6.24.2012

My new blog

I realized I switched my blog over without ever putting a post up here, so if you follow this blog via Reader or are a follower, you may have thought I just disappeared.  My new blog address is mydotcalm.blogspot.com.  Eventually, if you type this address in it will redirect you to my new blog, but for your rss feed, you'll need to update the url.

So if you follow this blog, come over My Dot Calm and follow me there!

Thank you!!

6.14.2012

Is Flag Day a forgotten holiday?

Certainly not in these parts! My Poppy loved this country - and always proudly flew a flag in front of his house (until Obama took office anyway..). A flagpole was a requirement in home ownership for him. I have memories of staring at the spotlight that shown on the flag at night - and completely blinding myself for minutes at a time. I also know that I thought it was "Poppy's flag" well into Elementary school. I learned to salute, and honor the flag from a young age.

So I'm trying to use Flag Day to educate my children on these principles that I hold so dear.

This morning Olivia and I made our own recreation of the American Flag. We talked about Betsy Ross, and colonies, and England. It was a lot of fun. But Olivia really wanted to make her own flag, her own way. So I had the idea of letting her design her own flag for "Olivialand". Which she decided to name, "Texas".

In "Texas" there are no rules. You can do anything you want. And if you want money you just say, "Money please" and money falls from the sky. If you want hot dogs, you just say "Hot dogs please" and hot dogs fall from the sky. She went on and on with every thing you could think of, and that it would fall from the sky. If you want it to be sunny, then it will be sunny. If you want it to rain (so you can go to Chuck-E-Cheese) then it will rain. If you want a rainbow, that you can touch and hug and take to bed with you - then you can have a rainbow. I thought it was hilarious and so innocent. I tried to make her see the challenges that could come up in this type of scenario - like what if I wanted a piano and said "Piano please"... and she said, "Oh! When that happens the fire-fighters come, and they will catch it for you and put it down carefully, so no one gets hurt, and the piano doesn't break" I then addressed the weather. "What if someone wanted rain and someone else wanted sun." And she explained it's only the weather around you. If Abigail wanted rain, then it would rain on her. And be sunny on Mommy. Also if you want to be president, then you can be. Anyone can be, who wants to.

I just wanted to write about this little moment because I remember thinking like this as a kid. Just so innocent.

I think I want to move to "Texas".

6.13.2012

Remember that one time when...

Abigail took off her unders in the bathroom before church and no one knew until she announced in sacrament meeting that she was bottom-less...

Nathan didn't poop for like 11 days.

Nathan shrugged his shoulders and just kept them up there all close to his ears with the funniest expression on his face ever.

Olivia ate a pound of cherries in one sitting.

I filled a squirt bottle with water and sprayed my kids every time they used a whiney voice? Similar to cat training... It started as a game...but is evolving into my main method of discipline.

We finally made the decision about how we'll get to Phoenix.

I hid in the bathroom to write a blogpost on my phone...

6.12.2012

Nathan -and the rest of us - at a glance

Olivia took the above video with my cell phone. The beginning is cute sounds Nathan makes. The end is Abigail singing. The middle is a jumble of getting inside the house. I just wanted to include for the freeze frame at the beginning. Every once in a while Nathan makes this face and it just cracks me up.

Other quirky things Nate does right now - is suck on his bottom lip almost constantly. He also goes out of his way to pull hair. My girls would pull your hair if you were holding them and they happened to get a hand full or something. Nathan would move heaven and earth to get to some hair to pull. His sisters are never safe from his grasp. On Sunday at church, Aaron had to pass him to me, because the lady sitting in front of him had long, thick, wavy hair and Nathan was going crazy trying to get his hands on it. He will be 6 months old on Sunday. I can hardly believe that. He is starting to get somewhat mobile - but not quite by crawling. He rolls, and maneuvers himself in every kind of crazy way to get to what he wants. He can sit up for a little while by himself, but usually plops over to get something after a few seconds.

I have been blogging about him kind of a lot lately - hmm. I think it's because I really don't remember Abigail's first year of life.  I keep going back to my blog trying to remember when she did certain things and I didn't write it down! So this time I'm writing it down. Sorry, Abigail!

Maybe I should take a minute to write about what Abigail is up to right now. Aaron and I hear about 50 times, "Can I pway a game on yo phone?" She is obsessed with preschool apps on our phones. I went into Nursery to get crayons for Sunbeams, when I found her playing a game on her teacher's phone. She has been a stubborn little thing the past couple of days. She's always so easy going that I am surprised when she acts like this. Yesterday she didn't want to leave the pool, and so she stubbornly stood there not moving an inch. I did the whole, "Okay well then I guess I'll see ya later." And walked away. I hid behind a tree and watched her. She still did not move. I waited, and waited. Then she finally started to walk towards me, but then she saw me. And as soon as she saw me she ran back to her spot and stood. I had to pick her up and drag her away kicking and screaming. I ended up throwing her on my shoulders so I could push the stroller. Thank goodness Olivia was in a good mood and was walking happily ahead of me. I must have looked like an insane person with a screaming toddler on my head, pushing a stroller loaded down with all the pool necessities and a sleeping baby.

What else can I say? She is mostly the sweetest girl on earth. She sings a lot. Oh! She learned to "monkey walk" around the pool this week. And she is a monkey walking machine. She can go all around the pool and she loves it.

And the pool is where I plan on spending many-a-morning from now until we leave in August. We love it.

6.10.2012

My Ode To Erie, PA


The plumbing of this old apartment
 is one thing I will not miss
But there are lots of things that I will
And they go a little something like this.

Cute, furry woodland creatures,
The Erie Zoo and all its features,
Living so close to my parents' door
And of course Wegman's my favorite store.

Swimming at Presque Isle
And my neighbor Rusty, who always has a smile.
Spending time at the YMCA
Port Farms, where we could stay all day

I'm going to miss the small town feel,
Our tiny kitchen where I prepared each meal.
Our apartment complex's frigid pool,
and our neighbor Troy, who thinks he's so cool.

Story time at our local Chick-Fil-A,
And how the weather can change in a day.
Playing at the awesome Children's Museum
and catching games at SeaWolves' Stadium.

All the dear friends we have made
And all the times we played.
Girls nights and many-a-play-date,
These are what we'll miss the most -- no debate.

Being part of the greatest ward,
living so close to where the Gospel was restored,
Visiting church history sites,
having to leave really bites.

The room where I birthed our son
All the pretty places to run
Being where everything is so green
Each picture looks like a post card scene.

The desert has its beauty too
And friends there are not a few
But still - leaving this home will be hard.
Although I won't miss a certain prison guard.

I've grown to love this town called Erie,
Even though the weather can be dreary,
It really has a beauty all its own
I'm grateful for a short time I could call it home.

6.06.2012

The stars have aligned...

All three of my kids are asleep. At the same time. In the middle of the day. This is a rare moment to be savored. Or used to do something that really needs to get done ie, dishes, laundry, packing, or most importantly blogging.

I have written approximately 20,000 blog entries about my home birth. All of them are sitting as drafts in my little blogger account. I get interrupted, or don't know how to finish my thoughts, so it never gets published. Today, right now I am determined to tell my story!

