Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I don’t have many great ideas of my own….mostly I just rip off other’s ideas….and most of those are ideas from my amazing sisters… here goes, I’m going to copy my sister Shawni and create a verbal snapshot what the Shumway family looked like in 2009.  This blog isn’t quite the complete family history that I’d like to to be, mainly because I mostly write about things that I take pictures of….and I’ve been a bit burned out on pictures lately… there are a lot of parts of our family that are being left out of our family history. 

So, hopefully this post will round out the story….help me remember what life was like in our family in 2009.  Please don’t feel obligated, much of this will be boring family history kind of stuff. 

I wake up around 6:30 or 7am each morning to Emmeline wailing in her bed.  I remember one morning wondering why she doesn’t wake up happier and then it hit me…’s very likely that she does wake up happy but after babbling to herself for a half an hour she starts to wail so that I’ll wake up and come and rescue her.  I think this is quite likely.  Emmeline is such a dear dear child.

25% of the time Hazel still has a melt down right as I’m kissing her good night.  I’ll have read to her, gone through her happies and sads for the day, given various kisses and hugs and declared my love and just as I try to leave there is some kind of tragedy that leaves us both pretty mad at each other.  At least it’s not 75% of the time like it was last year. 

Hazel is the sweetest little big sister I could imagine.  She is always trying to model to me what my response should be when Charlie or Emmeline get hurt or are sad.  She is quite an advocate for those two.  Charlie has got her wrapped around his finger.   He knows that if he throws a tantrum I will ignore the behavior but she will go through great lengths to calm him down and make him happy.  Today after winning through the grocery store I denied him a “treat” at the end.  After wailing half the way home Hazel forfeited her precious pack of gum that she had gotten as a reward for a weeks worth of piano practicing to him.  I tried to advise her that it might make him more likely to repeat the tantrum in the future.  She told me she didn’t care, that she couldn’t stand to see him so sad.  She is also my little alarm when Emmeline is near anything even remotely dangerous.  I’m so grateful for her help.

Charlie loves to run and jump and hit stuff and wrestle with his dad.  He loves anything that has to do with fights or fixing things or building or speed. 

Charlie spends most of his time with his tongue stretched out so far that it’s touching his nose, nearly sticking into his nostril far enough to get a tasty treat.

Emmeline has changed the most this year……the most consistent thing about her is that she is an angel baby.  We all love her.  The first half of her life she spent laughing at her big brother and sister.  She still laughs at them a lot, but now they also laugh at her…..she can shake her hips like crazy and get them laughing big belly laughs.  I’ve discovered that there is nothing greater in the world than hearing your children laugh at and with each other.

Charlie and Hazel are best best friends.  Hazel tells me over and over that Charlie is her best friend in the world.  We haven’t watched much TV at all this year….I’m not even tempted to put it on.  Emmeline is totally disinterested and Hazel and Charlie normally will play for hours if I have things I have to get done. 

We don’t get started in the morning until at least 8.  Often we don’t get dressed until 11am.  For a while I felt a bit slothful and ashamed of this fact….but then I realized that this is the last blessed year that my mornings won’t be constrained by a school schedule…..I’m just trying to drink in these lazy pj mornings the best I can before it all comes to an end.

Charlie and Hazel have loved going to school together.  I think this has reinforced the best friend thing.  They're not in the same class, but love seeing each other at recess and “circle.”

I’ve been really getting into running.  I’ve never been a winter runner, and this winter I've been converted.  5 degrees isn’t that bad if you have the right clothes on.  it helps that I’m running with a dear friend.  i also had the realization the other morning that getting up to run is MUCH easier and more enjoyable that getting up all bleary eyed and grouchy with a hungry crying baby who’s not too happy that you haven’t heard her wailing for 15 minutes.  I come home ready to be a mom with a baby up and in her high chair playing with cheerios and a husband ready to walk out the door to work.  I’m so thankful that this has worked out this year.  I really do love it. 

Emmeline teeters around the house taking things out of cupboards and destroying things and then carrying random objects around.  She has such a huge smile on her face…..clearly displaying how proud she is of herself.  I think she feels like she is now a “big kid” like Hazel and Charlie.

Hazel does “art” all the time. Because I’m not a very crafty mom, and I’ve had a lot of stuff on my plate, Hazel has learned to create all kinds of art.  I love what she comes up with…..I try to make sure she has a wide variety of supplies and then just marvel in what she finds to do with things. 

Hazel started piano lessons.  She loves music.  Will sing a solo at the drop of a hat (hmmm, wonder where she got that one from? )

We spend a lot of time with our dear neighbor Joyce.  She comes over and mentors Hazel and has even started babysitting for us in the evenings once Emmeline is down.  We love her.  She’s like a third grandmother to the kids.

