Sunday, September 23, 2007

party of five!

when i look through our pictures, i realize we never have pictures of our entire family. so after church today, we nabbed our neighbor and had her snap this picture. gosh, i remember when jacob and i first got married and we'd fly standby with united airlines. "munyer, party of two" was what they'd call out to us. it's awesome to be a party of five now!

i also don't allow many pictures of myself!
years of growing my hair out only to have it pulled back every day? no thank you! i'd rather have the short messy look like ziya's! i chopped it off and added some punky color just this week. it's a lot more fun.

beautiful girl

this little girl melts my heart... every single day. i couldn't resist posting some of these pictures. no particular reason except that i'm in love with her! i took these pictures the day she turned 5 months old.
Posted by Picasa

bet you didn't know book of mormon missionaries wore capes!

for family home evening this past week, the boys dressed up like ammon (hee, hee!) from the book of mormon and re-enacted the story for us, chopped arms and all (poor jacob!). it was tons of fun. abe even had a little sheep that he was protecting. i'm not too sure how much they got about being a missionary or a good example, but we'll keep trying!

this was all fun and games, but in church today, our bishop gave a brief introduction to the primary sacrament meeting program. he cited alma 32:23 "little children do have words given unto them many times, which confound the wise and the learned."

as we read the scriptures tonight and then asked ammon and abe questions about what we'd read, i was confounded by what they understood (not that i'm calling myself wise or learned). i don't doubt that even little ziya is absorbing understanding. what an awesome responsibility i feel towards these three little angels!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 17, 2007


4 1/2 month old with pigtails!

just having fun

ammon loves carrying his little sister!
ziya loves it, too!

abe's favorite part of his new pre-school is "kidzercise!"
he's pretty pooped by the end!


this week was a loooong one, to put it mildly. there just seemed to be LOTS going on. i was at my wits end one night and was really close to losing it when something very special happened. let me explain.

there’s tons going on at the apartments we manage (huge carpet install—i’ll post pictures when it’s completely done for those of you who wish you were still here!, remodeling, painting, renting units, etc., etc.) and just because it’s the way things work, i end up dealing with most of it while jacob is at work. so it had been a day of dealing with all of this on top of my own home and family responsibilities. i was ready to just jump in bed and hide under the covers for the rest of the night by the time jacob came home. not so fortunate! i forgot it was wednesday. i fixed a quick dinner that he had to gobble down before going to his weekly young men’s activity. that left me to deal with the three kiddos on my own. no big deal, right? i do this all the time. well, within a matter of about three minutes, chaos ensued.

· just as we said “amen”, one of the maintenance workers came to the door to complain that the wrong kind of flooring was delivered. “it doesn’t match what i’ve already started the floor with. i hate to say it but I TOLD YOU SO!!! call and get the right stuff NOW so i can continue my work!”

· while i was at the door dealing with the irate maintenance guy, two cups of sticky apple juice managed to spill themselves. abe had to switch to a different chair because his was all wet.

· in my now very flustered state of mind, i accidentally put jam instead of honey on abe’s toast. “it’s wrong! it’s wrong! it’s wrong! i need honey! i need honey! i need honey! change it! change it! change it!” i’m still not sure why he thought repeating everything in three’s was necessary. i just hope he wasn’t imitating one of my newest strategies adopted from dora the explorer (short, simple, clear phrases repeated two or three times [”socks, shoes, backpack, door... socks, shoes, backpack, door”]... a great strategy, except when it’s used against you!)

· ziya had tried her hardest to be patient during all this madness, but she’d had it. she started to scream. i tried to focus my attention back on her and continue feeding her cereal but she couldn't calm down enough to eat more.

· let us not forget about ammon. this whole time ammon was playing what i call “the monkey eating his dinner” game. he takes a bite, sprawls on his chair, touches the floor, comes up for another bite, scratches under his arm (just kidding), lays on the floor under the table, etc. but at least he was eating his dinner!

· the phone rang... i should know better than to answer while we’re eating! while i was trying to take care of yet more apartment business (i swear, people spy on me and save their phone calls for meal times!) abe was nagging about something. i ignored him and then scolded him for talking to me while i was on the phone. so he peed on his chair. here’s the conversation that followed:

ABE: it’s your fault mami. i told you i had to go.

ME: sorry i didn’t listen, abe, but you can go by yourself.

ABE: no i can’t.

ME: yes you can.

ABE: no i can’t.

ME: yes you can. (this probably went on a few more rounds, but don’t judge me! i was already weakened by the entire day’s events)

even though i was annoyed, i thought the immediate solution would be simple: just switch chairs! meltdown number whatever happened next because the only other available chair was already wet with juice. with more juice on the table at this point, i wasn’t about to get out any of the “nice” chairs (ha, ha!).

· now ammon had bumped his head with a table leg and ziya was in a high frenzy because the cereal had stopped coming… not to mention the fact that i’d only managed to sneak about two bites of my own dinner.

this was the point where i was ready to lose it and just start yelling at everybody. my head was literally throbbing and one of my eyes was actually twitching! but earlier that morning i did manage to pray for patience. He who knows the very details of my life sent an answer. laughter. i started to laugh almost uncontrollably. my kids were confused at first, but as soon as they realized that this was for real, they started laughing with me (even ziya!). tears and all, we were all doubled over in pure, wholesome laughter. it felt sooo good.

my days are hard. and with growing kids and busier schedules, i'm sure they'll only get harder. i'm just thankful for a Father in Heaven who found a fun way to help me get through this one.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

room with a view

this is what we saw outside our balcony this morning - a mama moose and two calves. pictures aren't the greatest (it was still a bit dark and our camera is pretty basic). i love seeing this kind of thing. see pam? we really do have moose in kenai!

