When you don't take the time to journal or blog on a regular basis, it is so discouraging to sit down and look through all of the pictures and realize how much you've really missed reporting on! This blog, is a quick rewind of the past 6 months so that I can be current with what's going on! We have been having so much fun lately. Kellen is 5 months and growing like a weed. I've already discovered so many clothes that he's not even going to get to wear because he just had a huge growth spurt! He loves to be in the middle of the action so he can keep an eye on everyone. The older boys make him sooo happy! It will be so much fun when he can race around with the rest of them. They just adore him and are so good to help me out when I need their extra hands to take a diaper to the garbage or grab a blanket or binki.
Grant has also grown so much and has a birthday coming up this month. The clothes that he started out in for kindergarten look tiny now compared to the pants that he's wearing. I don't know what we've been feeding these boys this year, but whatever it is, it might have been genetically modified with growth enhancers! They all seem to be growing so tall. Grant just started USA wrestling in Greybull and it's all he can talk about. He loves practicing on the whole family, so when I'm making dinner I have to watch out for his killer takedowns! I tell Grant that he makes being a mom so easy because he's so obedient and kind. I never have to worry about how he will act for his teachers at school or church or how he will treat other kids. He's doing great in kindergarten and it has been fun to watch him learn to read and write this year. It is amazing how much he has changed over the last 6 months in school.
Grandpa brought HoneyBear out to our house for Grant one day after school this Fall
Kyler started preschool at CRC and loves it. This has made it even more evident that he has a strong mind of his own. He doesn't outright disobey the teachers or even bother any other kids, but when he doesn't care to join in an activity (usually the dancing and singing), he just plain will not participate. They try to motivate him and give lots of encouragement, but if it's not his idea, it's not going to happen. (period) Lately, I've decided it's not all that bad. In our day and age, sometimes it's a good thing to have independent thought and actions apart from the group. Last week was pirate themed and they gave all the kids a sticker tatoo. Kyler didn't want to be a pirate and so therefore, didn't participate in any pirate songs or games. When we got out to the car he told me that they wanted him to get a tatoo and he knew that he shouldn't get one, so he didn't think he should be a pirate! It was a good lesson for me. With Grant we have always had the idea that conforming to everything that is asked of us is the best, but I'm starting to realize that we also want our children to think and act for themselves given the principles we've taught them, even at a young age. Kyler is pretty fun-loving and a big helper during the day when Grant goes to kindergarten. He really enjoys laundry, so that's a good balance for me, since I usually dread doing the laundry. I would say that he is the one who also entertains Kellen the most. He could spend all day trying to make Kellen happy.
Kyler's 1st day of CRC Preschool!
Taft is quite a character. He loves to wear his boots and hat around the house and spends hours with a horse and rider. For Christmas he got several sets of horses with little guys to ride them and he just loves them. He also loves books and will sit and look at books for a long time too. He's very self entertained and content. He is a trickster and mischevious! You can always tell by the look on his face that he has something up his sleeve, but you're never sure what he's got on his mind. Unfortunately, he still loves his binki at 2 years old, but his parents dont have the heart to take it away. He gets absolutely "getty" when he sees it and runs to his bed at night so he can have it. He is talking a lot now and loves to sing and dance. He's still a "daddy's boy" and hates it when Dalin has to go anywhere. He is great at copying anything his older brothers do, so it is a good reminder for them to be doing what they're suppose to! He's kind of a brute and doesn't like to be pushed around, so his older brothers respect him and his space!
Dalin and I are usually kept busy with the four boys, but we did just go on a trip to Dallas, Texas for a meeting with TCT. It was a nice little break for us (and Kellen) while the three boys stayed with Grandma and Grandpa Winters. We ate at a lot of really nice places and visited Dalin's Aunt Karen and Uncle Mike and their family. Little getaways like that always make you appreciate your everyday life so much more though and I was dying to get back to the wonderful and wild home of ours! :)
Family Elk Hunting Excursion in January above Meeteetsee. Everybody brought their cap guns just in case we saw something. Even though we didn't see any elk, there were a lot of loud caps going off!
We took these photos at a couple weeks old of Kellen and I'm just getting them posted. He was so alert when we started and as the pictures continued, he just couldn't stay awake! It's so funny to look at some of these because we were trying hard to keep him awake, but he just couldn't do it! We used the first photo in our Christmas cards this year and there were lots and lots more, but this is just a sample of some of my favorites and some of the funny ones too! Kellen is 4 months old now and trying so hard to roll over. He giggles at everything and loves to watch everything that is going on around him. He spends most of his time trying to see how many fingers he can possible fit into his mouth at once and get them in there before Taft comes by on patrol to make sure Kellen is still sucking his binky and loving it! In Taft's opinion, he should be sucking on it all day, every day! The boys are taking great care of Kellen and he doesn't have to work very hard to be entertained.
In November we had a very exciting couple of weeks in the Winters' Family! All of Dalin's siblings were together and all of their families. We were able to get a family photo with everyone, which hasn't happened in their family since Dalin went on his mission in 2000. There are 19 grandchildren all under the age of 9 and two more baby girls due this month! That is so exciting for our family because only 4 of the 19 grandkids are girls! On the other hand, my boys couldn't be happier with so many little boy cousins to get into mischief with. It is awesome to be surrounded by good family, full of lots of cousins to grow up with!
Dalin's parents, Brent and Judy, and their 6 kids - Maren, Kason, Janna, Dalin, Manda, and Karah
While everyone was here, we blessed Kellen at church and the same day our nephew, Kody, was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! We were proud of him and happy to share the day with family. The next week, Dalin's oldest brother Kason and his wife Kim were sealed in the Billings Montana Temple to their newest son, Luca. We exchanged Christmas gifts early and Judy made all of the grandkids new pajamas! I wish I had pictures of everyone that night, but I'll have to get them and post them later. I'm so grateful for this great family that I married into! We have had incredible blessings in 2010.