Every time I take a shower in the downstairs bathroom I think about being in labor with Nathan. I relive each moment, without the pain. Just the excitement. I can literally feel the excitement all over again. I love the fact that I had him at home. There, I'm owning it. At first I really didn't want to seem like I was in some super mom competition, and thinking I was better than everyone who has babies in hospitals. I absolutely don't feel that way. I also didn't want people to think I was a complete idiot for choosing to have my baby at home. Some people do. They think I just decided on a whim, hey let's forget about medicine and carelessly have a baby in my playroom. My decision to give birth at home was thought out, planned, and researched more than you could believe. I think I could have earned a PhD in google research, seriously. And I know I made the right choice for the right baby, at the right time. I may not have my next baby at home, if it doesn't feel right. I honestly do believe, if we listen we will be guided in these decisions.

I had my first baby with an epidural. I had my second naturally in the hospital. And I had my third in a kiddie-pool in my playroom. Have I told you before that it's a kiddie-pool? Covered in colorful sea creatures, and drowning warnings in several languages?  Yeah it was. And it was like heaven. It was inflated on the bottom, and the sides, and it was full of hot water. It was seriously perfect. And then Nathan was all like, "Yeah I'm not coming down this way." And I was all... "I'm going to be in labor forever, I know it." And then my midwife helped me find the courage to roll over onto my knees, and with the next two contractions my body literally pushed my baby out. It was the craziest feeling in the world. With Abigail I was too panicked to think about feeling anything. I remember literally thinking, "Just focus on screaming. Don't think about anything else." And that's what I did. I screamed my lungs out. With Nathan, I was loud. And I may have sworn. But I don't remember screaming. It was all really peaceful. Oh, until we took Nathan out of the water. Then he screamed. For like an hour. I thought I was going to have this calm, peaceful baby since I chose to birth him in such an environment, but no -- I think he cried more than my girls did. He did not want to be out of there! Or maybe I was too out of it with my girls to remember them crying. Or I was expecting it so it wasn't such a surprise. I really remember feeling like "What the heck! You aren't supposed to cry! All those babies on youtube born in the water didn't cry!" I also remember thinking, "Holy crap - I have three kids!" And immediately feeling overwhelmed.

Now here are a few thoughts of things I learned from my home birth experience.

Almost every woman who has given birth naturally reaches the point where they feel like they can't do it. They can't go on. This always happens at the very end. Right before the greatest moment - it is complete despair. Some women report feeling like they are going to die. I absolutely experienced that. And I pushed through it. I was afraid and wanted to give up - but I couldn't. There is literally no way to give up at that point. So you dig within yourself for strength you are sure you don't have. And somewhere you find it. And you make it through that despair, into utter ecstasy. You hold that newborn baby against your chest, and instantly the thoughts of death are gone and you are filled with life. Heaven feels close, but in a different way now. Just writing about this moment, fills me with such emotion.

With Olivia this moment was different. I really just remember thinking I had to nurse her right away. It was awkward and uncomfortable and I don't know. I was so tired. And drugged.

With Abigail I was in complete shock. I couldn't believe I had gone through my whole labor without ever thinking I was really in pain. I was in shock that I just pushed out an almost 10lb baby. In like a single push. I held her, under bright hospital lights, and she didn't cry. And she was blue-ish. I was pretty sure she was not alive, and these nurses were just letting me hold my dead baby while the doctor stitched me up so I wouldn't freak out. With Olivia they took her and cleaned her and wrapped her up and all that so fast. They just let me hold Abigail as long as I wanted. I thought that meant she was dead. I was not completely with it. Once the nurses checked her and told me she was perfect, then I was just filled with emotion.

With Nathan - I lifted him from the water myself. Oh that screaming little boy. Who was certainly still a boy. And it was just glorious. My midwife helped me onto the futon we had set up in the playroom. I laid there and held my baby. No one was in a hurry to do anything. She gave me a couple of stitches. Right there in the playroom.

My biggest regret about the home birth -- and all my births really - is that we didn't take enough pictures. Next time I will be sure to arm Aaron with a camera. 

Oh and some random concerns I had -- what about the mess? What about the placenta? What about those awesome giant diaper like pads they give you in the hospital? What about having a nurse take care of you for 2 days?

It really wasn't that messy. Since I had him the pool, all the mess was contained to there. And my midwife took care of all the clean up involved with that.

We threw it away. Unceremoniously wrapped in newspaper and a plastic bag - straight into the dumpster.

One word - Depends.

As for being taken care of - I told my husband the pay for him for being able to sleep in his own bed after having the baby, and not some couch/bed thing in the hospital is that he had to cater to my every need. Plus I have an amazing mother who took my other children for me. So I had 3 days of my own house - all alone with my husband and baby. No one coming to check my blood pressure as soon as I fell asleep. Or whatever else they check as soon as you fall asleep.

Anyway - so would I have a home birth again? Absolutely. Do I think everyone who chooses to have their baby in the hospital with an epidural is a wimp? Absolutely not. Do I think they are uneducated? Nope. I like to assume we are all doing our personal best. I do hope that people question what doctors tell them. Do their own research. It feels good. And some doctors don't tell you everything. I would recommend anyone who's not at high risk to consider a midwife. I absolutely loved my midwife experience, and don't think I will use an OB again. But that's just me. ... and here I am again not sure how to finish my thoughts.

So yeah... that's my story. No I'm not better than you, or dumber than you, I just did what I thought was best for my baby.


6.03.2012

5.31.2012

Abigail

Aaron said Abigail needs more airtime on the blog. And she really does. What can I say though? Yesterday she went down for a nap at noon, and I had to wake her up at FOUR PM! Ya know, just your average four hour nap. Seriously, she is the best sleeper. She goes to bed around 8 each night, and wake up around 7 each morning. Takes a wonderful nap each afternoon. I really, really love that about her. And when she is tired, she doesn't act cranky and crazy she goes into this like zen mode. One time after a couple of days of no naps we found her sitting in front of the tv, playing with a toy, not really looking at the tv, and not really looking at the toy, just zoning out. It cracks us up.

She has her moments, but overall she is just sweet. Aaron said she is my little "mommy protector". She doesn't like if someone talks rudely to me, and is always quick to say, "We don't say that!" Or, "Don't talk like that to mom!" She does like to rattle off all the "bad words". At least once a day she tells me, "Mommy - we don't say disgusting head. And we don't say stupid. And we don't say shut up." And I tell her that's right and to stop saying it! I try to get her to focus on what we can say instead. And every time I ask her what we can say she says, "Because why, you silly head?" I have no clue.

The other day she came up to me and said very matter of factly, "No ice pop today, kid." And then a huge grin spread across her face. Like she was the most hilarious person in the world because she called me kid. Which basically she is. No one has ever said that to her, that I know of, so I have no clue where got it from. But it seriously cracked me up and I keep asking her to say it again because it just sounds so funny coming out of her mouth.

She is still hard to understand. I know every word she is saying, most all of the time, but everyone else looks at me and asks what she said. Olivia usually understands her as well. Sometimes this works to my advantage. Like the other day when my neighbor was wearing an-ill fitted, Tye-died wife beater type shirt, and Abigail went up to him and said, "Rusty your shirt is weird. I think you're wearing your mama's shirt or something." But out of Abigail's mouth it sounded more like "Wusty - you sowt is  weed. I fink you wearing your mama's sowt or sumfing." And Rusty looked at me and I just shrugged, and laughed and said, "I think she likes your shirt!" And quickly hurried to the car.