Hazel and Charlie love our neighbors Janine and Dan and their cats.  Hazel is constantly making art for Janine and going and dropping it through her mailbox.  I think it gives her a thrill to be independent enough to go and drop it off on her own.

Hazel and Charlie often threaten each other with “I'll tickle punch you if you don’t…..”  Not sure where that one came from.

Every once in a while we have “Family movie night.”  We pop popcorn and watch some movie that Jeff or I loved as a kid. 

We eat dinner together nearly every night.  I’m so happy about this….it’s some of our best family time.  The kids usually want to hear Jeff and me tell stories from when we were younger…..they are particularly interested in stories about when we got into trouble or found ourselves in a dangerous situation.  They ask any guests who come to dinner to tell stories as well.  Jeff and I are getting  a little tired of some of the stories they want to hear over and over and over again.

We try to have people from the ward over for Sunday dinner.  Hazel and Charlie are usually CRAZY by this point and it’s pretty hard to have any normal conversation.  For some reason those kids think that the kids will be more impressed the sillier they act…..

We “chapter” books at night when we’re not too late or tired.  It really tires the kids out.  Our favorites for the year have been: “The Boxcar Children,” “the BFG,” “the Life and Adventures of Santa Clause,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” and “Fantastic Mr.. Fox.”  This is one of my very favorite parts of being a mom. 

We don’t say “i don’t like” in our family…..instead we say “it’s not my favorite.”  Hazel, who used to be our good eater, has decided that there are many things that “are not her favorite.”  The kids have to eat either a lot or a little of everything that is served.

The kids jump on the porch or in the door way when our guests leave.  Not sure where this one came from, but it sure gets them tired out and ready for bed.

Jeff wrestles or plays some kind of rowdy game with the kids when he gets home from work and on Saturdays.  The kids love it.  Oh, how they love their dad.

We’re still trying to do too many house projects all at once.  Jeff is trying his darndest to train me how to take on one thing at a time…..and I resolve over and over again to do better, but somehow I keep getting us stuck on Saturdays with way too many things to finish.

Our house is messy most of the time.  This year I decided not to care if people come over and see the way we actually live.  I’m hoping it will make them feel better about how they live.  If they’re always neat and orderly they’ll feel happy they are, and if they’re not, they’ll realize that they’re really not the only ones.

The kids play with legos all the time.  Our bookshelves are always covered with Lego creations.

I listen to my book club books instead of reading them.  For some reason I just can’t sit down to read a book, I never make myself do it, and if I do succeed in sitting down I fall asleep.  Books on tape are great for me, I get through the book and the nooks and crannies in my kitchen all get cleaned and organized as i look for things to do while listening.

Jeff and I watch The Office and 30 Rock every Thursday night.  It’s our one “hobby” that we do together.

We do Family Home Evening nearly every Monday night.  The kids get their little chairs and sit down.  Jeff conducts.  We start with announcements.  Emmeilne always goes first (even if she’s in bed).  Charlie and Hazel usually announce pretty obvious things like “we went to church yesterday” or “Dad just had a birthday.”  Their favorite song to sing is “High on a Mountain Top.”  Hazel gives some pretty darn good lessons every once in a while.  Charlie gives some pretty random lessons every once in a while.  Mom and Dad usually give lessons intended to help the kids improve their behavior in some way.  We need to be better at teaching gospel principles and not using FHE as a way to whip our kids into shape!  For our activity we play hide and seek, memory, Uno or the “holy ghost game.”  This is where someone pretends to be the holy ghost while the others role-play different situations to see if the Holy Ghost will stay or run away.  For some reason they love this game.  A few times Jeff and I have succeeded in getting the kids excited about a game called “Dead Donkey" where the person who can lie on the floor the stillest and the quietest for the longest wins. 

I stay up way too late doing things on the computer.  When I get to bed my hands and feet and whole body feel ice.  Jeff kindly lets me snuggle up to him to warm up.

Often in the mornings we have a little dance party.  The kids favorite songs to dance to are “Human” by the killers, “I gotta feeling” by the black eyed peas and “Waking up in Vegas” by I don’t know who.  Charlie does the robot dance that he made up, Emmeline shakes her hips back and forth like crazy and Hazel usually does some kind of actions or interpretive dance.

Charlie loves Michael Jackson and insists that he’s going to name his first son “Beat It.”

I like driving in the car with the kids as long as it’s not for too long and no one is too hungry.  It’s when I get my best talks in with them.

I don’t really like putting the kids to bed…..they always want to prolong it….always.

I do a babysitting swap each week with my friend Heidi.  My kids love Heidi (they often remark on how much they admire her mothering skills) and they love Heidi’s kids.  It’s the closest we have to cousins around here…..I love it.

Jeff does at least as much housework as I do…..he is awesome.

