Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Family Flashback

Here is an e-mail from Jared that shows a bit of what our family was up to in August of 2005. It was printed in the Carter Chronicle of that same month. I thought it would be fun to type some of these up in order to keep this blog moving along and then to archive these simple moments of our life.

Hello Family - 2nd Lieutenant Carter here reporting from Iraq. It saddens me to say it but it seems that my good roommate 1st Lieutenant Nall will be going home for back surgery. He has tried to stick it out and come home with the rest of us but he really got to the point where there was no choice. It will be a change not having him here all the time but He really needs to get this done and get on the road to recovery.
Things in the ER are fine. As the Iraqi army becomes more proficient and independent they are seen more here – and US GI’s are seen less and less. We are careful to provide the Iraqi soldiers with the same care as our soldiers get. They understand this and appreciate it. A few days ago one of the Iraqi generals visited our ER and presented the ER staff with a plaque of appreciation. It is encouraging to see the progress the Iraqi army is making in becoming autonomous. They are brave men – our soldiers run patrols relatively secure inside a 22 ton Stryker with a mounted automatic 50 caliber – They run the same patrols with only hand held weapons, sitting in the open beds of Toyota pick-up trucks.
Julie and the children are managing without me. Julie is adjusting to the change of being a semi-single mother of 5. She is doing an outstanding job. Here is a clip from an e-mail I receives from her on July 24th – I apologize to those who have already received it.

I know the kids really miss you and enjoy being with you. The kids little chicken, Darlin, died today. Apparently, the chicken was attacked by a neighbor's cat in the backyard while Mollie (Julie’s Sister) was cleaning their cages. It appeared somewhat hurt but not severely yet must have sustained internal injuries because it died. Sam (Julie’s Brother) arranged a little funeral for it and had our children come. We buried it in my dad's garden in the backyard. We sang Old’ McDonald had a Farm, Vanessa and Brigham said the opening and closing prayers and we had thoughts about the short life of the chicken. Vanessa had taken it the hardest and it’s been an emotional day for her. She was so sad that you were only able to see the chicken one time. But later she asked if we could eat the chicken but we can't because it was way too small. I helped Brigham and Vanessa make rice crispy treats and we had them at the funeral luncheon they were saying - it's rice crispy casserole.

I have shared this little story with a few of my friends here – it has been universally appreciated. I love you all very much - Jared

*Image from here. The "Chicken Whisperer" who keeps a regular column about living in Milton, Georgia.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

June and First Half of July

In Memory of our Van -
Here are some of the cutest and best pictures I could dig up that had our family's van in it, except for Zayah and the cat, I think that is my brother's car, but it was to cute to delete:

Just as I had caught up this blog, my computer crashed again so I had to wait to see when I could get it to come back up thanks to great friends with computer knowledge. It is doing alright for now. I don't have many new photo's on my computer yet because that is still down but I'll catch you up on our lives as best as I can anyway. For the most part, family life is still eventful and we're living life to the fullest!

