Monday, December 31, 2007

snow caves

We've had a couple of major storms blow through here lately and Kenyon and the boys went out and dug some deep interconnecting snow caves in the mountain of snow that the plows push into our front yard.

Sauce in his cave

Digging, digging, digging

Hunter in his cave

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

From Utah to Montana we went

Before Christmas, we drove up to Bozeman, Montana for a couple of days to see my brother and his family who were visiting my sister-in-law's family. After driving 12 hours through a snow storm (should have been a 6 hour drive), we arrived at the Leep's and barely left the house for the three days we were there. The Leep family is always so gracious and hospitable to us and we had a great visit.

Cousin Eva is only 7 weeks older than Squirt, so it was fun getting to know her better. Auntie Laurie is so funny!

Eva liked to take toys from Squirt and we all liked to watch her assertiveness and his passiveness!

Daddy with Hunter and Sauce Rufus with Mommy

Ski season is here!

We all got out for our first real ski day together last week. Here are some highlights. We hope we get some visitors this winter to join us on the mountain!








The greatest gift

After we returned from Montana, we had a nice Christmas Eve at church and with friends and then a quiet Christmas morning at home. Our friends, the Zwahlens, invited us over for Christmas dinner at their house with two other families. We topped off a yummy turkey dinner with a birthday cake for Jesus with candles for all the little ones to blow out.

Before presents, we always start by reading the Christmas story out of the Bible. This year, they were so distracted that we had a quiz afterward!!!

Cameron on his new bike

Lucas happy as always!

Coonskin caps from Hunca and Pop Pop

Brendan with his new Knex set

Kenyon with his favorite game

Brendan and Cameron got bike riding gloves like Dad's

A game of Flippin Frogs anyone?




Here is Andrew opening his very own Leapster and Brendan telling him how he "earned it"

Here are all the kids singing Happy Birthday to Jesus

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How I do it

I can't count how many times people have said two things to me: "You sure have your hands full!" and "I don't know how you do it!" I thought I would explain some thoughts about how I do it (and what I just don't do!).

First of all, by the time Rufus was born, I learned the hard lesson that life is not all about me. A servant's heart is my key to happily being the mother of four little boys, staying home with them, teaching them and still liking them. Whenever I get focused on things or time I don't have - or what I have to do, life gets pretty miserable. Of course, this attitude can't be manufactured and maintained by me alone - it has to come from God and I am thankful that when I ask, He provides just what I need.

Secondly, four children seems like a lot to many people, but remember that they arrived into our family one at a time, and we live one day at a time. So luckily, it wasn't that we woke up one morning to a six year old, a four year old, a two year old and a newborn. I would likely not have the perspective I have now. We've grown with our children and as anyone does in any situation in life, we do what each day requires. I have friends who hesitate to ask me to babysit because they think, "you already have four of your own," but I think four is quite manageable because it is what I am used to.

I have always been a big supporter of having a schedule in our home to make our lives more predictable. Whether it's with little babies, or my first grader, when we know what a normal day looks like, it sure goes a lot more smoothly. Also, the schedule is always flexible so that if something comes up, we can adapt. Some things that are staples in our schedule right now are: laundry every weekend, Squirt's feeding and sleeping times, Hunter's school times, and rest and reading time for everyone in the afternoon. - not to mention bed time.

Homeschooling is a fairly new experience for me and I have realized that "something's gotta give." That something is having a clean house. I like to be tidy and keep up with it as much as we can, but I had a revelation one day that in about 15 years I will have all the time in the world to make sure my kitchen floor stays shiny. But I know that when I do have that time, I will sorely miss the little sweaty footprints that are so obvious in the sunlight. I made a decision that beyond the URGENT (pee outside the toilet bowl is big on my list), I would rather sit down and read a book to my boys, nurse my baby or play a heated game of war with my five year old, than worry about the dusty mantel above the fireplace.

The last thought I have to share right now is how important it is to seek out wisdom and encouragement from others. I have several friends that are in the same "season of life" that I am and when I reach a new challenge or feel discouraged, I regularly go to these women. One family in particular has twice the number of children that we have and on the outside, their children look perfect and problem free. Luckily, I am close enough to this family to know that they struggle just like we do, but they work on each issue as it comes up. Luckily, my friends share their successes and failures with me, and I have realized that most of the things that frustrate me with parenting are truly just a "season."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My great white hunter

Kenyon just left this morning to go try to fill his mountain lion tag and I realized that I never posted any pictures from his hunting trips this year. Our great white hunter has done a great job giving us a year's plus worth of meat (shown on an earlier post!). He took Brendan and Cameron on their first antelope hunt and they came home with stories of how they "took the lead doe". My great husband is an awesome dad and is paving the way for our boys to grow up to be manly men!

Here is the trophy elk that was the first hunt of the year

This is his trophy deer

Cameron and Brendan with their antelope on Thanksgiving weekend

Here are Cameron, Brendan and Kenyon with their "lead doe"

Our cute baby

Here are some updated pictures for those of you far away of our sweet not-so-little anymore Lucas. He will be six months old on Christmas and he is loud and smiley. I guess you have to be loud when you are the youngest of four. He loves when his brothers talk to him and laughs out loud when he is tickled.

Here is Lucas with his friend Sawyer Anderson

Lucas loves his saucer





He's all sleepy on daddy's chest on the couch

He had his first bite of cereal this week

Let it snow (finally)!!!

