Friday, December 20, 2013

2013 Summers Christmas Letter


This year has been full of adventures for The Summers!! We have done some serious travelling from northern Idaho, to Yellowstone National Park right onto Blackfoot Hills to explore Mt. Rushmore!! After 12 days on vacation the boys were excited to sleep in the comfort of their beds and be back to our steaming hot Texas!!  In addition to our travelling adventures we also welcomed our latest addition, Lincoln Xavier, at the end of September.  Our little bundle of joy has only magnified the excitement and joy in our home!!

Lincoln:  Now almost 3 months is a delight in our home!! He started very early to hold his head and to recognize faces, especially Sammy’s, who likes to get right in front of Lincoln’s face!! We all love his cooing and his smile. He is a happy and healthy little man and we are so thrilled to finally have him here with us!!

Carter: (2) Our little Car-Car who was once so quiet and shy has now turned into a chatter box and repeats everything his brothers say. Carter quickly learned how to love trains, trucks, and helicopters (he’s got very good teachers). Everywhere we go he is sure to bring a little matchbox car or hot wheels, which usually end up in Mama’s bag adding a few more pounds to it. Carter is Brad’s shadow, always wants to help, and he is Brad’s running buddy.

Sammy: (5) is having a great time being a big little brother. His disappointment of Mama having another boy in her tummy soon changed when Lincoln arrived. Our Sammy is a very adventurous boy, this year he cut his forehead again right above last year’s scar (luckily no stitches needed).  He also enjoys preschool very much, loves writing and counting!! We recently discovered that Sammy is a stellar soccer player; he is awesome on defense and is crazy fast!! Sammy loves any type of construction vehicle, especially cranes and excavators. Recently he made up his mind that he wants to be a construction worker.

Bradley: (7) is now in 2nd grade and is doing great in the dual language program. His teachers are so impressed with his Spanish accent.  He absolutely loves math and science; he has a great fascination with reptiles, tornadoes, and video games. Bradley is in his second year of piano and is not afraid to put on a show. Our little Chancho loves board games; he is a great checkers player and is starting to learn how to play chess. We love his curiosity, and his love for learning. This summer he played coach-pitch and he hit two balls out of the field. That boy has an good arm on him!!

Maggie: has been busy running the boys from soccer practice to piano lessons. She is of course busy with Baby Lincoln, but loving this stage in her life. Maggie loves being around the boys and loves being at home. This year she got released from her Stake calling and was put to work in nursery. She loves every minute of her new calling!! Now that she is no longer in the PTA board she has had more time to organize her home and plan more fun activities with the boys. This spring she managed (with the help of the boys) to get in decent size garden despite her morning sickness.

Brad: has been busy working at the fire department but has taken some time off to be with family. This year he bought an old motorhome so we could go up to Idaho for a Summers’ Family Reunion. This motorhome will now be added on to the top of his fix it list, he has great plans of gutting it out and completely redoing the inside!! While Maggie recovered from the baby’s delivery Brad laminated the boys’ bedroom floor and tiled the mud room.  Upon his return to work from paternity leave Brad was changed stations, he is now closer to home and working with a new fun crew. 

We love this time of the year when can take a moment to reconnect with you’ll. We hope this Christmas season you are filled with the Spirit of Christ and that it may continue to guide you through the coming year.                                   
Our First Harvest!!

Yellow Stone National Park!!

Our Home for 12 day!!

Waiting on Old Faithful!!

Beautiful Grand Tetons!!

Mount Rushmore

Baby Lincoln 2 weeks old

Thursday, April 18, 2013

It's Great to Be Eight

These words have never rang more true to me than in the last few weeks. Maybe its because I have head butting with my oldest who is about turn 8 in less than a year. Turning 8 is a big deal in our faith. We believe and after my trials with Bradley in the last few months I know that 8 is the age of accountability (which means it is the time for him to make a very important decision in his life of whether or not he want to be baptized in our faith).  Probably about 3 years I had strong impression that I had to start prepping my little boy to understand some of the basic principles of our gospel. I was determined that he was going to be a full on walking gospel dictionary by the time he reached 8. I also made the goal to read the scriptures with my children every night (which we did for a while). The truth is that after he started school things changed, scheduled were tighter, homework was introduced, sports were brought about, piano was added, and it was just not as easy to teach him all I wanted to with our limited time.  I want him and his brothers to be well rounded, and I highly value their spiritual side of their development but I also think that we can not ignore the other aspects of their growth. So here we are 7 turning 8, and suddenly my sweet little boy has changed.  We have had several incidents where he has completely disregarded my requests (chores especially)  or has a bad attitude about doing just about anything (turning Wii off). His latest remark is "Why do I always have to do everything!!", and he has suddenly became the victim of his 4  and 2 year old brothers and his teacher.  He has also learned that if you play around with words long enough maybe you won't get caught in a lie.  At first I thought okay, well it was kindergarten he has been influenced by other children, but now its been more than a year later and quite frankly I can't blame anyone for this, I think as parents Brad and I have done the best we can, we go to church, we study the scriptures, we do FHE, we say prayers as a family, I know we need to be more consistent but I know that those times we do what we are asked to do matter and count.  Sometimes we have our game face on for weeks but that does not mean our kids behave any better, and we wonder if they get it, do they understand? The truth is that they do but not on our timeline, so here I  am struggling with a this little boy and then it hits me like a ton of bricks: he is being tested he is about to make most important decision in his life at 8 and the adversary has an army of evil surrounding him to keep him from getting baptized and make him feel inadequate.  I have learned that I CAN'T let the adversary take the best of ME (his Mama) and have me loose faith in that special little boy that has tremendous potential to serve our Heavenly Father diligently. I wont' let the adversary win, NO WAY, I will TAKE the adversary face on if I must to fight for my son. Will Bradley's behavior change, probably not, he will still be tested and be a pill with me and fight me tooth and nail about doing his homework and practicing his piano, but MY ATTITUDE will change, because I HAVE FINALLY understood what he is going through. And  all I can do is to show him that I love him and show him how much Heavenly Father loves him.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Ready In: 20-25 Min

