Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Birthday Party

On Saturday we had so much fun going over to Sister Roberts' home to celebrate with her the third birthday of her grandson Devlin. I had never met her daughter Leah before, but Nathan knew her because she is only a little older than him and so they pretty much grew up together. Both of us had never met her husband before, but we learned that it really is a small small world. Turns out Leah's husband works at Web.com on the same floor as Nathan. He works in the marketing department and Nathan is in the financial department. Apparently they see each other everyday and never knew that they knew people in common. Dallin and Mandy had such a good time at the party. They used stickers to make their own party bags, which Mandy of course adored doing because she is our little sticker queen. Then they had pizza for lunch and a yummy birthday cake that was in the shape of crab. Then they got to hit the pinata and got lots of treats out of it.Layton enjoyed spending time with his little friends too. Don't they all look so similar in size? Can you guess who the oldest is? Its.........................Layton! Going left to right, there is Grady at 4 months old, Layton at 6 months old, and Jack at 2 months old. So I guess Layton really is on the small side. It is just hard to imagine that he is considered small when you are kissing his chubby cheeks or pinching his chunky thighs :)

Monday, September 29, 2008


One of Dallin's favorite pastimes is to make pictures and signs that he hangs up all over the house. He is constantly asking me to spell things for him to put on his signs. He has asked me to spell everything from flower to one way to outer space. So one day when he asked me to spell "crazy" I didn't think too much about it because he is always asking me to spell random words. Last Friday I had such a hectic day. I had several deadlines for work that I was stressing about. Layton was being extraordinarily fussy and Mandy had chosen this day to make everything a battle of wills between us. Because I had been trying so hard to get things done for work, my housework had slipped quite a bit and the laundry was amassing at an amazingly rapid rate. I had gotten to the point in the day when I was so frustrated that I was ready to pull my hair out. At that moment I happened to look over at the door and saw the sign that Dallin had hung there. On the sign he had written "DO NOT GO CRAZY". The laughter started to bubble up inside of me and burst out with such force that it made Mandy and Layton jump. I laughed for a good long time and suddenly the day didn't seem to be so bad after all. I have no idea why Dallin made that sign, but I am sure glad that he did. I am actually considering framing it and making it a permanent part of my decor.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Dallin absolutely loves going to school. He is so excited each morning to get up and go there. It makes me so happy to see him so excited about learning. I realize that he is only just starting out and that in the not too distant future, school will likely become a bit of a drag, but I hope that it takes as long as possible before that time comes. He even loves to do homework. He loves sitting down with me to practice the new words that they are learning to read each week. He especially loves to read the little practice books that his teacher sends home with him on Thursdays. He enjoys counting so much that he barely even gets home from school before he opens up his school binder and starts practicing counting to 100. He was so proud of himself when he learned to count to 100 by 10s. I'll have to admit, I was pretty darn proud of him too. He also really loves "color" day. Every Wednesday his teacher invites all the kids to dress in one specific color and they learn how to spell that color and all about things that happen to be that color. I am just so proud of my little kindergartner and how much he is learning.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Spiderman Princess????

I let Dallin and Mandy choose their costumes for Halloween. It should come as no surprise that Mandy wanted to be a princess. I was very pleased though that Dallin wanted to be Batman and not Lightening McQueen. Of course after getting their costume, they absolutely had to put them on. In fact they have worn them every day for the past three days and will probably put them on every day until Halloween and probably almost everyday even after that. Halloween costumes are always a great investment in our house. Yesterday when they put their costumes on, Dallin asked Mandy if she wanted to play superheroes. She then runs into their room, puts on the superman cape and the spider man mask and creates her own hybrid princess superhero. I think that is one princess that nobody is going to mess with :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Photos Required

Remember when I mentioned a few days ago about how my addiction of taking pictures has begun to rub off onto my children? Well, I didn't realize how bad it had gotten until we went to the park last week. Last Friday, I told Mandy that we were going to the park for play date. As expected, her first response was to clap her hands and jump for joy. That is her standard response whenever she is happy about something. It was her second response that caught me a bit off guard. After voicing her joyful expectations of happiness at the park, she ran over to the piano and got the camera bag. She then brought it to me and told me, "Mommy, you can't forget your camera. You have to take a picture of me going down the slide." And so since her addiction feeds my addiction, I happily complied with her request. Only I didn't stop at taking a picture of her on the slide, I also felt compelled to take a picture of her on the tire swing. She makes for an absolutely perfect photo subject and so I know that when I take pictures of her they are always going to come out adorable :)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Too Important To Let Go

When you can't let go of something even in your sleep, you know it must be important. I just thought that it was cute that Layton fell asleep holding the toy on the swing. What is funny to me is that it couldn't possibly be comfortable sleeping with your arm completely stretched out, but it didn't seem to phase him. He drifted off to sleep right in the middle of playing. I wonder if he continued to dream that he was playing with it and that is why he never let go.

