Tuesday, May 3, 2016

And the cat had babies!

 Mel had four kittens about two weeks ago.  I was suspicious that she was preggers because not only did she start getting fat, she spent a lot of time just laying around.  One night she started to bleed.  I said, "It's happening!"

Heidi was in denial.  Then Mel's water broke on Tyler's bed.  Heidi didn't want the kittens born on Tyler's bed so she moved the cat into the bathroom.  After about an hour of howling, Heidi let Mel out.  Mel birthed the kittens on Tyler's bed.  The kids were stoked.  They were up a few times throughout the night to check on the kittens.  I didn't want kittens, but you gotta admit, it's special for the kids to witness the whole circle of life like that.


Tyler's pretty proud that she chose his bed.




Scott's been into making cookies and his have been pretty tasty.  


Mister's growing right up.  He talks quite a bit even though it's unintelligible gibberish.  He's been walking for about three weeks now.

Kira has chosen this white one as her kitty.


Heidi's job has been going pretty well.  I was worried about the increased work load it would put on me to have her gone for meal times but I gotta say, it's actually been nice.  Tonight we had Thai chicken skewers on the barbie with rice and salad.  Heidi had marinated the chicken and prepared the salad, so I just barbecued it and made the ride in the cooker.  The kids have been doing their chores and then we play UNO to cap off the night.  Then Kira and Blake fall asleep and then I read Harry Potter to Tyler.  We're in book four now.

Okay, that's all for now.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Journaling

Teaching Gospel Doctrine continues to be on my all time favorite callings.  I love it!  I look forward to teaching (maybe because it is an hour that I have kid free to give my full attention to a lesson without interruptions of kids or babies.  I also get distracted to talking to friends in halls a lot.  I need to work on that.  I recognize that I don't need to teach to really get the most out of classes and need to improve on punctuality, really preparing and making the most of each lesson. It really isn't about being in the class or an hour each Sunday, but making that lesson a part of your previous week and week ahead.  One of the many things to work on!

Well, last week I taught Gospel Doctrine (still one of my favorite callings ever!!)) I actually get energy and excited to teach.  I think it is what I was made to do in life, whether it be my little preschoolers once a month, swimmers or the gospel.  I love it!  It also helps me read and study my scriptures, even though lately, I haven't dedicated as much time as I should.  Time to recommit on that as well. 

A big section of the class was on recording your life.  I have read the Book of Mormon several times but it wasn't until teaching it that I grew to love and appreciate those small, little, what seemed insignificant chapters of Jarom and Omni.  I knew they weren't insignificant because they were in the Book of Mormon, but never realized what a treasure they were!  They show how critical it is to be a record keeping person. They talk of a civilization that didn't keep records, whose language was lost and remembrance of the Savior was lost.  I have majorly slacked on keeping up a journal.  Danny has done a great job at trying to post to the blog once a month. When we were in NewYork someone commented about how grateful they were to Danny for that. I started the blog when Tyler was really sick and it has kind of fallen by the wayside, but I am going to try to recommit to be better.  I love writing, more for me than anything, and really love that one day I can look back to remember the good and the bad, the easy and the hard.  So here I go.  Thanks Omni and Jarom!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

MY VILLAGE

I just want to say how grateful I am for the village of adults, youth and kids that are helping to raise and influence my kids.

One thing about going back to work, not having family in town and having 5 kids in all different directions is that you need a village and I am so lucky that I have the best one!

This week, Scott was kind of sad that he didn't know anyone on his new team, we said a prayer and that day he met some great kids who he now looks forward to going and hanging out.  When I got to work, I introduced him to two older boys playing basketball, they immediately included him and made him feel welcome, telling him that they were new to the team a year or two ago and understood.  What great kids!

I have Tyler's baseball team who helps pick him up so he can get to games on time and Kira's gymnastics coaches reach out to know how to help her since she has had the hardest time with me going to work.  I had a friend coming over to get something and we needed to get out the door, so she jumped into action and helped get my kids dressed.  I have babysitters who come and love and play with my kids.  I am so lucky!!