We're off to a slow start with snow this year, and when you live in a ski town, that is not a good thing. We finally got a big storm last weekend that left us with 33 inches of precious white stuff. Kenyon took the boys sledding and they made snowmen in the front yard while he was snowblowing the driveway. Here are some cute shots.


At the sledding hill

The snowmen and their makers

How fast can they go?

Andrew buried to his chest in snow

This was when Cameron had his friend Ben over to play and they went outside to play for about an hour

Ben and Cameron

Monday, December 3, 2007

Family Ways... and some tears

This is a cute video of the boys at the counter. Part of our homeschooling includes a book called "Our 24 Family Ways". It has us memorize 24 principles to apply in our family and scripture to go along with it. Aside from Andrew's fit, this is a cute review of the first three family ways!


7 Boys... and counting


We spent Thanksgiving with our good friends Scott and Erika Balyo in Cheyenne, WY. They have three little boys Isaac, Ian and Colby - all very similar ages to our three older boys. Also, they are expecting their fourth boy in late January! It's a boy circus when we get together.
Here are Andrew, Brendan, Isaac, Cameron holding Lucas, Colby. Ian is in front.

Our friends Herb and Cara Harjes came up from Denver and although they don't have any kids of their own yet, they dove right in to the romper room and all the boys enjoyed them so much!

Here's Herb doing a puzzle with Ian


Here's Cara reading a bedtime story to 6 of the 7 boys (Andrew got up when he saw me taking a picture and Lucas was sleeping)

Scott and Erika live way out in the country and Kenyon was excited to take a walk and find some deer out in the trees. Little did he know we were going to send four boys along with him! The landscape is beautiful!


Saturday, December 1, 2007

We have a reader!!!

Brendan reached a major milestone in his reading and when he reached his goal, he not only got his long-awaited rollerblades, but we made a cake to celebrate! It was also a victory for me, as I never thought I'd be a homeschooling mom, and when I started it, it sent me to tears and I hated it. But now I can say that we've had a successful year so far and I think I'm starting to like it!!! My friends know that I am not a great cook (more like, I CAN cook, but just don't love to), well, I'm even less of a baker. This is why I buy all the birthday cakes in our family. It was late in the evening and Kenyon was still at one of his MBA classes when I decided to do this cake. After it came out of the oven, I didn't take the time to let it cool (I was wanting them in bed pretty badly!), and I tried to dump it out of the pan to a cooling rack (can't believe I even OWN a cooling rack), and yes - it came out into a million pieces! I stuffed it all back into the pan, slapped a bunch of frosting on it! I called it our "Messy Cake" and we ate it from the pan with spoons. By the way, the boys weren't nuts about the pink frosting (we're a very BOY family), but it was all I had on hand. Here are the pictures!


Mixing the batter with their aprons from Hunca Munca



Andrew licking the spatula



Eating the batter



The messy result




These are Brendan's glasses that he bought with his "Sweeney Bucks" (fake money system we have in our house). He says he looks like Arthur in them!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Elfin' good time

I have a Thanksgiving update to do, but I just got this link and wanted to share it - HILARIOUS!!!

http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=9592855507

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Anyone have any meat recipes???????

Well, I thought I'd start with a request to all those good cooks out there who have volumes and volumes of treasured recipes... send your meat recipes my way because this is what my EXTRA freezer looks like right now!!! We received the elk and deer meat back from the processer and now we're set to feed an army!!! Are you done laughing? ...because we still have an antelope to hunt, kill and process too!!! I have "Elkburger Helper" on the stove as I type!

Halloween has come and gone and although it is by far my least favorite holiday, the boys had fun trick or treating on Main Street here in Park City where the stores all give out candy.

Here they are in the yard before we left. So fun!


Here we are on Main Street. Now that's a shooter!!!

We're all loaded up to go home and get loaded up on CANDY. You can't see it, but Andrew was already digging in.

Lucas is growing like crazy. I know, I say that every time I post. I tell all my friends that it is not fair that our last baby has to grow so quickly. I LOVE the baby stage. It's hard to describe or put into appropriate words, but I took a picture of him nursing one morning this week and, well... how could you not love this????

He isn't rolling over from back to front yet, but he's very close. When Hunca Munca and Pop Pop came out this summer, they brought a treasure for Lucas from when Kenyon was a baby. It is a cute stuffed yellow sunshine that hangs on the wall and you can wind up to play music. I hung it next to his changing table and now when he gets changed, he grabs it right from the wall.


Here are a couple of other cute shots from this week:





Also, Kenyon has a week-long meeting in Pittsburgh this week, so he flew in early over the weekend to see his family, who lives only two hours away. Andrew was so upset when he heard that Daddy was going to get to see Hunca and Pop Pop and he could not go with! So, he had a plan.





But when that didn't work, he was not happy (understatement). This video is for my friend Karen Zeigler who, after reading my last post said, "Life always looks so perfect at the Sweeney house." Karen, picture this - about eight times a day.

Cameron chose to play basketball this season and is having a blast on his team "The Kings". He is a super passer this year and assists more than he shoots. Here he is helping his team score.

About Me

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Messy and wonderful perfectly describes my life as a wife and mom of five. I'm passionate about advocating for orphans by telling their stories and encouraging adoption and orphan care. My schedule is messy and wonderful as I am charged with four sons and one daughter. We love living in our little mountain ski town. We do a little camping, a little skiing, a little hunting, and a lot of laughing and loving. Life is dirty and loud around here but we wouldn't want it any other way. Okay, maybe a little less dirty!

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