First half of June '09

Julie's P.O.V:
School's out! It's amazing that we've made it through again. Our summer is filling up with church activities and summer learning, church camps and volunteer work as well. It's going to be fun!
Jared has worked very hard and has done extremely well getting a 4.0 with his semester of prerequisites for dental school. He's planning on doing some condensed classes this summer and then he'll finish up in the fall then next year - just in time to enter dental school in Jan. 2011. He's enjoying his classes although he's very busy and working full time to support all of us. We appreciate this very much!
I (Julie) took a trip to Utah for my brother, Mike's wedding on June 25th. I took Noah with me. The wedding was absolutely beautiful! I loved it! They seem so happy and the SLC temple is so gorgeous! I'm so blessed to have gone to their wedding!
Hopie has done so well in school and really deserves a summer break. She also received straight A's like her dad this year. She is doing excellent!
Brig has really improved in school and received a commendable report on his big 5th grade Science exam. It was his first time ever doing so well. I treated him out for ice cream with his sister Vanessa! He's also achieved his Tenderfoot in scouting.
Nessa has also received straight A's and two commendable's on her big 4th grade exam. It made her day to go out for ice cream with her buddy, Brigham. She also ran for treasurer for 5th grade student council. Even though she didn't win, her poster looked amazing as it was decorated in a beach scene complete with real sand glued on, a painted blue ocean and her bilboards said "Vanessa Carter for Treasurer" and "I would do an awesome job. Vote for me because I'm the money honey!" It has been a source of excitement for her.
Zayah is simply glad to be getting done with Kindergarten. He did a very good job overall this year. And according to his dad who went to the dance festival at school dancing to "Twist and Shout!" He was so cute all decked out in '60's attire.
Gracie finished up Joy School with an activity day at the park. We did crafts, an obstacle course, danced the chicken dance and had lunch together. Those kids in her class are just so cute and such nice friends for her. She really loves them. The other day after we ate lunch, Gracie said the cutest thing to me; "Mommy, I just love food!" I'm so grateful for her sweet attitude.
Noah is growing curiouser and curiouser. He loves to get into all sorts of things and has discovered a foolproof way to get out in to our backyard at any time he likes, yes, right through the doggie door. He has that really light blonde hair now and he smiles so wide all the time. He looks so much like his Carter cousins! So cute!
Jared's P.O.V:
Just a few quick notes about our sub-clan. Julie spent a week in Utah for her brother’s wedding - took Noah and at a hair cut, donated 10 inches of her hair to locks-of-love.
Jared spent two days deep-sea fishing and was promoted to captain in the US Army.
Hopie had a wonderous time at girls camp and has established herself as the premiere
babysitter in the High Country Ward. Brig attended 11 year-old Scout Camp -
earned Tenderfoot and is well into 1st Class. Nessa spent most of her mother’s week long absence at friends houses - a chain of sleep-overs - she is a friend magnet. Zayah and Gracie have been dinosaur crazy lately - lots of dinomagination play. Noah was a great traveler on the plane ride to and from Utah - He was considerate enough to wait until he returned to San Antonio and passengers were deboarding before he projectile vomited - such a thoughtful child.

Second Half of June

Around the second week of June, I was driving four of my children, Nessa, Gracie, Noah, and Zayah to go swimming and then CRASH! I totalled our van. It's been difficult but I'm so grateful that we are okay plus the other driver, as far as I'm aware, was alright as well. Both of our cars were towed from the scene and it was scary but we survived. We've been looking for another van but that's not going to happen as fast as I'd like either. Patience....
It feels at times that this has stressed out our summer but we are hanging in there due to nice friends inviting my kids out to go play and giving my two older girls rides to dance. I have really appreciated it! Plus a BIG thanks to my dear cousin, Jen letting my borrow their van when they came back from their family trip to Ut. So overall, we've been salvaging our summer quite nicely I think although my children might feel differently depending upon the day but school will start again in about 5 weeks and then summer will be a memory.
I found some pictures of our van during camping and different outings that we had to post in memory of it as seen above.

First Half of July

We had a really great time celebrating the 4th of July and Jared had it off for once. We had a BBQ of sausage and chicken legs. Always a yummy choice! We had anticipated trying to go & see some fireworks somewhere but as the day ended we were too tired and stayed home instead.

We were able to celebrate Gracie's 4th and Zayah's 6th birthday together. It was fun and Jared made them a GiGaNto cake! It was way too much for all of us to ever eat so we invited some friends, of course. Plus, who could turn down the happiness recieved by a kite and some candy. It was appreciated in their smiles!

Other than that we've just been busy as families are. I'll do what I can to post more news and photo's as I can. Love ya!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Last Half of May

May 13th
Art Show

Our school district had an Art Show and both Hopie and Nessa's Art was chosen to be displayed in it. We left right as they arrived home from school since Wednesday's are such a busy night for us. We had a great time looking for their school's display and their art projects. Hopie had two on display this year and Nessa had one. They did so well on them and I think they are very interesting. For Nessa, it was her first Art show and she has continuously tried each year. She was very excited! Hopie said she was glad to be in the Art show again this year. She only wanted me to post the picture for her favorite entry.
I was happy for them and I know they both worked so hard.

Hopie with her 3-D pencil art drawing and a close-up.

Vanessa with her art project which was an ancient mask using glue, mesh paper and paint.

May 16th
Share Art

We had a very unique and special experience with Hopie as she was invited to a reception for a city-wide Art show. Unfortunately, we had a technical difficulties with our camera so we lost the photo's we took that day. We're planning another trip to take some more pictures of it. I'll post when we get them. In the city-wide art contest, where only 100 students' art was chosen, Hopie's drawing is permanently displayed in the Family Justice Center downtown. So, I felt this was noteworthy and had mention it. She did a Sharpie and tempera paint abstract. It looked amazing! It is a really cool program called S.h.a.r.e - Students help art reach everyone. You can see some amazing art here and you may find Hopie's too. She's in the 2009 gallery. It has been an incredible experience for her.