In August I had taken all of the boys pictures and I loved how they turned out. I have all of them posted and the group photo is the one I used as my header on this blog. After taking those pictures, I hung up photos of the three older boys on the wall in our living room and wondered what I would do when Kellen was born because his photo wouldn't match. After talking to a neighbor about it, we decided it would be easy to convert Taft's shirt into a onesie for Kellen and I could go take his picture in the same spot. Here is the best attempt at getting a matching picture to go along with his brothers. We unfortunately couldn't take a brothers' picture with matching shirts because there were really only 3 matching shirts!
I have lots more newborn pictures that I have taken of Kellen and I will post this week, but here are his little toes. This picture was stored with the one above, so it's getting put on now, but it kind of goes with the other photo shoot that we took later on. Anyway, I'm excited to get them all on here and show you how much Kellen is already growing !
Kellen was welcomed home by lots of friends and family. Although I said in my last post that he has been held less by me, you will see that there have been several other willing arms! We have been so overcome with gratitude for those of you who have helped us soooo much. We had meals brought in for a week and a half and they were all so delicious. It was just nice to have people stop by and visit since we didn't go out for a couple of weeks. I had lots of help with the older boys too. Lots of friends and family took them so I could get some things done at home or get a nap! It was a good reminder for me of how important it is to serve others and look for their needs. I am still amazed at the things that were rendered on our behalf.
Little Kellen is happy as can be with his fingers to suck on. In the ultrasound pictures he was sucking on his fingers and he still does every now and then. I'm not sure whether I want a finger/thumb sucker or not. None of my other boys have even attempted this.
Debbie and my dad came to see Kellen right away and took the boys for me a couple of times. They are always looking out for us and the boys love them so much. Kyler even got to go to town with Grandpa and pick a new red bouncy ball and a pack of new superhero underwear!! Every little boy's dream!
My sister-in-law Julie was headed to Powell to ref a volleyball game and came over to Burlington to see her new nephew. She came bearing lots of gifts for everyone and it was so fun to see her for a little bit.
Grandma and Grandpa Winters stopped by to see their 19th grandchild and 16th grandson. Luckily they know how to handle all those little boys and will have lots for them to do on the farm when they're older.
When others weren't here, Grant made sure to get his turn holding his littlest brother.
My friend Alicia came from Rexburg with her kids to visit a couple weeks after Kellen was born and we got to spend an afternoon together. The kids had a fun time playing and we wish they still lived here.
My brother Zach and my neice Isabel came to see Kellen and while they were here Isabel entertained the whole tribe. They broke out all of the costumes and had a blast playing with her.
Kellen was born on September 22! He weighed 7lbs 4ozs and was 19 1/4 inches long. As you can see in the pictures, he has lots of dark brown hair and looks a lot like his big brother Grant. Delivery went really well and Kellen was completely healthy. Here he is shortly after arriving . . .
Here's Dalin holding him for the first time. He's been getting lots of opportunities since we got home to spend quality time changing diapers, burping, and just holding him. With three big brothers, Kellen, probably doesn't get quite the same amount of holding from me, but maybe more Daddy time.
He is just perfect. The first night in the hospital he slept so soundly and Dalin and I thought we had it made, but as soon as we came home and ever since then, we haven't been able to figure him out. He just wants to be awake all the time so he doesn't miss out on all the fun!
Nana (my mom) came to visit us in the hospital and meet the newest grandchild.
On the day I was ready to come home with Kellen, Dalin went to get the boys so they could all come pick us up in the hospital. Grant had a soccer game that evening in Otto and then they came to meet their new brother. They were all so excited and just sat on the couch holding him as long as they could. Kyler said, "Can we keep this baby forever and not bring him back tomorrow?" He's been saying that every day since then and wants to be certain that Kellen will be his FOREVER. Grant was just pleased that he had brown hair and looked so much like him when he was a baby. For some reason Grant had gotten worried that the baby would have red hair and wouldn't look like the rest of us and that he would have hair all over! It was very concerning for him and in fact, he said that if the baby had red hair he wanted us to keep him in the hospital until it changed. he he he. He's my worry wart and he was truely worried about this. It was such a stress off his shoulders for him to learn that Kellen looked just like the rest of them! He can't stop saying how cute he is and holds him everyday. Taft also adores Kellen and is obsessed with helping him with his binki. Taft still has a binki and loves it so much. I think he knows the value of it to him so he just wants Kellen to be as happy as he is. This is so helpful when Kellen is fussy because Taft will walk over and find his binki and put it in for him so gently, but it's not so helpful when he notices it has slipped out and Kellen is in a deep sleep and he tries and tries to shove it in until he wakes the baby! It has been a pure joy to watch them each day and to see how easily they've transitioned into having another brother. Kellen's middle name, Beke, means "peace" in hungarian and that is what he has brought to this home. Being a mother is definitely like nothing else in the world and I count it as the greatest blessing to be able to have had four healthy boys to raise and love. They teach me more about this life and about myself than I could have ever learned on my own. I won't lie, it is also the greatest challenge and exhausting, to say the least, but I can't think of anything else that I would rather be doing right now in my life.
I have had some requests for the "before" photos and this was only days before our baby was born. I am starting at this point in my blogging and working towards the present time! Life has been a little busy with four boys, but I'm starting to feel on top of it all again and can take a little time to update my blog.
Dalin has tried hard with each pregnancy to gain some sympathy weight, but it has never really worked too well with his amazing metabolism. He's just trying hard in this photo to make it look like it!