She calls the kids that live behind us, "Olivia's friends". Yesterday I told her they were her friends too, and her face just lit up and she smiled and said, "THEY ARE??" And I told her that they were, and she was very happy and ran outside saying, "You're my friends too! You guys are my friends!" And they basically ignored her and broke my heart, but she didn't seem to notice. I love this age.

I try not to compare her to her older spirited sister. I really try. They are just so night and day. When Olivia was 18 months old and I was getting ready to give birth I just prayed and prayed that this baby (Abigail) would be the yin to Olivia's yang. Not that I don't love Olivia's yang... but I just didn't think I could handle two yangs. And I'm pretty sure Abigail is living proof that Heavenly Father heard that prayer.

5.30.2012

Mom Enough

This post is going to be a random stream of thoughts that need to come out of my brain. An alternate title to this post could be "My thoughts this week, and how I overcame them". But that seemed too long.

So I'm like 3 weeks late in posting about the cover Time magazine. And I'm not even posting about the nursing toddler. That's just... whatever, that is. I don't really know. But the headline - "Are you Mom Enough?"

What the crap does that even mean?!

Olivia is an intense child. Like intense. Lately her intensity has been magnified by the big move looming in our future, and all the chaos that surrounds it. She threw a huge a fit, I don't even remember why, but when she throws these huge fits she says crazy things. Things like, "I don't love you", "You don't love me" etc. Things I remember saying as a much older child. But then sometimes she says things that downright scare me. Things like, "I want to find a way to make myself die!"  Those are things that as a mother - kind of make you want to run to the nearest doctor and have your 4 year old undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Anyway a few fits like this and I started to fee like I wasn't "mom enough" for her. I seriously hate that headline for even putting those words in my head. Because I don't think I ever would have come up with them on my own. But I just felt like she was too much for me. I began to honestly believe someone else could be a better mother for her. I felt like I just didn't have what it takes to raise such an intense child. I started to feel guilty - did I do something to make her like this. Does she really want to die? Obviously at 4 years old she can't fully comprehend what that means. And she's just saying what she thinks will get a reaction. But anyway these thoughts were all consuming and led to many tears shed. Some even embarrassingly pouring down my cheeks when a well meaning person asked me how I was doing at church on Sunday.

Well then yesterday it hit me. I am the only mom she has. I have to be enough. She needs discipline, routine, structure. These are things that don't come naturally to me. But I have to work at it, for her. Because I am the only mom she has. I can't rely on her dad to pull my weight in these departments forever. I need to stretch myself. I need to be better at these things. And I can. And I will. And I will love her all the more for it.

I started this blog when Olivia was a little embryo, with an undetectable heartbeat. I never could have imagined the love, the pain, the pure joy, the laughter, the tears, and the growing she has brought to our family.  She wears me out, and wears me down. But I wouldn't have it any other way. When I think of her as a blessing, and not a "job" my life is so much easier. Sometimes I get lost in the day to day and sometimes get angry at all my kids are keeping me from things I want to do - mainly reading blogs, checking email, trying to have an adult conversation, etc. My kids need me. They need all of me. And I am enough. Even if, at times, I don't feel like it.

And I am enough, not by myself, but with the help of God. I honestly believe He sends angels to help us mothers. He is truly there for us. He makes us enough, when on our we aren't. He somehow creates enough time in the day for everything to get done. He gives us the words we need when we don't know what to say. He gives us the patience to give a hug, when we want to give a slap. He gives us the energy (or Netflix) to keep up with our little ones, when really just want a nap. He gives us tender mercies every day to let us know He is not far. Because of Him, I am enough.

I need to remember that.

5.28.2012

I wish the quality of these pictures were better. But I used my phone to just capture this moment. I love our little back yard common area. The kids that live behind us play well with my kids. Lately their 3 year old will just wander into our house if we're down in the playroom. When the big kids get home from school they all love to play outside together. In these picture Abigail and Aaron (the 3 year old) are having a race. And Olivia and Riley are playing hide-and-go-seek with Sam. I am going to miss this so much!



5.26.2012

You'll have to use your imagination.

I like words. But watching old home movies is like the best. Which is why I am beating myself up over the fact that I forgot the video camera for Olivia and Abigail's singing debut. Okay it was a small church function, but still -- they were ridiculously cute. And oh my goodness I would love for them to see how cute they were, in 15 years. Maybe someone taped it. I will ask around at church tomorrow.

But if not picture this....

My cutest, darlingest, little Abigail with her long wavy hair, standing on her tip-toes singing into a microphone already down as low as it could go. Wearing an adorable navy blue dress with white polka dots and a little red bow. Her daddy sitting next to her, playing guitar. Together they did the best rendition of "You Are My Sunshine". Aaron played the guitar very softly, as to not overpower Abigail's cute little voice. She sang every word, both verses. A slight pause before the second chorus, because any time she had practiced it she always stopped after the second verse. But Aaron started singing it a little, and she chimed right in. It was simply adorable.

And then Olivia took the stage. She didn't even wait for Aaron to start playing guitar, she just walked up the microphone and started singing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". She too was in a navy, polka-dotted dress, with her hair down. Aaron began playing, again softly so that Olivia could be heard. But she was sure to say each word loud and clear, right into the microphone. She was so sweet, and I could tell she was kind of nervous, but I knew there was no way she would not doing something that Abigail had done.

So why two solos and not a duet? Well... there was just no convincing Olivia to share the spotlight with Abigail. And it wasn't a battle I felt like fighting. So two 30 second solos it was. And it was perfect. They really loved it.

After everyone's performances all the kids went up and did the "Hamster Dance" which was really cute. Olivia danced around smiling and laughing. And Abigail stood perfectly still the entire time. The song was maybe 3 minutes long... and Abigail just stood there in the middle of everyone dancing. Towards the end of the song she just smiled this giant smile, and just stood there smiling. It cracked me up.

The girls also won an award! "Best solos by sisters accompanied by their dad on guitar". I love our ward! Seriously the girls had a blast and even though it added some stress to our day it was so worth it.

5.23.2012

Dear Olivia,

Oh my sweet eldest daughter, how we have struggled lately. You are volatile, and explosive, and sweet, and kind. I am trying to learn how to teach you that it's okay if you're not the best. It's okay if you make a mistake. It's okay if the squiggly line on your Q goes slightly up instead of perfectly straight down. It's okay if the dot on your i, is slightly larger, or smaller than you were anticipating. It's even okay if you make the line too long and it looks a d instead of an a. Those are little things, my dear. They do not require the catastrophic meltdown that so frequently accompanies such events.
     I know you love to be the fastest, and the smartest, and the best. But sometimes you will lose. And the world will keep turning. Sometimes, even when you run your very fastest, someone else will be faster. But guess what? You are still amazing. You still did your best. I struggle every day trying to figure out how to best teach you that all you need to do is your best, not be the the best. My heart breaks a little as I try to teach you that these are not always the same.
    The other day we went to story time, and the activity after the story was to make a train. Most kids quickly colored their paper so they could hurry and go play with the trains. But not you, Olivia. Oh no, not you. You sat in that chair for 45 minutes, carefully, meticulously, coloring that train. You placed each circle sticker in just the right spot. Picking them up, and replacing them when at second glance didn't meet your expectations. Some kids were already done with their picture AND playing with trains, and you were still messing around with those stickers. I tried to tell you it was good enough, and let's go play, but you didn't even seem to hear me. I love that you have the attention span long enough to sit and do things like that. I love that you want to be so good. I just hope that you know, that it's okay if everything's not perfect. I am drilling this into your head every day, even making you repeat it back to me, but I am not sure the message is sinking in.
        You are also a natural leader. Yesterday you were playing outside with your "friends" and you were leading them in a game of good vs. evil. These kids were 9 years old, and they were listening to you, and following you around. It gave me a good laugh. Especially when you declared yourself the Queen of Darkness, and said you were going to destroy the entire planet. With the help of your evil father. Seriously, you watch too much super hero television. But still, every where we go people tell me how friendly and outgoing you are. I love that about you.
      I love your desire to do your best. I just hope we can learn to control it a bit more over the years. I hope with experience of losing once in a while you will learn that it's okay. Humility is a hard thing to learn, and I guess I shouldn't expect you to learn it at the age 4.
       I'm sorry, Livie-loo-love, if I've ever done anything to make you think that the world ends if you are not the best. I want you to be happy. I want you to know that our Savior came to this Earth and died for you, so you would not have to be perfect in this life. No matter how hard we try, we will never be perfect. But He was. And that's enough. I hope you learn that, baby girl. I hope I teach you that. Because that's really all that matters. Knowing who Christ was, and that He was perfect, and the only way we will ever be perfect is through Him. 
     I love you. Oh how I love you! You are precious, and you are good, and we'll figure this life out together. Thanks for being guinea pig with this whole parenthood thing.
             Love,
Mom