May 23rd
In Remembrance

Brig went with his scout troop and put flags on all of the graves of the soldiers in the cemetary. He did a good job and felt good about being involved in this service project.

May 25th
Memorial Day

Jared was actually off for Memorial Day this year. So, he planned a very fun day with the children. First, he took our oldest four children tubing in the river. I stayed home with the littlest ones. They woke up at 6 a.m. to arrive early at the river and avoid the crowds. The plan worked and they avoided the crowds. It was super fun for them! This is what happened to the camera, incidentally, it fell in the river. Jared is already planning to buy another one for his birthday coming up.
Later, we had a barbeque and Jared set up a super water slide in our backyard. Good food and getting super wet - what more could you ask for out of Memorial Day? The kids loved it!

May 26th
Healthy Boy!

Noah had his eighteen month well-child check up today. He is growing so much! He weighed 22 1/2 lbs. and is 31 inches tall now. He has really light blonde hair now and he smiles so wide all the time. He did a really great job getting his shots and was very brave.

May 29th
Dance Festival

Isaiah did a very good job, according to his dad who went, in the dance festival at school today dancing to "Twist and Shout!" He was so cute all decked out in '60's attire.
Nessa's class did their dance to the song called "The Eye of the Tiger" and she wore an orange shirt and black capri's. They had made tiger eyes in class that they wore too.
Brig's class danced to "Beat it" by Michael Jackson. His class wore royal blue colors.

May 31st
Our Favorite Meal

Jared made us a really great Sunday dinner today. He made pasta with fresh tomato, basil, and Parmesan cheese mixed in. The flavor was fresh and appealing. Jared's garden is growing very well. It looks good and has sprouted up.
For dessert, Jared made chocolate lava cakes. He decked them out to look really pretty with fresh strawberries, blackberries and cherries.
The other day after we ate lunch, Gracie said the cutest thing to me; "Mommy, I just love food!" Funny thing is I think we all do and it is showing itself through this blog.


May has been wonderfully busy and the school children are anxious for summer break. They've worked so hard this year and deserve it! I can't wait to start summer activities with them and summer reading too! So much to look forward to!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

First half of May

May 1st

I was able to find a babysitter for Noah and Gracie so that I could go on the Kindergarten field trip with Zayah. It turned out to be a very warm sunny day. The field trip had been rescheduled because the first time it was scheduled in April it had been rained out. I had a group of three boys with one being Zayah. I had a really good time as I took the boys around the Zoo. I made sure to go to all of the exhibits that I thought boys would love like the jaguar, leopards, monkeys, lions, etc.. One of the boys didn't like the snakes and so we bypassed that one. We actually heard the lion roar, saw the elephant do a little show, and Zayah noticed a new family of baby ducks.:) This was the first time I've heard the lion or see the elephant actually working with his trainer picking up tires, a tree trunk, laying down etc... I learned the elephant at our Zoo is Asian so he has a one lobe that is like fingertip at the end of his trunk. African elephants have more than one lobe that acts as fingers. Elephants don't drink through their trunk instead they use it to draw the liquid into their mouths. They eat and drink a lot during one day like about 300 pounds of forage a day, and up to 50 gallons of water. Learning this, as the Zookeepers were telling us, was fascinating to me but we had to move on because the boys are only five and their attention span was weakening. Cool, anyway. We ate lunch together in front of the Africa Live exhibit and it was fun! Seeing Zayah's bright smile all day was worth the trip!

Mother's Day, May 10th

My day started out fabulously because my children woke up early and made a yummy breakfast of my favorites: waffles, sausage, scrambled eggs, yogurt, chocolate milk and a smoothie! Jared had to work and so I know that he wasn't able to help them actually cook it. He did help then by getting what they needed at the store the day before. I was quite surprised and it tasted so good.
They each presented me with cute homemade cards and coupons for me to redeem to do little chores and things around the house. I loved them and I'm posting a picture of a group of all the cards. They wrote wonderful stories and poems on them for me! I've definitely been filled with love and I'm super grateful for having such tenderhearted, wonderfully talented children!
Later that evening, Jared came through in a big way to surprise me for Mother's Day. He made homemade hamburgers, fries and grilled corn on the cob. It was the most mouth-watering meal and delicious! There was no way I could finish eating all of it. We had so much fun having a family dinner that I couldn't have dreamt of a nicer gift than that! Very enjoyable!