Monday, September 3, 2007

first week (week of firsts)

it has been an exciting week for our family... lots of firsts.

i'll start with ammon. after much deliberation about whether to start our young five-year-old in kindergarten this year (he just turned five a few weeks ago), we decided to give it a try. he was to start on monday, so we spent a little bit of time sunday night making sure that everything was prepared for a smooth morning. smooth it was!!! ammon was 100% cooperative in doing everything i asked him to do (not the usual case!) ... he was soooo excited!! i on the other hand was a nervous and emotional wreck (crying myself to sleep at about 3:00 a.m. didn't help). abraham, ziya and i walked ammon into his new classroom. his teacher is a veteran kindergarten teacher and knew just what to do to make all the new kindergarteners comfortable. we helped ammon go through what will be his normal morning routine (greet teacher, hang backpack, choose book, etc.) and then we just hung out for a while and explored the classroom with him. he got just a tad nervous when i told him we were going to leave, but as soon as i introduced him to a classmate who was playing with little toy animals, he was eager for me to leave.

now one week later, ammon dances around our apartment saying "vvvvvvvv is the sound for vampire and it starts with the letter V!" he also criss-crosses his arms while waving them in the air and says "fox... x says xxxxx." he has already dug his hands into a tub of earthworms, watched and waited with anticipation for the classroom cocoons to hatch, searched in the woods for living creatures either "above, on or under" the ground, played with bombs (i.e. balls) in gym and gone on an amazing watermelon hunt (in two weeks he'll be helping to harvest potatoes from a local garden). in other words, he's having a great time!

abraham refused to be left out of the excitement of the first day of school. while ammon prepared his backpack sunday night, abraham also packed his own and set it next to the front door (finding this at 2:00 a.m. was what started my crying fit). i'd told abe that i was going to get together with some other moms and start a preschool for him, but i had not yet done that. well... he was up and dressed and ready to go even before ammon was! after we left ammon's school, i desperately called a good friend and asked her to "pretend" to be abe's preschool teacher for the day. within the 15 minutes that it took us to get to her house, she had a preschool lesson prepared (handouts and all!) for abraham and her own three-year-old daughter. (bless you, gina!) abe had fun learning about the "very special" letter A. he picked out A's from a group of ABC blocks and he even practiced writing A's on a magna doodle. after everybody was home in the evening, he was excited to show off his preschool papers.

this week abe has also become an expert bike rider. while i go on walks with some friends, he rides his bike alongside us. it didn't even dawn on me the first day he did this, that he was riding close to 4 miles though. when he woke up in the middle of the night crying because his legs hurt, we made arrangements the next day and hid his bike along the trail so that he did not have to ride the entire time!

i did finally coordinate with some other moms and we started a parent co-op preschool at an elementary school not too far from where we live. we already have plans to stencil with apples on the first official day, visit a fire station later in the month and do lots of other fun stuff. now he really does have a preschool to call his own.

even little ziya has had some firsts (hers actually started a few weeks ago, but she perfected them this week!). ziya's introduction to baby rice cereal was a hit. i kept having to stir up more and more because she just kept eating and eating. she ate like such a pro... if i didn't know any better, i would have thought somebody had been sneaking her cereal behind my back!

ziya has also finally started playing with her feet when she's lying down. she's caught glimpses of them before, but was never interested in actually playing with them. now it's the first thing she does when i lay her down to change a diaper or just to hang out.

ziya has also just started playing in an exersaucer and a jumperoo (i'll post pictures in a few days when i can get some good ones). it really is amazing how fast she's growing. her little personality is adorable. in relief society today, she cooed and giggled with the sister who was sitting behind me for at least 15 minutes. she is a true blessing in our lives.

as for me, i've also had a few "firsts" this past week. my neighbor and i went out and picked raspberries one night. i learned how to wash them without destroying them (thank goodness for the internet) and get all the spiders off. the next day, i made my first ever raspberry freezer jam! it feels great to look in the freezer and see something that i've created from scratch all by myself!

just yesterday, a dear relief society sister also brought over a large sack full of rhubarb from her garden. i made rhubarb crisp for dessert (ymmmmm! with vanilla ice cream) and tonight as a family activity, we all worked at the table and chopped it up to put in freezer bags for future use.

another "first" for me is my daily above-mentioned walks with a few friends. we briskly walk about 4 miles or so. the weather has been really cooperative and it has been nice to be outside so much. i push ziya in a bike trailer/stroller and abe rides his bike. the most exciting part about this is that when i weighed myself at the end of the week, i was down 5.4 pounds from my weight just two weeks prior. exciting stuff!!

finally, there's papi jacob. he actually started school a week and a half ago -- his second year of teaching. he has four co-taught classes, which means that he coordinates with four different teachers (and four different subjects, i might add) in finding ways to modify curriculum for the special ed students with whom he works. he teaches in these classes and also teaches one period of his own self-titled "intensive studies" class (study skills). and all this he does in amazingly handsome style! (he's sporting new clothes that actually fit comfortably... being 6'5" isn't easy on the wardrobe!). pictures to come later.

Posted by Picasa