I always wonder what it is that he dreams about because so often I see him smiling and occasionally even laughing in his sleep. He is so sweet when he is sleeping. And when he is not crying, he is extra sweet when he is awake. I think he has a smile that could melt anyone's heart.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


We live three hours away from my parents, and while we do try to go visit very often, my kids still don't get to see their Meme and Granddaddy as often as they would like. To help keep in touch, my mom has been sending Mandy and Dallin little postcards in the mail. The postcards are usually either an original piece of artwork of my mom's or some really cute picture that she knows the kids will like. While Dallin and Mandy both love to receive their little bit of mail, it seems to be extra special for Mandy. She loves it so much that each new postcard that she receives she carries it around with her for days. She will often even sleep with it. She is always so proud of them. I kind of wonder if Mandy thinks that I am extraordinarily forgetful though, because after she receives one she feels the need to show it to me not once but many, many, many times. I am really glad that my mom has found a way to stay connected with my kids and make them feel special even though we live so far apart. If she loves her grandchildren this much, can you imagine how much she loves her children? I have such a special mother. I couldn't imagine there being anyone more perfectly suited to be the mother of a child like me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

6 Month Checkup

Layton had his 6 month check up appointment yesterday. He weighed exactly 15 pounds and was 25 1/2 inches long. That put Layton at the 10th percentile for weight and the 25th percentile for height. I really don't understand what group of kids they measured to create these growth charts. Everyone who sees Layton always comment on his cute chubbiness and his chunky legs. If he is chunky, then how huge must all of the rest of the 6 month old boys be? Because if the growth chart is right, then 90% of all 6 month old boys weigh more than he does. That just seems crazy to me. Dallin did weigh a little more than that at the same age, but only a few ounces. Anyway, the doctor said he looked very healthy and that is all that really matters. He is growing well and doing all the things that a 6 month old should. Poor thing had to have 5 shots though. He would normally only get 4, but we went ahead and did a flu shot too. Needless to say, all of that wore him completely out and when we got home he went down for a nap without any protest at all.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Independence Day

When dropping off Dallin for school, I had been walking him through the maze of the school to his classroom each morning. Then I got him convinced that he could do it himself and I began only walking him to the door of the school. Then came the morning when we got to the pathway that leads between two houses and up to the school that Dallin told me that he could go the rest of the way himself and he didn't need me to walk with him all the way to school anymore. It didn't really bother me when Dallin start school and as mention I had already been pushing him to some degree self-suffiencency, but when he told me that he didn't need me to walk with him anymore it pulled just a bit at my hearstrings. Even though I am happy that he is growing up and learning to do things for himself, that little declaration of independence gave me a flash of the future when my children would no longer be so dependent on me. Somewhere deep inside I think I had this quiet wish that I could keep my children all to myself and never have to let them go or only let them go just enough that they would be doing things on their own but I could still watch them go safely to their destination. I know I will have to suppress that little wish. And I am afraid that as they get older it is going to be harder and harder to do. I wish that I could be with them, holding their hand, through all of life's difficult decisions. But I know I can't and so I am going to have to hope that they will learn to listen to the Spirit and allow him to be their guide. If they do that, I know that they will have much better direction in their lives than I could ever provide. Heavenly Father really knows what he is doing. He gives children fallible imperfect parents, but yet provides a way that they can receive perfect help directly from Him.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Promise of a Toy

It will never cease to amaze me how well bribing children really works. Can you believe that my children actually adore going to the dentist? That is because they know if they sit still and let their teeth get cleaned and checked that the hygenist will give them a coin which they can then use to purchase a little toy. Mandy went in for her semi-annual cleaning on Tuesday. When I told her that we were going to the dentist that morning she clapped her hands and jumped for joy. Not exactly how I respond when reminded of a dentist appointment, but to each his own, right? For some reason little teeny tiny rinky dink toys have such excitement associated with them that upon being called back for her appointment Mandy climbed right up into the dental chair, laid back and opened her mouth. She sat without whining, following every instruction from the hygienist while her teeth were flossed, brushed and received a fluoride treatment. When the hygienist was finished the dentist checked her teeth and said they look healthy, although because of her small mouth and very narrow palate he is positive that she will need to have braces in the future. I guess I need to start saving up now for the small fortune that that is going to cost. The dentist asked how old she was and I told him that she will be three in November. He was a bit shocked and said that he rarely ever sees a two year old be so good during a dental exam. I just had to laugh because I knew what was causing the amazingly good behavior. I think he may have gotten an inkling of its cause when he saw the hygienist hand Mandy her coin and for the second time that day she clapped her hands and jumped for joy. I wonder what other things I can bribe her into doing???