It used to be hard for me to ask for help.  It isn't anymore and that has been one of the greatest lessons I have learned as a parent.  Feeling Blessed!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Art Show

 Scotts painting got selected for the district wide art show.  It was the first day of swim practice for me and he came home and said that he had an art show that day.  So he stayed home with the babysitter and Danny took the kids when he got home from work.  He was really proud and felt so goo about himself.  We are proud of him too!  He has become such a helper and so responsible.   Danny took the kids to the show when he got home from work.  I missed it because of work.  So grateful I have a husband who at the end of a long day at work will come home and keep going for his kids.  Truly blessed.  GREAT JOB SCOTT!  WE ARE PROUD OF YOU!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

New York, sans kids

Our New York trip, as described by Danny.  Ahem.  New York was great.  Things at the Cochise property were consuming a lot of time and energy and it was becoming stressful for Heidi.  I actually didn't mind doing the renovations, even though I was tired.  Things always took longer than expected, though.  One of Heidi's second cousin's got married in New York and we decided to make a trip out of it.  I wasn't that excited about the city itself, but I was excited about leaving behind the kids since we haven't ever done that.  I didn't want our trip to just be building hunting and walking around because that is not my idea of a vacation.  We went with Heidi's sister, Heather, and her husband.

On the first day, we rented bikes and rode through central park.  I wanted to scout out the places from White Collar, and this lake boardwalk was where Neal was captured, and the skyline is from the key he found in the box.  My bike had good brakes but I like my Trek better.  



This is where Peter and the gang did their take downs.  I've never been into selfies but they really came in handy for this trip.  Then I saw the lady carrying the bag of trash and though about photoshopping her out, but hey, this is New York.  People carry bags of trash.  




This is where Kevin ran from the bird lady on Home Alone.  






Heidi and Heather met with some of Jacquie's friends while Jason and I hung out.  We went to the grand central terminal and then went to this bar on the roof of the Viceroy hotel.  I got a lemonade and we just chilled.  I was like, "So this is what you do in bars?"  



 The girls didn't want to go to the view balcony of the World Trade Center One, so Jason and I did.  It was $32 to go up, and I thought that was excessive, but they made a ride out of it.  The elevators had display screens on three of the walls that went from floor to ceiling.  As the elevators ascended, the video was a rendering through time of the city's progression from the standpoint of the rising elevator.  It was cool.  On top, the visibility was perfect and it was impressive to see all the buildings, even though I'm not a buildings guy.  




Heidi and I saw Jersey Boys.  I liked it.  I was familiar with most of the music, as we had performed several of the songs in Central Singers and Lyrics.  The guy who played Frankie Valli was amazing.  I stayed awake through the whole show.  Maybe that's because there wasn't enough leg room to slouch back and lean my head against the back of the seat.  I usually fall asleep during performances.


Brunch at Sarabeth's on Central Park Avenue.  Apparently this restaurant was one of Walt's favorites.  This is smoked salmon eggs benedict.  It was pretty good.  They had real maple syrup.  I used to like my homemade stuff the best, but I liked the real syrup better.  



Yvonne and Sue joined us for brunch.  Yvonne is Rich's ex-wife, and Rich was Ruth's brother.  Ruth was Jacquie's mom.  Sue is Yvonne's daughter, one of six kids.   


I got in a little nap before the wait staff kicked us out.
 

On Saturday night we ate at this run-down hole in the wall Italian joint with some of Heather's friends.  It looked pretty shabby but it was booming and the food was great.  I don't like Italian food but this tuna was great.  I even got gelato.  It was worth the expense.  

RJ's wedding was in Brooklyn.  RJ is Rich's son, with his second wife, Les.  
Heidi is with Cindy and Sandy.



Rich, Jenna, Les, and RJ at the reception hall in New Jersey.  The food was amazing.  I should have taken a picture of it because there was unlimited selection and amount.  I tried a couple varieties of sushi, cooked tuna, smoked salmon, shredded beef, stewed peppers, and more.  You could get full just on the appetizers.  Then there was a live band that was pretty good.  Their vocals were okay but the instrumentals were impressive, especially on their Bon Jovi cover of "Living on a prayer."
Then there was the sit-down dinner.  I had the sea-bass.  It was good.  I wore my ear plugs all night but I cut them in half so Heidi wouldn't notice.  The music was so stinking loud, even people without ear plugs couldn't hear each other and had to tell.  




Mark lent me his tux.  My size and everything.  Heidi got her dress from Ross.  I was going to buy a power suit, like Neal Caffrey, but I didn't make time to go to the store.  Plus we didn't think it would be formal enough.  Then people showed up to the wedding in jeans, so I woulda been okay.  But whatev, it was fun to dress in the tux.  Last time I did was probably in dental school.

After dinner was the dessert bar.  There were mini waffles, ice cream, scones, chocolate fountain, deep fried oreos, creme brulee, and more.  I ate way too much.

The band played until about 11:30 and then the after-party began.  I was done and ready to go home but Heidi wanted to stay.  I was willing to stay for her, so I had a nap on the plush chair.  The next morning there was a brunch in the hotel for the out-of-towners.  I had lots of bacon, an omelette, and a bagel with orange juice.  Mmmm, bacon.  We rented a Prius to drive to and from the reception and we dropped it off at the Hilton near JFK.

I even did a CE course while we were there.  It was a good vacation.  Good to get away, good to see Heidi's relatives, and good to learn how we travel.  One morning the shower wasn't warm.  It was about like a swimming pool, and I just toughed it out.  Then the water started to get cold and I had to get out.  Heidi turned it on and said, "There's no hot water."

I called up the maintenance and told them.  The guy said, "Yeah, no one has it.  Sorry."  I was like, "That's not gonna work.  What are you going to do to make it right?  Can you comp our room?  No?  Oh, you're gonna have to talk with my wife.  She's the one taking the cold shower."

Heidi gets on the phone and tells them it's unacceptable.  They reduced the rate on our room, but good grief!  Heidi goes, "If your boiler can't keep up with demand then you need a second boiler."  The guy goes, "This isn't a boiler.  It's done by steam."

I think, How does the water turn to steam?  A boiler.  But whatev.

A student from the 2nd ward stayed with our kids and everyone survived.  I used to love when my parents left because Shannon would stay with us.  We'd eat pizza everyday, play nintendo and watch Willow.  Okay, that's all for now.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Haircuts

Hey.  Looks like I'm the only one posting to this blog, too.  Heidi has lots more followers on her blog than I do, and this is a non-mechanical blog, so this post will be about how we do our hair in the McMillan household.  I do it.  I cut the kids hair, Heidi's hair, and my own hair.  I give them the cuts I want.  Sometimes they get what they want.  Heidi had been talking for a few weeks about how she wanted to go to [a nice salon], like it was a message of, This is how I want to spend my time and money.  I said sure.  "Knock yourself out.  Get a cut and color."  I'm glad that she wants to do her hair nice.  Well, a couple of weeks go by and no salon visit.  Then she asks me to cut her hair.

"Okay, how do you want me to do it?"

"Oh, whatever you want."  I cut off three or four inches, gave her some layers, and it looked nice.  This is her picture that's going on the swim team's profile.  You can't tell much about her haircut but I thought the composition and lighting were good.  It was the 50 1.8.  


I did Scott's hair today.  He likes it long and his hair is quite nice.  I gave him a cut like the Biebs.  Justin Beiber, when he was younger and not an idiot.  Scott's hair looked a lot better in real life but we had to do the photo anyway.  I told him that he had the hair I never could achieve.  I always wanted to look like John Stamos.  I even tried growing out my hair but whacked it a couple of weeks ago because I was so frustrated at work.  My haircut was a benign way of venting some steam.



I also cut Blake's hair.  He likes getting product put in it.  We didn't do a photo, though.  Blake has mostly recovered from the arrival of Parker.  We still struggle to understand what Blake's grunts mean.  I am trying to teach the kids to communicate with their words.  Specifically, I am teaching them to ask with "will you..." questions instead of statements that are not questions or requests but that imply the action of someone else, usually me.  Like this:  "I'm thirsty."

I hear that and think, "Yeah, you should get a drink."  But they're asking me for a drink.  So I say, in Spanish, "Will you get me a drink?"  I make them repeat it in Spanish.  Then I get them a drink.   I want them to be able to voice their emotions or concerns without hinting or expecting the listener to read their mind.  Just say it.   Also, I'm teaching them to give me yes or no answers when I ask them a yes or no question.  Why is that so hard for people?  It's not.  "Are you done eating?"  I always ask then when they've left their plate on the table and they're horsing around.  All I'm looking for is, "Yes, I'm done," and then I tell them to put their plate in the sink.  If it's no, I ask them to sit back down and keep eating.  But they give me these off-the-wall answers like, "Tyler's gonna shoot me with the nerf gun."

I'm pleased when I hear Scott repeat things I say.  Like he'll ask a question and get a vague answer.  So he comes back with, "So is that a yes or no?"  Nice.  I am not pleased when I have to ask the kids three or five times to do stuff.  Today I bribed them with my choir treat.  Heidi had a meeting after church and for choir I got a chocolate coated marshmallow thing.  Tyler brought the diaper bag out to the car, so I gave him a portion.  Kira was crying because she didn't get any treat.  I told her she just had to do something nice.

We made lentils for lunch.  My best batch yet.  Kira and Scott were peeling the potatoes and carrots and then Scott chopped them up.  Then Blake threw in the spices and opened the cans.  Tyler was vacuuming the carpet.  I felt successful.  Usually when the kids "help" me it takes longer.  But today they actually saved me time.  There is a video on the mormon channel about a single mom of three or four kids and their thing is to spend time together cooking.  I want the kids to enjoy cooking because it has brought me a lot of satisfaction and hopefully it'll become a part of their lives.

Okay, that's all.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SCOTT

Happy Birthday Scott! I am certain 10 will be a FABULOUS year!  This past year you have gained an inner confidence of who you are and what you are capable of doing; knowing your likes and dislikes. You are obedient and want to do what is right.  You are responsible. You are a loyal friend and well liked.  You want a play date everyday, all day. I usually tell you to figure it out, you hop on your bike and find a friend. When I tell you no, you get grumpy and moody which usually results in getting sent to your room.  The moodiness is beginning.  You like being a leader.  Student council has been fun (even though it means missing recess). You love being active, riding your bike to school, swimming and running.  You are quite the athlete.  You have the fastest mile time in school and did amazing in swimming.  You don't love team sports but instead individual, timed sports (probably because you like things being fair).  You get emotional when you are tired. You are an amazing leader and helper in school.  

You made it into GATE which you were most excited about for a bowling party. You are willing and eager to try new things.  This year you learned how to surf and ski.  You loved skiing and are fearless and liked trying out the terrain park this week.  You are enjoying garage projects with dad.  This week you learned about electricity at school and come home to solder your own light, switch and motor.   You love Mel and Ruby.  Mel likes to sleep on your bed and that makes you happy!  You like making hash browns and helping with breakfast in the morning.  You set your alarm for 6:00 every morning to practice your piano.  You are becoming a great piano player.  You don't want to put down your books at night when it is bedtime.   You love to read.  Instead of asking for toys and games for your birthday you asked for electronics and clothes.  Instead of wanting to go to the park, you want to go to a friends house to play video games, go skiing or for a run.  When you learn about something cool, you find out a way to go and do it.  You have an ever growing maturity and are a great big brother and example to your siblings.  You have so many talents and I am so excited to see what this year has in store for you and the incredible things that you accomplish and person you continue to become.  You want to be an engineer or dentist someday and are usually proud of yourself.   Here are your many faces..........