Jared also gave me a big beautiful bunch of flowers. So pretty!

Nessa and Hopie helped a lot with Noah today as well so that I could have a little break. It didn't go over as well for Noah because he just wanted his Mommy which made for a cute photo! Thanks to all of my children and my dear husband for all the wonderful things you did for me today. I felt loved. It was a Happy Mother's Day for me!

I hope it was a special day for all women everywhere!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April '09 Finally catching Up!

Jared is finishing up his Spring semester in school and enjoying it tremendously. He actually helped me write this post as well.
Julie is busy writing poetry and scrapbooking fun pages and layouts lately. She was successful teaching the activity day girls in her ward about scrapbooking. They made a layout for their mom's for Mother's Day. It turned out fun and memorable for each of the girls.
Hopie continues to do brilliant things in the 7th grade. She recently completed a fabulous report on Cyclopes. Her parents are pleased to report that she is of such a character, that their fears about raising teenagers remain unrealized. She is a sweetheart and a pleasure to have in our home. She's also discovered that she has a flair for art and photography. She is one of the one hundred featured artists in the upcoming middle school art show known as SHARE. We'll post more about it in May when we attend the reception and the unveiling of her art project she entered!
Brig is eager to get started in 6th grade next year. He met with the band director who spent several minutes with him fitting him for different instruments. The director felt, and Cowboy agrees, that the trombone will be an excellent fit! He is pictured here with his Science Project on planets. He used glow-in-the-dark paint and now enjoys it hanging in his room. As an 11 year old scout he is excited to be attending Merit Badge University at a local university in the coming week.
Nessa recently performed in the ward talent show doing a dance routine with several of the girls that she attends activity days with. It was a delightful experience for both the dancers and observers. Nessa did a great job - Really cute! She has completed several projects in school, one being a replica of the Alamo complete with cleverly made toothpick people, and has been noticed for her hard work. Her Alamo project stayed on display at the school library for an entire month. Zayah made a comment to her about how his class saw it. It really turned out great!
Zayah is doing a fabulous job in Kindergarten. He clearly favors the use of his left hand and is the first of our children to have legible handwriting at the age of 5. Lefties Unite !!!!!!!!
Gracie adores her trips to the library with her mother. Each evening she haggles with Daddy about how many books they will read before bed. She usually starts with three books. When he is lucky, he can talk her down to two.
Noah, in contrast to his older brothers (at the same age), is quite fearless where climbing is concerned. Top of the piano - fall - counter top - fall - table top - fall - he remains undaunted and unharmed. He's little Mr. Boogie pants and begins bobbing up and down any time he encounters a catchy tune - If there is a beat, he'll dance. His three sisters think he's the cheese.

March '09 - Highlights of Spring Break

We have been busy, as usual! Our children enjoyed Spring Break, March 9-13, which was earlier this year. We had so much fun and Jared was able to have a couple of days off to spend time with all of us.
First, he built our boys a triple bunk bed and it really it quite ingenious as it can store cans of food at the bottom as well. Cowboy & Hopie helped make it. Our boys are loving it!
Second, We enjoyed a family hike at Enchanted Rock!
It was a gorgeous day and not too hot at all. It was rainy the next few days of the week but we still enjoyed a day at the Zoo! The butterfly exhibit here is so amazing - the butterfly's will land on you if you hold real still. You can barely feel them at all! We just love going to the Zoo! Last but not least, we enjoyed a picnic at the park of hot dogs, grapes and chips. We had the best Spring Break ever!

Other March highlights include:
Hopie planned a birthday party for her dog, Candy, who is three years old. I'm amazed that she's lasted so long in our crazy life. Hopie feels Candy is a Princess and is still taking pretty good care of her which was always part of the deal in getting a dog anyway. The party turned out really fun and I think the dog was spoiled with bones and doggie treats. I bet she loved it!
Cowboy just received his Scout award and is doing his best in school.
Nessa is very clever at writing and her teachers have noticed. She has been working very hard on a report about Rome and has taught me things that I didn't know about that civilization which turned out very well. I think she is a hard working student at school and it shows in her grades!
Zayah continues to make me laugh every day and he is learning to write sentences in school. His favorite subject to write about is me, as his mom - Imagine sure helps me remember about what I most likely thought about my mom in Kindergarten as well.
Gracie loves to have books read to her and will listen to anyone who will read to her. She loves Joy school and her friends. She misses her Daddy when he is away and often stays up until he comes home from work each night. It's so cute to see her give him the biggest hug she can when he gets home.
Noah is walking!! I am absolutely thrilled with all that he can do now! It is a "Watch out world - Here I come" time for him right now! I found an old picture of his cousin, Winsor when he was about the same age as Noah is right now and I was amazed at the resemblance which I pointed out to Jared and he thought so too. It was really incredible to see! If I can figure out how to work the scanner, I'll scan the picture in along with one of Noah and you can see for yourself. I'll most likely put in a current post. I'll let you know when I do.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