5.20.2012

Food from NYC

If you have a blog and you go to NYC
I think it's some kind of rule somewhere
that you have to post pictures of the food you ate.
Not sure, but I think I read it somewhere.

My "waffle of massive deliciousness". A freshly made Belgian waffle topped with vanilla ice cream, hot  fudge, whip cream, strawberries, and walnuts. I wish I could eat one of these every day. If I could do it again though I probably would have forgone the ice cream. If you find yourself in NYC, you should try to find  http://www.wafelsanddinges.com/
Junior's Cheesecake. So good. I chose Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake. Oh my goodness. That chocolate layer was like some kind of divine mixture of chocolate mousse and cheesecake. And the crust was a thick chocolate ganache type substance. And then the side was covered in mini-chocolate chips. Seriously, I die. I really didn't want to share with Aaron.
This is what our plates looked like about 10 minutes after they arrived. I forgot to take a picture right away. I had Chicken Parmigiana and Aaron had Penne Voda. His sauce was obviously a bit yummier, seeing as his plate is licked clean. This is "our place" in NYC. It's called 44 Southwest. Which is like the weirdest name for an Italian restaurant ever.
 Have I ever told you about 44 Southwest? Well if not this story should be recorded somewhere.
The first time Aaron and I ever ventured to NYC together we  didn't have much a plan, besides seeing a show. So when we got hungry, we began looking for a place to get dinner before we saw Beauty and The Beast. Walking around the streets of Manhattan trying to find a restaurant is kind of like walking around Utah trying to find a Mormon church building.
 Well not exactly like that since all the church buildings in Utah are the same, and all the restaurants in New York are different.
Anyway, we were overwhelmed with the many choices that layed (lied? lay?) before us, and decided let's just pick the next place we see.
Fate must have led us, because we happened upon the most delicious Italian food I've ever eaten. I never knew chicken could taste so good. For reals.
 So fast forward about a year.
We find ourselves again roaming the streets of The Big City. We remember the deliciousness of the restaurant from a year ago, and try to remember what it was called, or where it was or anything besides how good it tasted. I was clueless. I don't know up from down, or left from right in New York. All sense of direction stays in Jersey.
So it was all Aaron, following his nose, or his tummy. Much like Pooh Bear to a  honey pot, Aaron led us right to the restaurant! We couldn't believe we had found it again.
Let's fast forward another year.
 Once again we couldn't remember the name, but we had an idea of the location. At least Aaron did. So for a third year in a row, we found "our place". This time we got smart, took a to-go menu folded up and put it in Aaron's wallet.
We have since returned every year,
for the past 7 years.
Yeah, we're pretty much regulars.
Anyway it's a super cute little place, somewhat reasonably priced (for Manhattan) and you can read all about it's history here. Obviously I would highly recommend it.


At first glance, doesn't it look like that picture could really have been taken from a bird's eye view? But it's really just Lego's! And look at the close up... ya know just Darth Vader and Princess Leia ice skating together. If you are poor and visiting NYC, the Lego Store is a fun free place to check out. We also went to the BOTTOM of the Empire State Building, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and the Library. All free. Oh and the Temple! 

aaaahhh... I'm glad I got this all written down. Now when I have a minute I can come and relive those wonderful 24 hours.
   

5.16.2012

How could I have nothing to blog about...

It just seems overwhelming to try to write about our latest trip to Jersey/NYC. I should probably at least mention it though. Especially since it included a trip to Broadway to see Newsies. Which was awesome. There is really something to be said about being able to sit in a seat and just get completely lost in a show. Without having children climbing all over you. That may have been the best part. And my super awesome cousin let us sleep at her apartment. Seriously in another life I am writer, who lives in a 4th floor walk up, studio apartment in uptown Manhattan. Well I guess if I'm dreaming it doesn't have to be a walk up... I can have an elevator. And if I'm really dreaming I guess it doesn't have to be a studio... Anyway, my cousin has the cutest studio apartment and it is absolutely insane what she has to pay to live there. But Madonna is her neighbor, so I mean ya get what ya pay for I guess.  We ate so much delicious food. To the tune about 3lb weight gain in a week.... but oh these are quality pounds I packed on. Pizza, chicken parm, belgian waffles from a truck, bagel sandwiches, chinese food... mmm yummy days. We also took the train this trip which was really nice. Originally I had wanted to drive in, but once we calculated the cost of parking, tolls, gas, and our sanity, we opted for the train. It was so relaxing, again to just sit. Without children climbing all over me. We were also able to attend the temple. It was of course, awesome. I'm pretty sure, only in Manhattan can there be like 10 people in the session, and there are two listening in Mandarin, and 1 in Spanish, while the rest of us listen in English. I really do love that about New York.

Mother's Day.... oh Mother's Day. I had a whole post in my head. But I never wrote it. And now it's gone. But basically I am so grateful for the many mothers in my life. Of course my own mother, but also my mother-in-law, my grandmother, and my aunts. I got the nicest cards from my aunt and cousins. My cousins even got me flowers. Seriously - my family is awesome. I was so grateful for the kind words about doing a good job. I think that's what every mother's day card should say, forever. Just anything to the effect of, "Keep up the good work". Because I think as mothers we are always wondering if we are doing the right thing, or the best thing, and it's just so validating to hear someone say you are doing it right.

My kids made me breakfast, and got me the cutest cards. Olivia painted me a picture of a rose growing out of a cliff. She is so creative. Abigail sang me, "You are my Sunshine". And I'd like to say Nathan slept through the night... but sadly, no. (He better make up for it next year, or he's out of the will.) Regardless, it was a beautiful day. And I am so, so grateful that I am a mother.


5.04.2012

Faith. Quote. Awesome.

I have the unique opportunity right now to teach online Seminary in my Church. It has been really awesome. This morning I asked the mom of a brother/sister duo in my class to be our guest speaker. I could not have known how awesome she was going to be. Seriously. It was a great, great class. Eight years ago she found herself, 29 years old, and a widow with three small children. She shared how the Lord blessed her and did not forget her during this trial. One quote she shared that I always want to remember is:

"I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone, nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. So a more theological way to talk about Lot’s wife is to say that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already had. Apparently she thought—fatally, as it turned out—that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as those moments she was leaving behind."


