August 31, 2017

family day

We had stake conference on Sunday. On Saturday, our sweet thoughtful bishop sent a text to us with a link to watch conference at home since we have a new baby. What we didn't realize until 10am Sunday morning was that the link was actually for Saturday's adult session.

We missed Saturday's adult session because we had tickets to the cinematic pop concert. Which, by the way, Eric and I loved!

We missed the Sunday session since we assumed we had the link, and we didn't realize we didn't until conference had already started. Instead of rushing to get everyone ready, we decided to stay home and declared it our family day. 

I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts (Happier with Gretchen Rubin) a few weeks ago and they mentioned have a "power day." Basically, the extension of a power hour to a whole day of getting things done you've been needing to do. In essence, that's what family day became. A power day to focus on our family, to do things we've been meaning to do, and to discuss things we've been meaning to discuss.

Eric and I made a list of things we wanted to accomplish during the day and we crossed them off as we went.

We actually got through quite a bit of our list that day. We started with snuggle time. Everyone shared their enthusiasm in favor of this one (said in my most sarcastic voice). But I think it was an important one. Eric assigned spots on the couch and we had to sit as close as we could. We listened to a 7 min episode of a Mormon channel daily podcast during our cuddle time. Seven minutes turned into a bit longer because we had to keep starting the podcast over and over because some individuals were not sure about this great idea--even going as far as referring to our brilliance  as torture. But we believe in the power of touch and sitting there all smushed together definitely brought power into our family and centered us for the rest of the day. But I can't believe I missed out on the family selfie that could've been. 

The rest of the day, we rotated between a family activity and then 10-30 min away from each other each time. Many of us here are introverts and we do need some recharge time on our own. Especially me.

The playing, the reading, the cleaning, and the games (nerts!) were all great. But our family discussions were at the heart of our family day.

Some thing that was said and then sung at the cinematic pop concert the night before got me thinking about our family and a specific problem right now and an idea came to me then about how to help address it. Eric and I counseled about my idea on the way home from the concert and that's how we decided we needed to have a discussion about our family culture. What do Allred's do? What do Allred's value? What do we enjoy together? What do we wish for our family? We started by having everyone brainstorm individually about what makes up our family culture. We then shared our answers and wrote them on a whiteboard. Eric and I had planned to then work on making a small little poster to display our family culture. But the children's ideas were flying during that discussion and so we are hoping to make something bigger happen. Still tweaking those ideas, but it will come together. 

Our other big discussion was about creating a set of family rules. Our collaboration resulted in the CROWLS. And the fact that when someone needs a reminder of these rules, we can then ask "Do you C  R  OWLS?"

C: communication 
R: respect 
O: order
W: work
L: learn
S: serve 

This is how Perry participated in family day.... 

B had her role, too.

Family day was exactly what we needed. We accomplished important things, enjoyed each other's company, and came closer together as a family. 

August 28, 2017

soccer season

I'm so glad we found this soccer club that Kyler is on. The schedule is perfect for us and we don't have to worry about any Sunday play because they are the NSFC (No Sunday Futbol Club). Kyler likes his new coach because he pushes them hard. He has some awesome boys on his team, too. 

Saturday they had their first game of sorts. It was a friendly match so it doesn't count towards the season, but it was good experience. Kyler is back to playing keeper, and some defensive mid when he can.

B and I were his biggest fans! Can you see him there in the blue?

She was definitely cheering him on in her sleep. 

August 25, 2017

don't blink

Infertility gave me a gift. Well, many gifts actually. But the one I've experienced the strongest the last few weeks is the gift of cherishing.

Cherish this.

Enjoy it.

I know some people get really annoyed when they are in the thick of young children and all that goes with it and people tell them to enjoy it because they grow up so quickly.

But, personally, I've always loved that advice--to enjoy the crazy stage we are in and to cherish the moments. It's never bothered me to have someone tell me that because it's true! It does go by so quickly. And there are so many people out there who never get the blessing of having young children.

So whether or not you like that advice given to you by the stranger in the grocery store or the lady sitting behind you in church, I hope you will think about that advice and let your heart fill up with gratitude for the opportunity to love, serve, and nurture God's children. That blessing does not come easily, or does not come at all, to many people who yearn for it.