February '09

Kindergarten Fairy Tale Ball
Isaiah's class dressed up as their favorite fairy tale characters and had a Fairy Tale Ball. Isaiah wanted to be Prince Charming and I think he accomplished just that. Jared was able to attend and he said that Isaiah was a perfect gentleman at the ball and was so cute! Too bad, I wasn't able to talk him into being Mr. Darcy.

Oh, but Mom, I don't know who Mr. Darcy is?

I'll admit I'm completely biased, but isn't he charming, though?

Our Butterfly Girl's Birthday

Nessa turned 10! She's in double digits now! She was very excited about that, I think.
Jared made her favorite dinner and cake. I made her birthday card and made sure to buy her presents. Incidentally, she loved her book and 3-D puzzle! Her birthday party was a wonderful time for all! She shares so much happiness with us! I love to see her smile! :)

Valentine's Day

Jared made the morning something special with his gourmet breakfast. He made crepes filled with raspberries, cream and chocolate, of course! It was amazingly yummy! Not only did he make breakfast in bed for me but for all three of our girls as well! They were so surprised and never saw that coming! Each girl received a valentine card, (which had been signed by all the boys in the family), flower arrangement and a stuffed animal as well. So darling!
Brigham and Isaiah helped with the preparations too. What a loving memory for all of us!

The Diary of a Teenage Birthday

Wow, Can you believe that? Hopie is 13! A teen! It's Amazing! We are so happy to have her in our family and we love her! She is so helpful and kind to her brothers and sisters.
I think it's the cutest when Gracie and Noah give her hugs! My heart melts a million times over!
Hopie is becoming a beautiful young lady, a talented artist and photographer as well! I'm putting up a photo that she took of Brigham that I think you'll see that she has an incredible eye for taking photo's!

A Family Project: Laying Tile

I've been feeling a loss of what to put up on this blog since Jan. I'm sorry if you've given up on following it and I understand. It's meant to share a little bit about our family. So, I'll see if I can continue to do just that. How about some stories, projects, pictures, facts, etc... Hopefully, it will be enjoyable for all.

Laying Tile:

I have meant to post about Jared's idea for laying tile in our main living area for some time now. We did get this finished in time for Nathan's arrival at Thanksgiving time but I never posted the photo's about the process it took for all of us to pitch and help getting this tiling project done.
In actuality, it was a challenging ordeal to tile our floor but we lived through it! I've been getting used to the tile again and it is looking nice still. In the end, I can say now I think I'm enjoying the result.
But tiling is no joke! It is hard work. I kept telling my children when they became tired of helping: "This is why you need to stay in school, go to college and graduate, so that you don't have to do this type of a job all the time." (Unless you want to, I suppose.) Overall, my children were all amazing helpers and even better than me. Do I want to admit that? ;)
Now, I do realize that some people may really love this type of job. I have nothing against them at all - more power and brute strength to you. For me, I really struggled sticking with it and I found myself frustrated. The not-so-nice truth about myself is that I was giving in to periods of laziness. I found out with tiling, you can't do that. You have to stick with it until it's over or it just becomes a lot harder. Digging and scraping up a mistake was not so great.
Jared also had an amazing idea to create a mosaic. It's a true north, celestial theme. He came up with the design and all of us in one way or another contributed in finishing it. It's funny because I found it interesting to figure out how the pieces would fit together to create the mosaic. Quite like doing a puzzle.
Each year for New Year's Eve my mom would put a puzzle together & if we wanted to stay up and watch the big crystal ball drop in NYC, which I always wanted to, then we could help her with the puzzle. We put together some big and interesting ones over the years as I grew up.
The amazing thing about this project is that we worked together as a family and we finished it in time for Nathan! Now, that's a great feeling. Accomplishment!

Hope you like the photo's of the final mosaic from three different angles and one close-up: