16 February 2009

Valentine's Week

For a family who doesn't really celebrate Valentine's Day, we sure had a fun time enjoying the holiday this year! It was an eventful week, and as promised, I did get some pictures. I will warn you, if you're a critical photographer, this post will drive you nuts! I took pictures, they just aren't very good. But honestly, they're pictures, so I'm happy to have them.

After talking about how it was warming up last week and we were able to enjoy being outside and going for walks... it snowed. Of course. Luckily, my kids were thrilled, so they bundled up and were off as soon as they got the chance! Anyone noticed how much "stuff" comes along with living in a four-season climate?

Jack was trying his best to play "snow baseball" with Jane as pitcher. He would make her a BIG snowball, hand it to her, and before he could get back to his bat and turn around, she'd already thrown it as far as she could. Very entertaining for me.

Jane is constantly eating snow. Walking Jack to school each morning takes FOREVER because I have to constantly be convincing Jane not to eat the snow until on the way back. She just can't resist it when it's freshly fallen.

They realized pretty quickly that it was way more fun to throw snowballs at ME than each other, and once I got my gloves on, I was all for it. These two are hilarious. We had a GREAT time just playing in that small amount of snow (and there really was SO little!), until I was so cold, I coaxed them inside with the promise of hot chocolate. Why do I get cold before they do?

My sweet mother-in-law invited the grandkids (and moms) over for a Valentine's party during the week. Jane and Ellie were enjoying their heart-shaped Jello at the table. These two are one year apart, almost exactly, and when they get along, it's so nice! I think I caught Jane chewing, maybe?

Jane was so excited to make her cute Valentine's craft with Grandma and loved stringing the ribbon through the edges. This girl sure loves crafts, for having a very non-crafty mother!

This is Jack "not smiling", but still looking very cute.

We also were able to welcome a new addition into the Rich family this week! My older sister, Vanessa, had her fifth this week, and oh, what a welcome bundle this little Drew Michael is! The delivery went well, and of course, you would never have known Vanessa had just given birth. She looked as calm and beautiful as ever. How do BOTH of my sisters do that? Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the mom, just the babe, Papa, two out of three older brothers, and Jane admiring him. Vanessa is sure going to have a lot of help with little Drew, no doubt.

I was able to go into Jack's class on Friday and help with the Valentine's party, which I loved. This was my second time there this week, and I have really enjoyed watching him interact with his peers, and feel the rhythm of his school day. He is definitely a social one, and I was very pleased that there was no indication that he was the "new kid". This is him with his friend, Lucy, who's in our neighborhood carpool. (that term isn't totally accurate since we're all within walking distance, but they're two of the four who leave together every day)

Jane came into class with me and enjoyed all the activities and sweets with her friend, Phoenix, who's sister is in the class. He's becoming a more regular playmate for Jane, and we're loving it.

Jeff surprised me and decided to take Friday off to be with us and get some things done. What a fun day! We decided to indulge ourselves and go to Marie Callender's for lunch for their Clam Chowder bread bowls we've been craving since San Francisco. They did not disappoint! The kids loved their meals as well, which means they sat in the booth and we got to enjoy eating and visiting, sans chasing the kids around the restaurant amidst dirty looks. Sometimes it's nice that kids grow up. (this one is from my phone, not great, but cute smiles!)

Not a great picture (she was playing tug-o-war with Jack), but at least it shows how cute Jane is in her red long-underwear P.J.'s. Have you ever seen a more snuggly Valentine? Thanks, Vanessa, for these P.J.'s, I can hardly get her take them off!

That night, Jeff went to help my brother-in-law get things started with the move into their new house (yes, this is the family who JUST had the baby, very eventful week for them!). I was putting the kids down and reading and reading to them until (like always) I started falling asleep. While I was reading out loud. If you think that's bad, you should hear me when I fall asleep singing to them. Jeff assures me it's very clear when I start dozing. I guess that's a compliment?

I finally passed the book off to Jack telling him we'll just have to finish it in the morning. He was totally into this Nate the Great book, he just kept on reading, finishing the last four chapters completely on his own! I knew he could do it, but he just hasn't been too motivated until he was involved in this storyline so much, he couldn't put it down. It was exciting for me to lay by him and see the excitement as he solved the mystery with Nate the Great himself. These are fantastic books, by the way, so whoever reminded me of them, thank you! They are a perfect bridge into reading chapter books! (P.S. This one is also from my phone, I can't remember why I didn't have the camera!)

Our actual Valentine's Day was pretty non-traditional. Jeff went back to help with the move, and I went down to be with my sisters and mom with all the grandkids. It was a quick visit (but always enjoyable) as we needed to get back to our house for another big project.... drumroll please... Jeff has decided to start working on the basement! We've been talking about it since before we got back to the U.S., and I'm still in awe it's actually happening, slowly but surely.

Jeff dropped the kids and I off at the house and was off to go make the first big purchase of lumber and wiring. He kissed me goodbye, apologetically saying, "Happy Valentine's Day" as he sped out the door. I don't know if other women would be unhappy with this kind of Valentine's Day, but can I just say, I was thrilled with how the day was turning out.

Jeff spent his morning helping MY sister's family move into their new house. The kids got to play with their cousins. I got to visit with my sisters, parents, and bond with my new nephew. Then, my husband spent hours working to improve our house so we can have more room for our family. What more could I ask for?

(This picture is actually of Jason (Jeff's twin), NOT Jeff. Can you tell the difference? Heidi was nice enough to lend him for a few hours to help load, load, and unload all this lumber from Lowe's. Can you believe what a lucky girl I am? Who needs flowers, I've got 2x4's!) Anyone else just loving this pose?

Ever since we read the book The Five Love Languages a few months ago, we've learned so much about ourselves and each other. It was clear to me as I read it that my love language was "service". As I've noticed what kinds of things help me feel happy and loved since then, it's even more clear. I was SO happy and feeling like the luckiest wife in the world to have a husband who loved me so much to spend his day serving our extended family, and then our own. Honestly, what could be better?

So, happy Valentine's day to you all! I hope you celebrated in whatever way helps you feel the most loved, be it flowers, dinner, kisses, or just taking out the garbage.


Andrew & Vanessa and kids said...

Great summary of the week, Mindy! I love service too! My sweet Andrew was at the house until 8pm and I can't imagine a better gift - they even put pictures on the walls! Can't wait to help you with YOUR shipment!

Team Hanni said...

What a fun week! Congrats on the 2X4's!!! I LOVE gifts of like sheet rock, paint, or other home improvement items. You have such a great family.

P.S. The heart picture on my blog landed there thanks to a google search. I don't have a clue who the artist is... :)

Gaye Brown said...

It's so fun to read your blog and know that you are in Utah now! I hope to see you soon. I miss you and want to see your kids.
Love you tons.

Mary Jane Ungrangsee said...

Alina couldn't get enough of the picture of Jane eating snow. She wanted to eat some with her, I think. Glad you are all doing so well. We miss you!

Mimi and Papa in Provo said...

Mindy, I'm so glad those long johns I sent up fit Jane so well. WOW, she is just so darn cute. Sorry we didn't get to spend much time with you on Saturday, but I'm glad you came down. It was a little nuts with 11 grandkids in the house but so fun to we together. I'd like to come up sometime this week and see what your plans are for your basement. Exciting! Tell the kids that Mimi and Papa love them. Also, Mindy, do you have a certain week that you do Sunday dinner over at the Hillmans? We'd like to plan something like that with everyone but don't want to interfere with what has already been established. Love, Mom

Jennifer said...

I'm a huge fan of pictures. My favorite was pretty Jane with her felt heart - so cute.

byufish said...

How many times can I say that I LOVE your writing...it's great! AND...where the heck are you sitting in the orchestra?! Sheesh...I have yet to spot you! Take it easy...and keep a good gripp on that man o' yours...sounds like he's perfect for ya (and vice versa). Love watching you "grow up"!