the 28. I figured I can't blog about Brandon turning 12 this year if I don't first blog about Blake turning 10. So here is a recap of my boys....Blake Kimball Hull is the smartest 10 year old I know. Really. He got 100% on both the math and science portions of his standardized test last year. He asks me questions about things and I have to go Google the answer. He also is a very hard worker.
He also inherited some of his mother's athletic abilities. Poor guy. Some physical things don't come very easily to him but he has the determination to practice until he gets better at them. Take baseball. He decided he wanted to play baseball. During tryouts during his first year he didn't even know where to go when they asked him to go play Shortstop. They said, "Between 2nd and 3rd." He went somewhere else. Then they said, "Between the two cones." Then they just told him to start walking and to stop when they said to. He eventually made it to the Shortstop position. Needless to say his first year in baseball was played out in left field. (Nothing against left fielders...) But he decided last year that he wanted to pitch. So everyday after school he went outside to practice his pitching. He got better and better and last year was able to pitch a few games. This year he is one of his team's pitchers.
He also is really good at making and keeping goals. When he started Cub Scouts he decided that he would earn his Wolf badge before the next pack meeting. That gave us about 6 weeks. Guess what he did for six weeks straight? He earned his Wolf badge.

We are so glad he is in our family. Even though there are days when I wish there was a mute button on that boy our home would be too quiet without him. Blake, you are an amazing boy. We love you!!
Blake and Jacob

Jacob Taylor Hull is the sweetest 6 year old boy. He is our third child and Heavenly Father knew exactly what I needed when he sent him to us.

I was seriously doubting my abilities of my being a mother when I became pregnant with Jacob. It was a difficult time for me. Then two things happened that changed everything. We moved to Yucaipa and Jacob was born. After being in our English ward for almost 1 year our family was called to serve in a Spanish Branch. Dan was called to be a counselor so that meant that I would have the children by myself. I also played the piano during Sacrament Meeting. Jacob sat in his car seat the entire time. When he outgrew his car seat he would actually sit next to me on the bench while I played. He sat!!! I had never had a child who would sit during anything. If I needed to got to the dentist he would actually stand in the corner and wait for me until I was done!!!!! I didn't even have to bribe him!!! I had never before experienced anything like this. He was a great infant and toddler.
Now 6 years later, he is still a sweet boy but definitely has his mother's stubbornness. He has to think an idea was his if there is any chance of him doing it. If I ask him to make his bed he will dance around the issue. If he says, "I know something...I will make my bed in the morning" he will get up extra early and make his bed...with a smile. He loves to give us hugs and kisses and I'm so thankful he is in our family. We love you, Jacob!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Had the Munchies

After the Saturday evening session of Stake Conference I dropped the babysitter off at her home and headed to the grocery store to buy some bananas and milk. Then I realized I just needed a little something...not sure what that was but I was sure I would know when I saw it.

So what went in my cart? Processed foods laden with sugar and artificial sweeteners. I was seriously laughing each time I put an item in my cart. First, bananas. Then it went downhill from there. Breyers ice cream...Oreo and Vanilla with Orange. Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake....the little container with the plastic spoon. Fig Newtons. Keebler's Frosted Animal Crackers. Saltine crackers. Sour Patch watermelon candy. Chile Limon Cheetos. Already made chocolate milk. (Why buy chocolate syrup if it's already mixed?) I did exert some self control by not getting the Sprite at the check out stand.

I was embarrassed by the items in my cart. I'm sure people were thinking, "Umm....excuse me, big pregnant lady, but do you know that's not good for you?!?" My reply would've been..."Yes....but you're not the boss of me."

Now this morning...none of the food I got sounds good to me.....well, maybe the ice cream does. And the chocolate milk.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My Fair Lady

It's been a busy few weeks at the Hull household. We've had family visits, a Disneyland day trip, playing in the snow days, baseball practices, basketball games, Scouts, sicknesses, everyday routines, and of course the ever popular Science Fair.

Because I have a son, Brandon, who doesn't like to procrastinate and he has a mother who doesn't mind working with a deadline, I had been reminded at least once a day about the project deadline for the last 2 months. (My other son, Blake, really doesn't care one way or the other.) So we did the actual experiments a few weeks ago and all that was left was all the written stuff and the assembly of the board.

Brandon's project had to do with whether or not an ice cube melts faster in water or in air and Blake's project was whether or not a hard boiled egg spins longer than a raw egg. I must say that I do enjoy experiments. I think it's a great way to learn. I just don't like having to oversee all the paper work.