Usually I don't read quotes on blogs. I like to hear what the person has to say and most quotes don't hold my interest. If you are like me - go back and read the quote. It is a better message than I could ever convey. Faith is knowing that more happy days lie ahead than bad ones.


I suppose this spoke to strongly to me this morning because our time in Erie is coming to an end. I do not want to see this time end. I have not exactly been looking forward to returning to the dismal heat of the desert. I didn't think of this as a lack of faith until this morning. I have changed my attitude. I am now excited, and I realize that even better moments are lying ahead. I will miss Erie, but like the quote said, I will bring the best of it with me. 


Well duty calls... I just wanted this quote somewhere I could find it easily.


**Edited to add... Sorry kids started going crazy and I forgot to cite the quote. It's from Jeffery R. Holland, in an address to BYU students. http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=12522  You can read the entire talk here... and it has a lot of gems in it.

5.03.2012

insomnia.

I don't know what it is. Something happens in my brain if I get woken up in the middle of the night... and I am completely unable to fall back to sleep. It is the most frustrating thing in the world. Last night Nate woke up around 1. He fussed and whined, and was unhappy until I finally got him back to sleep around 1:45. As soon as I laid back down I knew I wouldn't be able to fall back to sleep. I tried to fight it. Just count backwards from like 9,999,999... deep breathe. Hypnosis. Nothing. Wide awake, mind racing, as I watched the clock... 2:00, 3:00, 4:00... finally just after 5am, I dozed off.

I can literally lay there and not move a muscle, with my eyes closed, for an entire hour and not fall asleep.  I try to do all sorts of mental tricks. I pray. I put a sleeping ap on my phone. When whatever shifts in my brain, shifts, it seems like no matter what I do, sleep will not come. Frustrating! So... I fall asleep sometime shortly after 5:00am. at 7:00 Nathan woke up crying. I get up and bring him in bed to nurse. I sleepily feed him... and then he starts whining. Making grumpy little sounds... and then projectile vomits all over me. And himself. And my bed. Literally emptied the entire contents of his stomach, I am sure. It's all over him and me. I start to undress him, and realize he also pooped. Like a major blowout. So with two hours of sleep, I get to clean massive amounts of puke and poop before 8:00am.

What better job is there, than motherhood?

Olivia also woke up in a mood. She screamed in Abigail's ear. And is convinced Abigail is just trying to get her in trouble. I don't think Abigail can even comprehend that yet... making up lies to get her sister in trouble... no, I don't think so. But Olivia is very hurt that I am believing Abigail.

Anyway, even though it's only 8:30am, and I only got 2 hours of sleep last night, I am still super happy. Know why? This time next week I will be in NYC!!!! Wednesday night Aaron and I are going to go see Newsies! And then spend the night at my cousins apartment and do all kinds of new yorky stuff. I am super super excited. Oh, and I'm leaving all three children behind! So so so grateful for wonderful family willing to watch my crazy brood.

4.30.2012

Super Hero Night!

We love our local Chick-Fil-A.
They always have something fun going on.
Last week they had super hero night.
My girls and I spent the afternoon cutting up an old sheet to make capes and masks.
Then when we got there they had free face painting.
It was basically awesome.
Olivia wanted a rainbow mask.
And so of course Abigail also wanted a rainbow.


Oh hai Jody in the background! What up girl?

See the silver "necklace" under her cape? It's just some random string she found, but it looks like my Vintage Pearl necklace that I wear all the time... and so she wears this all the time. It makes me smile.

Please ignore the overflowing closet behind her!

In unrelated news -- I was talking to Nanny (what I call my maternal grandmother) on the phone Friday night at 9:00PM. Know what she was doing? Vacuuming under her mattress, and under her bed. There is no room to put the mattress, and she can't lift it all the way up so she rests it on her back. She told me she looked like a cavewoman, hunched over with the mattress on her back. Did I mention, she's 80?! Does this mental picture make anyone else crack up? I am young and able -- and I have never, not once, ever vacuumed the space between my mattress and box spring. When I told her so, she couldn't believe it. It's probably a good thing she lives 450 miles away, because I think if she saw my laundry room right now she would literally fall over. I hope this doesn't sound like I am mocking her. There is no one I respect more than Nanny. I wish somehow mattress vacuuming was genetic, and that I somehow got the gene, but I did not. Instead, I have to try to just follow her example, and do my best. Truth be told, I am a horrible housekeeper. It's a daily struggle. I pretty much wait until everything is so horrible I can't stand it any more, and then I clean like a maniac for a day or two. And I swear, this time I am going to stay on top of it. I will never let it get super messy again!.... and then it does. And I don't have energy to clean it... until it gets so bad I can't stand it anymore so I clean like a maniac... and this cycle repeats. Today is a clean like a maniac day - as Mondays usually are. Something about weekends... Anyway, today when I get too tired to finish cleaning, I will think of my 80 year old grandmother vacuuming her mattress and it will give me the motivation to keep going.

4.28.2012

Dinner

My kids help me cook dinner almost every night. Last night we had baked potatoes. Olivia washed the potatoes, wrapped them in foil, pushed the buttons on the stove, and even put the potatoes in the oven. She frequently stirs pots, adds ingredients, and recently has even helped chop vegetables (highly supervised!).

I know a lot of people would gasp at letting a 4 year old touch the stove. Or a knife. But really she's quite capable. She is learning. And yes there have been a few burns, and cuts along the way, but I think she's the wiser for them.

My goal is to have her completely cooking dinner by the time she's 7.

Kidding, kidding. But seriously, I love our time cooking together. I like to think we're creating memories. And a love for cooking. And building confidence.

.....and now this lovely blog is interrupted by Olivia yelling, "MOM! Abigail just poured her own milk and spilled it!"

... perhaps I've created a little too much confidence.

4.23.2012

crazy momma.

This morning I fell asleep (yes, this morning. It was about 4:00am) with the comforting that thought that in the morning I would go check into the psych ward of our local hospital. I am not kidding you, that this thought brought me comfort and peace. I was literally at the point of thinking that maybe I could go in there, and tell them to commit me for 48 hours or something -- and maybe then I would get 8 hours of sleep. And when I woke up maybe no one would be whining at me for something. And I could just sit and think. Alone. But then I started thinking about movies I've seen with psych wards... and those movies scare me. And then I couldn't really fall asleep. So then I thought about going to the police station and confessing to some random crime, and seeing if they would put me into solitary confinement for a few hours - at least 10. What kind of crime has that punishment? 10 hours of solitary confinement is exactly what I need right now.

Yes - I am crazy right now. And yes - it has a lot to do with my last post about bye-bye binkies. And yes it has a lot to do with the fact that I've become the little old woman who lives in a shoe (ya know the one with too many children she didn't know what to do...). I used to think that poem was so mean. It made me sad to think about her "whipping them all soundly and sending them to bed". Now it sounds about right.

When I was in college my roommates got me a doll. Little Walby. Because I wanted a baby in the worst way. I had these idealistic images of motherhood. I longed for the days I would hear little people call me "mama". I used to walk the baby aisles of super stores and just smell the sweet smell of baby lotion. At church I was always looking for a baby to hold. I made a majority of my income from babysitting. This was all before I was married! Once I was married the desire for children was SO intense I spent many nights crying because my dream wasn't yet fulfilled.

And here it is. 7 years later... 1:05pm... I am in pajamas. I can smell the pile of dirty laundry next to me, that I've been putting off getting done for officially over a week now.  I hear the pitter-patter of little feet that should be sleeping. By my feet are baby toys, and a dirty diaper that hasn't found its way to the trash can yet. I haven't slept for 8 straight hours since the middle of my pregnancy with my now 4 month old son. The same son who I love to pieces - but have never been away from for more than 3 hours since his conception. Those dreams of motherhood seem so... naive now.

But I imagine this is how a lot of people feel when they realize they are living their dream. Like - really... this is what I was longing for so badly?? And at moments it can seem like maybe this isn't what I wanted after all. But those are just moments. What matters are the moments at the end of the day when I realize, Wow I am living my dream. And it is incredible. I am shaping these little people. Helping them find their way. Taking care of them. Loving them. And they love me. Oh boy do they love me. So unconditionally. They teach me more than I ever could have learned in any other way. As hard as the days can be... and the nights... it really is all worth it.

And for those of you worried about me - I got a good 4 hours of sleep after imagining solitary confinement. I woke up ready to face the day -- and not drive myself to the mental hospital or prison. And tonight Aaron has promised me 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I am going to sleep in our playroom at 9:00pm and no one will wake up me up until at least 6:00am. I am giddy at the thought of this.

4.20.2012

Bye-Bye Binky

It's been a rough day. For Abigail anyway. If you know Abigail, you know she has an undying love for her binkies. All of them. Most nights she goes to sleep with no less than 3. Abigail came to our little family sooner than I ever expected to have another child. She was born into a lot of chaos, run mainly by a high maintenance older sister. Many times I was so busy taking care of that high maintenance sister, that Abigail was left in a bouncy chair, crib, the floor, anywhere really, with her binky. She never grew attached to any blankets or toys, but oh boy did she love that binky. She's always gone right to sleep, at night, in the middle of the day, whenever I put her in any bed at all... as long as she had her binky. Long car rides are a breeze - as long as Abigail doesn't lose her binky. So getting to the rough day part... this morning Abigail woke up like any other day. She had her precious binky in her mouth, and we read some books. But then she couldn't find her binky. She had a major meltdown. She put it down somewhere and couldn't find it, and she just flipped.
      Now see, the binky and I have had a love-hate relationship. I love the way it calms her - I hate having to find them a million times a day. We tried letting her have it only in her bed. But that got too difficult since she's no longer in a crib. She would constantly sneak binkies out of her room. And then lose them. And then come bed time or nap time I became a frantic lunatic trying to find binkies. After the meltdown this morning, I had just had enough. We need less things to throw fits about around here. So I told Aaron, "I think this is it. I am DONE with binkies." I am sure Aaron didn't believe a word of it, since I have probably said that 100 times in the past six months. And really when I said it, I wasn't sure I believed myself. But I thought about an idea I had heard from someone somewhere. They told me that they took their child to the store and let them pick out a toy, and then to pay for the toy the child gives the cashier the pacifier. And that's it. No more pacifiers ever.
     I told this clever idea to Abigail. I asked her if she'd like to go buy a new toy with her binky. I was expecting a big fat no, but was pleasantly surprised that she agreed. I emphasized the fact that this was it. No more binkies, ever. I think we said it enough that she really got it. So we got to the store and she picked out a Webkinz lion toy and a Dora book. I let her pick two since... well did you read my first paragraph about this girl's love affair with rubber and plastic?! She happily handed over the binky to the cashier. The whole way home she talked about how she was a big girl like Olivia now. And not a baby like Nathan. I was really impressed that she really seemed to get it.
        Well then came nap time. I talked a lot about how she wouldn't have any more binkies. And she was still okay. She hopped right into her bed and said, "No more binkies, Mama! Night night!"
        If only the story could end right there.
        I couldn't believe it was that easy. But I hoped. So I went downstairs and started cleaning and entertaining Olivia when I started to hear some quiet sobbing. That progressively got louder. I went into Abigail and she was just sobbing into her pillow. I scooped her up and put her on my lap on the rocking chair. She didn't say anything, just cried. I stroked her hair and told her it was okay. She pulled her little body away from me, and looked up at me with tear filled eyes and said between sobs, "Mommy... I want... my... binkyyyyyyy."
      My heart broke. I wanted to run and search to the ends of the earth to find her a binky. But I didn't want to teach her to set a goal and then give up the moment it gets hard. I wanted her to learn she could do hard things. And I wanted her to know I knew it was hard. I shed a few tears myself as I stroked her hair and told her that I knew she wanted her binky. I told her she could do it. I told her she could do hard things. I reminded her of yesterday, and how she climbed this really high rock wall all by herself. How scary and hard it was at first. But then she did it. I told her that falling asleep without her binky was just like climbing up that rock wall the first time. It is hard. But she can do hard things.
      So she never took a nap. She had quiet time for an hour, but never fell asleep. I was okay with that. And I hoped it would mean an easier bed time tonight.
       We took the kids to the park tonight. Back to the rock wall. Abigail proudly told a friend that we saw there, "I can do hard things!". It made my heart do a little happy dance. She knew she could do something hard. I had been wondering if maybe she was too young to learn this lesson. Maybe I should just make life easier for everyone and give her the darn binky. But what message does that teach her? Life isn't easy. And she can do hard things. I felt like her exclaiming this at the park was confirmation that I was doing the right thing.
        Again tonight she was okay going to bed. It was a few minutes later that she started to cry. She didn't even ask for her binky, she cried and told me that she missed it. I reminded her again that she could do hard things. She wiped her tears and nodded. I stroked her hair and prayed with her that she would feel comforted. I sang her a few songs. She asked to wear my necklace. I gave it to her, along with a million kisses.
        And then it was quiet. She fell asleep. Without her binky. My baby girl can do hard things. And she knows it. By letting her overcome this trial I am teaching her how strong she is. I am giving her confidence that no one will ever be able to take away. Not by telling her how amazing she is. But by letting her experience something hard. Right now it's a binky. In a few years it may be mean words from friends, and a few years from then maybe a broken heart from some stupid guy. Hopefully the message she will continue to learn is that she can do hard things.
            

Finding time

It's been hard to find time to blog lately. I'm sure you can believe it with three kids, the youngest becoming more demanding and active every day. Every time I sit down at the computer my children begin to climb all over me and beg to watch videos on Youtube, or they turn into destructive little beasts tearing through the house destroying everything in their paths.

We spent a week in NJ. We were there for Easter. Aaron drove me halfway, where we met my mom, and then he drove home. So it was me and the kiddo's on our own in the Garden State. But not really on our at all. My mom was able to take a couple of days off work, and my dad had a day off as well, and my grandmother was almost always there willing to hold a baby or two, and my aunts were also on Spring break and able to help. Seriously, it's been a rough adjustment getting back into the swing of things around here. The first Monday we were home, I realized Aaron had to leave and I was going to be alone, ALL alone, with three kids! How did I do it before?? It seriously seemed so overwhelming and hard. But we survived. And each day has gotten a little easier. My kids had a serious Nan and Pop hangover that has finally seemed to go away.

And we're (well I'm) already trying to convince Aaron that a trip back in two weeks isn't all that crazy. Who doesn't travel 1800 miles in less than a month? But soon we will be moving back to AZ, and so I want to get as much NJ time as possible before we go. We've always made it a priority to visit my family as often as we can, and we will continue to do that. But traveling seems to get exponentially harder with each child we add to this little family. Plus - Aaron's break from school overlaps the limited-time-running, Newsies on Broadway. Anyone else think that's fate?

Alright well I hid down here in the playroom for 17 minutes to write this post... I can only imagine the destruction I am going to find waiting for me upstairs.

4.06.2012

I can always count on Olivia for a laugh.

Last week I bought the pre-sliced, individually wrapped slices of American cheese for the first time in Olivia's life. Having never seen anything like it before, she was a bit skeptical. I told her it was just the same, American cheese she was used to. She said okay and gobbled up a slice. Then she said,  
"Mmmmmm!! This tastes just like America!"

4.04.2012

Feeling better.

I'm not quite as grumpy as I was for my last post. But still haven't found that happy place ... I think I will find it once I can close my eyes and not open them again for 6 hours. Srsly. It's been too long.

Or maybe when my house figures out how to clean itself. That might cheer me up a bit.

Or maybe I should just tell you about my horrific dental experience?

So I'm petrified of the dentist. Always have been. Don't know why. But even at the age of 8 my mom had to give me liquid Valium just to get me out the door. So now as an adult I avoid the place as much as possible. But the time came where I just can't avoid it anymore. I need to get my wisdom teeth out. So I had to start with a check up. Honestly just scheduling the appointment inflicted me with digestive issues. So you can imagine how actually driving myself and walking into the dentist's office effected me. I was pretty much a wreck. I told the receptionist about my anxiety. I told the hygienist. She spoke rather coldly and told me it was just a cleaning and there was no reason to be stressed about it. Not in a comforting way, but more in an annoyed kind of way. Anyway my legs were shaking the entire time, and I could not stop the tears from streaming out of the corners of my eyes and pooling in my ears (due to being reclined). It was also one of the most painful cleanings I've ever experienced. And she lectured me about flossing and regular dental visits pretty much the entire time. Then the dentist came in. I asked what he was going to be doing, and told him I had some anxiety. By this point I was no longer crying, but still shaking a little. He looked at me and told me flat out, "We can not handle your level of anxiety in this office. You're going to have to go a sedation dentist for your fillings. Good luck finding that with your insurance."  I was kind of flabbergasted. My level of anxiety?! Dude, you haven't seen anything. Talk to the three other dentists who have witnessed me vomiting, kicking, punching, and having full blown panic attacks. I honestly thought I had handled myself fairly well. Apparently not! And the good luck finding that with my insurance?! How rude. Yes we have crappy state health insurance while Aaron is in school. We are not moochers, or liars, or lazy scum of the earth type people, this guy was treating me like. Ugh, it was awful. Then he walked me up to the receptionist and told her not to schedule me for any future visits. I was so shocked! He never even talked to me about the cavities I apparently have, but did give me the referral for my wisdom teeth. So now I just need to find the courage to do that. Someone tell me how it's not so bad to get them out. Tell me how it's relaxing.Or something, anything! They have been getting infected a lot lately, and I know they need to come out. But living with a lifetime of infection honestly sounds better than having someone dig four teeth out of my skull.

... this didn't help with my grumpiness. Oohh well. Oh by the way I lost another EL BEE so I'm down 15. I'm really excited, even though I'm not even close to winning the contest.

3.30.2012

grumpy

I am so grumpy today. I don't want my kids to touch me. And of course they want nothing but to climb all over me. Wah. So I'm taking a minute to lock myself away (figuratively speaking anyway, in reality I'm sitting on the couch and hoping Netflix will be enough of a distraction) and just write for a bit. I don't even really have anything to say. Maybe I can try to deduct while I am so grumpy. My house doesn't stay clean for more than 5 minutes. I have a baby who nurses every 4 hours and quite frankly sometimes my boobs just want a break. My longest stretch of sleep for the past.. oh probably 6 months.. has been 6 hours. And that was the BEST night... sometimes you just want to sleep for at least 8 hours. Sometimes I just want to sleep for 12, or 24. Most nights I probably average 4 uninterrupted hours. Also, I've been dieting. Enough said. We've been sick. Also, enough said. I have a dentist appointment on Monday. I am beyond petrified of the dentist. Like seriously - when I called to set the appointment my fight or flight reflex kicked in, I had to run to the bathroom and was sweating. When they called to confirm the appointment yesterday the same thing happened. Just writing about this right now is giving me a stomach ache. I don't know how I am going to do it. I also forgot to cancel my live class for Seminary this morning. So a bunch of teenagers woke up at 6:00am, called into a class.... and I wasn't there. I didn't even think about it. Until I woke up to Aaron asking me, "Did you ever cancel your class? You have some texts..." Worst way to wake up, ever. Did I mention these kids who keep climbing all over me like I'm their own personal jungle gym? And they're always so loud. They do no understand inside voices, or being quiet because their brother is sleeping. Consequently, Nathan doesn't get enough sleep either. Oh, and the reason for the dentist appointment - I have a toothache. I'm pretty sure I need to get my wisdom teeth out. The guy I babysit for hasn't paid me for the past three weeks. 

Those are all great reasons to be grumpy right? Okay let's try to turn it around.. things to be happy about. General Conference this weekend. Also, I'm getting my hair cut and highlighted Saturday morning. And I've lost 14lbs the past 5 weeks. That's something, right? 

Okay I'm still incredibly grumpy. Maybe I'll try a shower.

3.29.2012

Bottomler

First, you should know butt is a bad word in our Opie house. We use a plethora of other phrases, but most commonly bottom. Just sounds nicer coming out of my two year old's mouth than butt. So when Olivia was watching a TV show and they mentioned a butler, she looked at me with a guilty expression on her face (we also try not to watch any tv shows that use the word butt). Then she said, "They shouldn't say BUTLER, Mom, they should say BOTTOM-LER." It took me a second, just a second, and then I erupted in laughter. Once the laughter subsided, I tried to explain that butler was not a bad word. I tried to explain what a butler was. I told her the butler takes care of the house, and makes sure everything in the house gets done, etc. And she said, "Oh!! So you're our butler!" Which led to more laughter on my part.

In other news - Abigail says Shampoop. Instead of shampoo. She doesn't get why I keep correcting her.

3.26.2012

Pictures.

"Rapunzel letting down her hair"... Aaron's response to me sending him this picture on his phone, "Hope he can jump."

Abigail busy at work.
I hadn't made homemade spaghetti sauce in forever. I don't know why I waited so long. It was heavenly.

Olivia made out like a bandit for her 4th birthday. She got enough $ to go see Sesame St. Live AND buy a bike! Thank you Mom!, Nanny, Aunt Marita and Aunt Kathy!

Abigail's new signature picture pose. Which I guess is better than the finger up the nose...
And Nate looking studly. This picture cracks me up.

3.21.2012

hrmph!

Something about center justification 
makes me want to write more.
Hm.

I only blog when I should be doing something else.
That something else right now is
folding and putting away laundry.
It's waited approximately
168 hours...
what's 5 more minutes?

I am t.i.r.e.d.
Most nights I fall asleep around 10.
Wake up around 2.
Feed the babe.
If I'm lucky I fall right back to sleep.
(too many nights I'm not lucky and end up tossing and turning the rest of the night, only falling asleep minutes before the kids are up for the day...)
Wake up around 7 to start the day.