Our house is cold.  We keep it at 68.  Our shower is cold unless you plan your shower just right (when the boiler has just kicked on to heat up the house).  This usually makes me so mad that I yell while taking a shower.

Our bathroom is small.  The kids ALWAYS want to be in there with me.  We don’t really all fit.

Hazel and Charlie share a tiny room.  Charlie sleeps under Hazel’s loft bed on a toddler bed.  They love their room. 

We love our house.  It has a name, Cabby Cap.  Charlie usually says goodbye to Cabby Cap as we drive away, reassuring him/her that we’ll be back really soon.

I'm usually obsessed with finding something or other on Craigslist to improve our lives….a couch for the family room, a fridge……oh, how I want to break this obsession…..but there are so many good deals out there!  I can’t bear to miss them…..oh, I love/hate craigslist.  It’s getting a little better, but still….I have the craigslist ap on my iphone.  Pathetic!

Jeff spends any free time he has in the evenings trying to figure out a way he could buy a Subaru.  He and Charlie are saving up money in their ‘money jars’ to buy one one day.

Jeff bought a working motorcycle.  He “fixed it up” and now it won’t start.  My mother-in-law and I are relieved.

We still have our house elf (the Brownie).  Hazel has been sending messages to Santa via the Brownie.  She is determined that if she starts begging now she can convince Santa to let her see him next Christmas.  Hazel is very dismayed that there are some important things in the world that she can’t see….she’s not sure about this whole “having faith” business.

The kids are almost always a few minutes late for school.  This drives me crazy because we don’t have to be there until noon and I still can’t get my act together enough to get them there on time.  Arg.

We try to go to the beach whenever we can.

Sacrament meeting is pretty tough to get through, but I try to see it as a challenge.  Hazel is actually amazingly good and reverent.  She mostly either listens (yes, she really listens) or draws pictures in her little note book.  This note book is filled with pictures and they all have to do with Jesus or love or some faith related topic.  It is very sweet.  Charlie either bugs the kids on the pews around him, looks at our “Jesus of Nazareth” book trying to find the more violent or strange scenes or plays with legos.  He’s slowly learning how to whisper.  Emmeline either stands on the pew and distracts the people sitting behind us or walks up and down the isle and tries to climb the steps to the pulpit.  At the end of the meeting, during the last hymn, the child who was the most reverent get’s to go and sit on the stand with Jeff.  They walk up with their arms folded and sit by him……they love it.  I’m usually very relieved once sacrament meeting is over…..but still have to wrestle with Emmeline for two more hours (except for when I get to teach Gospel Essentials….then Jeff gets to keep her as entertainment during the interviews he conducts). 

Our mini van stinks like milk.  I’ve tried, and there’s not much I can do about it.

Our house stinks like milk and dirty diapers and the candles and plug ins don’t do much to help.

The kids help me sort through the huge pile of laundry every Saturday morning.  This has been a huge advance for me. 

Jeff and I resolve over and over again to go to bed by 10:30.  We rarely every do.

Jeff is really liking Bridgespan.  This makes me very happy because I am really liking our house and our ward and our neighborhood and our life.  I’m feeling some roots, which feels good. 


  1. Oh Saydi, how I love this post. It makes me feel like I have a really clear snapshot of your life. It's so funny and so dear. What a treasure this will be for you to read years from now. Isn't this a fun/crazy season?! Well I better take my icy hands and feet and crawl into bed. Good night dear friend.

  2. fantastic blog saydi! i had to come reading it after hearing jonah laugh in front of the computer for about 15 minutes. once i sat down and read it, i did the same thing!

  3. Saydi, I loved reading this post. I wish we lived closer to you, so I can see you once in a while! Thanks for the post, it's a great idea!

  4. Oh, how I miss the Shumways! I love you guys and love your hilarious kids and wish we could be closer so Charlie and Landon could do boy things together. His loves are very much Landon's loves.

  5. I am so grateful for some time here in Kuwait to actually read this incredible post in detail. How fun to read and feel that I really know what's happening at your house, even when we're not there. But also it will be a treasure in years to come when you look back on those years with fondness and longing! Sure love you!

  6. Anonymous9:30 PM

    I just read "The Snapshoot That Changed My Life" on Dare to Dream. I am typing through tears. Thank you for putting into words all of my "this isn't how I imagined it" feelings. It is nice to be reminded that even if the day-to-day of motherhood isn't exactly how we fantasized, it is OK. Motherhood is a cumulative experience that has just as many unexpected blessings as it does unexpected difficulties. At the end of the day if my kids feel loved and secure than I should stop beating myself up about all the "should haves" and just embrace and find joy in all that mothering has to offer! I will be adding your blog to my list of "regulars". Thanks again for reassuring me that these mothering insecurities are not only common but unproductive:)



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