I was going to use my pregnancy as an excuse to not cook anymore. I can always say, oh I am too tired, I have morning sickness, that makes me want to throw up, or this or that. Of course all very legitimate justifiable reasons, but I can't use that as an excuse really because my family's eating habits have been suffering for much longer than I have been pregnant.  Unfortunately, I wasn't blessed with that six sense of cooking (that gene must have just skipped me), my sister on the other hand, is an awesome cook just like my mom, they both can cook a finger licking mole, or some fabulous tamales, and a mean pozole. So when it comes to complicated Mexican cuisine, I steer clear from it. Over the years I have learned how to cook, mostly from recipes.  I am still learning, so don't judge me. And even then my lack of experience should not justify my neglect for cooking. I find that cooking is just like a muscle, you must exercise it to get stronger.  I unfortunately do not want to exercise the bigger muscles like tamales. I met a wonderful woman in my last ward who told me once that she did not enjoy cooking and felt that her time while cooking daily could be used better, so she only cooks 2 times a year!! Yes, that is right, and I have seen her use her time very efficiently. I can't say the same, I don't hate to cook, but I do have a love/hate relationship with cooking. Maybe when I decided that where I will be taking that relationship I will become either Iron Chef or only cook 2 times a year. I still have not decided, but as for now I know I am struggling and all I know is that I want to put BETTER food in my kids mouth.  Over the last few months I have relied heavily on kids eat free nights at IKEA, or that special at Short Stop. Okay, so two out 7 days eating out isn't terrible, but I must also include those frozen meals  we have all consumed at one point or another, you know the Lean Pockets, the Tostinos Pizza, DiGiorno's, chicken nuggets, and that most beloved mac and cheese. Yep, I am guilty as charged. Today I chose to not go out to eat, not feed my kids fast food from our own freezer and instead I put something together.  As I preparing the Chicken Cabbage Salad, I realized I know how to cook"some" and I that there are some recipes that are easier for me to do (probably because I like to eat it)  that I can pull. So I thought I should make a list of those recipes so I can use them again and again. My kids don't always like some of these meals, but they can either try it or they can go to bed hungry (I am sure they would not go hungry). So I have started formulating a list of some of the recipes that I so often FORGET to use:
Chicken Salad
Chicken Cabbage Salad
Chicken Fajitas (with zucchini as part of the fajita veggies)
Chicken Tacos
Penne in Cream Sauce with Sausage

As I reviewed my recipes I NOTICED that most say: READY IN: 20-25 minutes. I love recipes like this!!!So if you have a an easy, fast,healthy, yet tasty recipe pass it over. I would love to try new things.

Friday, March 22, 2013

......I am working on that....

I don't know how many times I have been tempted to sit at the computer and write a little something, but lately although my life seems to run faster than ever my mind goes blank.  That is what happens when you have 3 three kids, you have officially sign up for memory loss.  So of course much has happened since September.  Bradley lost a few more teeth, is learning more Spanish, played soccer and basketball (his found new love), is playing piano, and reading chapter books.  Sammy, started preschool, loving tractors and every animal he can see, played t-ball and finished the season (is hoping to play again), and has made some new friends at preschool.  Carter, rolls with the punches around here.  He is his father's shadow, and understands when someone tuts, is talking a little, and loves to play with his big brothers. We have also found out that Carter is a true Thomas the Train fan !! Brad is working and and is determined to let his hair grow in a mullet (without my consent of course). He has been working on some home projects (pond, walkways, mostly outdoor stuff) and picking up more business.  As for me, after complaining about pencils and erasers last year I got more involved in Bradley's school. I have been serving as the PTA VP and I have really enjoyed doing that but with a new bun in the oven I have to take step back. I learned a lot about PTA and am excited to continue to help with their Reflections program.  I have also started a million new projects and have yet to complete one!! I started a t-shirt blanket for Brad, and I am still working on that, I started chenille blanket, still working on that, boys blankets, still working on that, and that pretty much sums the rest of my daily chores, folding laundry, still working on that, organize kitchen and office, working on that, and the list can be endless.  I did however, finish planting my garden. YAY!! Last summer my neighbor gave me two tomato plants and they did not make it, I am determined to make this garden survive.  It will keep busy during the summer. I have been trying to get myself together but I have not been able to get a grip on it, maybe this summer will bring a new perspective.