Oh except for days when I have to babysit.
Then I wake up at 4. And leave the house by 5.
Or days when I have to teach my Seminary class.
Then I wake up at 5:30...
That's about 4/7 days a week.

I dream about 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep.
Day dream that is.
I don't sleep long enough to actually dream, dream.

Today especially, the lack of sleep is getting to me.
The anticipation of lack of sleep is getting to me.
I am grumpy.
And the sun is shining and the birds are singing.
Makes it hard to be grumpy.  
Good thing I'm like a pro at it lately.

3.19.2012

Abigail has a crown on. She keeps walking around saying "Princess Abigail!" And then she clears her throat like she has something important to say.

She was sitting on the floor at the top of the stairs, and I stepped over her to get into the living room. She stood up and looked at me and said, "Hey! Don't step over me. Say, excuse me can I come in and dance?" Well in Abigail speak it sounded more like - "Hey no tep ober me! SAY scusemecanIdance?" She had major emphasis on the say.

After giggling at her, I walk into the living room to find her wearing one of my necklaces, with her baby doll swaddled in one of Nathan's abandoned blankets. She was rocking her doll to sleep and shushed me as I started talking. Apparently her baby JUST fell asleep. Well I know how that goes, so I shushed myself over here to my computer to capture a bit of the cuteness happening right now.

3.18.2012

Queen.

I had a little epiphany the other day while folding laundry. I thought about the word, queen. I thought myself as a queen. Mormons have a thing with royalty. We really believe we are children of God - and he is like the ultimate King of the Universe, right? So that makes us all divine kings and queens - or prince and princesses. I like this belief. I think it is true. So anyway this word "queen" was bouncing around in my head. I was wondering if I act much like a queen. I don't think I do. If I were a queen I would not let my house get as messy as I do. I would have more pride in my appearance. As well as my children's!
   As I folded laundry I let myself picture myself as a queen. And this little apartment, my palace. My children, my subjects. And my husband, the king. Sounds silly, typing it out like this. But it shifted something in my brain. Something that needed shifting. See, sometimes I let my kids talk to me in nasty tones. Sometimes they talk back and tell me no, and whine and pout and don't treat me quite the way they should. And I let them. But then when I realized, hey I'm a queen. Queens do not let their little subjects talk to them like that. It made it easier to stop tolerating it.
       I also thought of my palace. I thought about how a queen would not leave wet towels on the floor. Or dishes in the sink. Or dirty diapers on the living room floor. Suddenly, my attitude toward my housework changed. I had pride in it.
      Queens wake up and shower and put make up on and get dressed. Queens don't wear sweatpants and t-shirts and forgo showering.
    I know some ladies who may not even realize it - but they live like queens. Their homes are clean, or at least organized. Their children respect them. They look presentable most of the time. These ladies are great examples to me.
    I had this epiphany - and it has helped my attitude. Now I just need to keep working at it. Reminding myself of my divine heritage every day. I think this attitude can carry over to all aspects of my life. Weight loss, parenting, housework, etc.
         I am probably the most laid back mom on the planet. My kids make messes and I encourage it. I do things against my better judgement because nothing makes me happier than seeing them smile. I think that this is good - to an extent. I need to be better about work and then play. There is always time for playing if we do the important stuff first.
   I'm not sure how to end this post. I just wanted to write about this queen word so it would stop buzzing around my head. I'm not sure I said exactly what I'm thinking. But yeah ... when I grow up I want to be a queen.

3.15.2012

Oh I love this boy.

He is such a joy to have in our family.
I am so smitten.
He talks SO much. He's always babbling and cooing away.
I think it's because he got to spend so much time with Uncle Ammon so early in life.
Who am I kidding?
I can blame my children's talkativeness on no one but myself.
My mom used to sit me in front of my great grandmother when I was 2, because she was the only one patient enough to listen to me talk on and on forever.
In third grade my teacher wrote "social butterfly" on my report card.
I thought that was the most wonderful term ever.
Then my mom told me it meant I talked too much and that I need to be quiet once in a while.
It never happened.
She continued to hear, year after year, what  a wonderful student I was, if I would only shut up.
I guess that's why I love this blog.
My new way of "talking" to everyone all of the time.

Anyway back to the boy.
He is almost 3 months old.
I'd say it went by fast, but you'd be expecting that.
And really... it's been a long three months.
He's had quite a few colds already.
Currently fighting another one.
He rolls from his tummy to his back.
And he's working on getting from his back to his tummy.
He's almost there.
He lights up when he sees his sisters.
From a distance.
He cringes when they closer than an arm's length.
He smiles at his daddy. And loves when he sings.
But I'm pretty sure he loves me best.
And it's good to be loved.

Although - I think he might only be into me for my lactating capabilities. 
Time will tell.

3.13.2012

3.10.2012

Olivia turns 4. In Words.

Dear Olivia,
   I have started this letter and deleted it and started it again, and again and again. I kept starting with things like, "Don't grow up!" The truth is - I love that you are growing up. While you were a terribly adorable baby, I love the little girl you are becoming. You are so thoughtful and kind. A few examples, just from today: Abigail dropped her pacifier in the car, and without being asked or told, you found another one and gave it to her. (We won't mention that you found the other one in your little brother's mouth... he was done with it anyway.) You also made a wish when you blew out your birthday candles that "everyone in your family would be happy". You shared all of your birthday presents with your sister. Whenever Nathan is crying, you are the first to run to him to cheer him up. Your tantrums are becoming less and less. You go to bed without a fight. You "read" books to your sister. Yes, I like the little girl you are growing up to be, very much. 
    I've always known you are a smart little girl. But as you grow up, I am really amazed at how much is in that little brain of yours. Just the other night we were at a restaurant we haven't been to in a couple of months, and you noticed that on the counter next to the cash register there was no longer the bamboo plant that was there last time. I thought you were crazy - but the employee heard you and said, "Oh wow, I didn't even realize it's not there anymore! Hm, wonder what happened to it." I really thought she was going to say, "What are you talking about? There was never a bamboo plant here." But I never should have doubted you. You remember things from so long ago, and such details, that I don't even know why I keep this blog! I could probably just ask you any of these details and you'd remember them. I probably tell you too often how incredible and smart you are. You tell me it's because you have a LOT of brains.
   Every morning you wake up, get dressed and make your bed. Then you pick out an outfit for Abigail. This just warms my heart every morning. Yes, as long as you keep growing like this, you can keep growing. You help me cook dinner - and you actually help! You can crack an egg without getting a single shell. You're really good at mixing - and I've yet to meet a better taste-tester. You can play by yourself for hours, and better yet, you can play with your sister even longer. You boss her around and tell her what characters to be in whatever game you have going on in your head. But it's okay, because she's happy to comply (most days). Your imagination is incredible. Which is maybe why you don't ever play with toys. They don't leave enough to the imagination. Tonight you spent over half an hour playing with a family of forks. 
      You spent the better part of an hour yesterday making Easter decorations for me to hang up in my room. You love to be creative and make things. I should indulge this side of you more often. I'll work on it this year, okay? You love to sit on my lap and look at things on Pinterest with me. In fact both of your birthday cakes were cakes that you found and pinned!
      While I miss those moments of snuggling you against my chest, and quietly laying you in your bed, I am truly enjoying watching you grow up. You make life so fun, Olivia. I am so, so glad that you are mine forever.

Love,
Mom