But as each year passes I'm getting better at letting the boys do their thing. (I figured that by the time this new baby has to do a project I won't even know there was a Science Fair and she'll just ask her brothers for their projects.)

I used my sister Edna's motto: The least amount of effort possible. So that meant the boys did it all. This year, we didn't take out the glue stick. The boys stapled their boards together. Their pictures were not printed on photo paper but on regular paper. There wasn't any cardstock to make borders for anything. I just provided the typing and formatting on Publisher. They were pleased with their projects and Blake was one of the three winners of his classroom. Way to go, Blake!

After all I had my day when as a fifth grader I set out to answer the question in every fifth grader's mind: Can Probability Be Tested? I won the school fair in my category, Math and Computers, because I was the only project in that category. Then I went on to the county where I didn't place. There were 5 projects in my category and ribbons were given to 1st -4th places so guess where that left me.

This is Blake's project. I don't have a picture of Brandon's. Don't looks exactly the same. The only difference is that his title is in blue.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jakey Jacob

Jacob makes me smile. He was Student of the Week last week so we had Blanco Bear visiting our home. We got to document the many activities of Blanco Bear and Jacob. Here they are pulling weeds.

Jacob is a funny boy. He constantly says things that makes us smile. We love him!

Here is a short conversation we had while reading The Polar Express.

Me: (reading) "We sang Christmas carols and ate candies..."

Jacob: (pointing to the words "Christmas carols" ) I know that! "Christmas carols" is in If You Take a Mouse to the Movies!

Me: You're right! It's part of that book.

Me: (reading the next page) "We traveled through cold, dark forests, where lean wolves......hid from our train as it thundered through the quiet wilderness."

Jacob: (pointing to the word wilderness) I know that word! That's in the Book of Mormon!

Me: You're right!

I thought it was cute. I love all my boys. They truly are amazing little people.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Self Evaluation Quiz for Homemakers

I was at the church last night for Cub Scouts and noticed more items on the We Are Cleaning the Library So Help Yourself to Whatever You'd Like Table. (At least that is how I interpret it) I found a Homemaking manual from 1983. I skimmed through it and found recipes and sewing patterns and so I picked it up.

When I got home I started to browse through it and found this quiz towards the beginning. This quiz is "for individual women to use to help bring to mind homemaking goals they might like to set."

1. My house is:
a. immaculate
b. liveable
c. could be better

2. I organize my time:
a. pretty well
b. sometimes
c. don't have time

3. I have a place for everything:
a. yes, I do
b. sometimes
c. don't know where to look

4. At the grocery store, I:
a. comparison shop
b. compare a few prices
c. buy on impulse

5. I take time for beauty:
a. oh yes, every day
b. I've let down
c. when?

6. When I see old furniture, I:
a. get excited
b. sometimes see new possibilities
c. live with it or throw it away

7. Clogged disposals, broken plugs and stopped-up toilets:
a. I can usually fix
b. make me wonder, "Where do I start?"
c. scare me to death

8. I feel decorating and "personal touches" in a home are:
a. important
b. nice if I have time
c. a real bother

9. My walls can be described as:
a. attractive
b. need some updating and change

10. Our one year storage is:
a. completed
b. depleted
c. deleted

11. I spend quality time with my children:
a. often
b. sometimes
c. when they're sick

12. My yard and garden:
a. flourish
b. need improvement
c. won't grow

13. Holidays and birthdays are:
a. fun to make special
b. bound to happen
c. a nuisance

14. Our Christmas decorations and traditions are:
a. dear to our family
b. needing a spark
c. getting worn out

15. Our meals each week are:
a. excellent
b. of fair variety
c. getting dull

16. I entertain:
a. with flair
b. pretty well, considering
c. only when absolutely necessary

17. When it comes to sewing:
a. I enjoy it and save money
b. I could, if I had some help
c. it's more frustrating than fun

18. My laundry is:
a. clean and in order
b. a struggle
c. stacked in the corner

After taking this quiz I have set some goals for myself. I will start with question 5. I will do that by shaving my legs more often.

How do you rate?

Gabby's fine print: I believe in making a house a home. I believe that as women we should strive to create an environment where children can blossom and nourish. I believe in nurturing marriage. I believe we all try our best and there will be days when I won't be able to entertain with flair because a stopped-up toilet scares me to death.