That's what I feel these days. So much gratitude for less sleep at night, exploding poop on my hand while I change a diaper, and the craziness of keeping track of 5 schedules.

I didn't say all those moments were fun or that I am always smiling around here. But I am bursting with gratitude and that leads me to cherish these special moments.

I'm afraid if I blink I will miss some of it.

And I don't want to miss any of it because I'm so grateful to be experiencing it at all.

Now I just need to apply my own advice when it comes to teenagers... ;) ;)

August 24, 2017

Perry is 7!

Happy birthday to our sweet, silly, amazing boy!

I can not believe that my little Perry has turned into a tall 7 year old already.

His birthday was during the week, but we celebrated on the weekend. He woke up and snuggled into bed with me and asked if he was the birthday boy. He enjoyed every minute of being "the birthday boy."

As per tradition, on your birthday around here, you get to be the one who chooses who says the prayers for the day. At each meal and at family prayers, Perry always chose himself. I think that's because he knows he will be the fastest and he won't have to wait long. :)

We were thrilled that Perry wanted to have a birthday party with friends this year. It was fun to watch him be so excited about it.


We invited everyone to the splash pad to celebrate with us. He had friends from school, a few friends from church, and cousins there. It ended up being one of those parties that came together quite smoothly. The only thing I would've done differently is make sure the party didn't land on a scout campout so that older brothers could've been there, too. I hate that they missed it. Oh well.

I found these water blasters so each of the kids got one when they arrived at the splash pad. We brought a couple of empty tubs that we placed around the splash pad that would fill up so they could use their blasters.

After an hour of play, Perry was ready for cake. We gathered everyone to the tables. They got goldfish and drinks. We sang happy birthday to our 7 year old.

After cupcakes, Perry opened up all of his presents. He is still the best gift opener. He enjoys each gift immensely and gives the biggest heartfelt thank you to each person.

Perry got one more day of celebration on sunday. We made a special breakfast for him. He got sung to at church. Then we went to grammie and papa's for dinner, cupcakes, and his gifts from us.

I can't even express how glad I am that this little guy was born 7 years ago and is part of our family now. We love him soo much!

August 18, 2017

These days

Jacqui took newborn pictures for us. Here is a preview of the cuteness (from my iPhone) until we get the real photos.

Eric is back in town! This last trip was three days. I survived five kids by myself, but probably not as gracefully as some. We are all grateful that dad is home! This time he was in MN, but the first week of August he was in Ohio. When he was in Ohio he sent us some pictures from his trip. 

The all important picture (according to Perry)--the rental car.

Somebody had his first cavity filled (he was a rockstar). But when we showed up to the dentist I was talking to him and noticed one of his teeth was missing! He must have swallowed it while he was eating his cereal in the car. He let dad pull out the second front tooth that evening so the tooth fairy could make a visit that night.

Little miss lost her belly button at exactly two weeks.

Big sister is quite proud that she can now hold the baby standing up (with careful supervision still).

Kacin loves his weekly allergy shots still. Haha. Well, he might not love it, but I love sitting next to this cool guy for 30 min just me and him each week.

This picture popped up on facebook. How tiny are these cuties!

Our little bug on the left is one week older than our friend's daughter on the right. Haha.

Perry got really into caring for the baby one day. He gave her a pacifier for the first time (it's as big as her!). He organized her diapers. Then he pushed her in her stroller around the house. What a sweet big brother!

Some more helpful older siblings with the littlest one...

I feel like I might have posted some of these pictures before, but my brain is too tired to remember and I'm lacking the desire to even go back and check previous posts. So here are some cute ones (maybe for the second time).

I am feeling grateful that we got this in the mail the other day. Sometimes even walking across a parking lot is too much. This will be so helpful and I'm so thankful for small helps like this to help lessen some of the challenges of autism. 

Speaking of, Eric has figured out the best way to work with Perry. Most often it's at bedtime or when we are getting ready for school that he has to use it. But every time he does it works like a charm. Eric brings out the Batman Voice. Something about E becoming Batman really helps our little man calm down, laugh, and comply. Last night Eric had to read a bedtime story twice as Batdad--his throat wasn't loving that, but Perry was!