Friday, September 19, 2008


I think we have at least 200 hundred different toys in our house, of which about 30 are little toys specifically designed for babies. And while Layton does play with them some, what oddly enough holds his attention for the longest amount of time is a big bag of wipes. Perhaps it is the allure of the bright red packaging or the crinkling sound it makes as he touches it. We are not sure what the attraction is, but he loves it. So of course I took a picture of him with it. The next thing I know, Dallin is laying beside Layton begging me to take a picture of him too. Two seconds later Mandy has made her way down beside him too and asks me to take another picture with her in it. It seems that I have passed my addiction of picture taking down to my children. They like to be IN the picture and I like to TAKE the picture. At least it is a harmless addiction and actually serves a purpose in documenting the sweet little lives of my children. I guess I could have passed worse things on to them :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Model Behavior

I told Dallin to go get dressed and he came out of his room wearing this outfit. We then had a little conversation that went something like this:

Me: "It is hot outside Dallin, don't you want to put some short pants on?"

Dallin, with a look of exasperation on his face,: "These ARE short pants."

Me: "Yes, they are long pants that you have outgrown and are now too short. You can't were pants like that."

Dallin: "Breanna wears pants like these."

Me, after taking moment to laugh,: "Yes, but boys don't wear pants like that. Go change your clothes. No wait let me take your picture."

Dallin said a long drawn out OK and then struck a pose that I would say is as good as any professional model. He certainly knows how to work a camera, don't you think? Don't you love his non-chalant leaning up against the wall and the smoldering look on his face? His little hand flopped by waist just makes the pose perfect.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

At the park

On Saturday a week ago we went to a birthday party at a park for one of Dallin's friends. Does it come as any shock that the friend was a girl? We got to the party and even though there were a couple of other little boys there, who do you think that Dallin played with? All the little girls of course. I am telling you that he is some kind of girl magnet. At school at least he told me that he has made friends with two boys named Ryan and Michael. So we do seem to be making a little progress there. However I think he spends more time talking to me about the girls in his class at school than the boys. There is a little girl named Hannah that he says laughs and smiles at him all the time. According to Dallin they haven't become friends yet, but he says they will soon. There is also another girl in his class named Brianna and Dallin tells me that she comes to school everyday looking SO pretty. It scares me a little that already Dallin is noticing how pretty the girls are. He is only FIVE. He has ELEVEN more years before he is allowed to date. I think that he is definitely going to be a ladies man. Watch out world! Anyway, back to the day at the park. This was the first time that we put Layton into a swing. He LOVED it. In fact he loved it so much that he didn't want to leave it and so just went to sleep in it. I know I have said this before, but he is so CUTE! Honestly you can't possibly look at that picture of him smiling in the swing and not find yourself smiling too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Becker/Layton 4 Generations
We are very lucky that Dallin, Mandy, and Layton have all of their grandparents living and three of their great-grandparents still living as well. When I grew up, my mother's father had died when she was only 12 and my father's father passed away when I was only two so I didn't grow up getting to have the joy of a grandpa in my life. I am so glad that my three children will. If you are wondering about the "Layton" in the title of this picture, Layton was actually named after Nathan's grandmother's maiden name. We love Grandma very much and we are really happy to have our son carry on her family name.

The Jarvis Name LineNot only is Layton carrying on Grandma's surname, he is also one of the two boys in the family that will be carrying on the Jarvis name. It doesn't really mean anything to them now, but when they are older I think that they will be really proud of the family their name represents. They have a wonderful heritage of amazing people on both sides of our family that they will be proud that they descended from.

Shuler/Sims GenerationsAs mentioned before, Mama Doris' husband, my Big Pa, passed away when I was two. So our family has always been overseen by the Matriarch rather than the Patriarch. Mama Doris is an amazing woman and a great example to all of us. My Dad is pretty amazing too. He is absolutely generous to fault. And children, especially my children, just seem to gravitate toward him. It is as though they can detect a kindred spirit that loves to be outside and play just as much as they do.

Woodberry Family
Mandy was named after my grandmother Minnie Amanda Woodberry. My mom also happens to be named after her. Grandma Woodberry passed away while I was on my mission. She was another really amazing woman. My mom's father died in a construction accident when she was only twelve. So Grandma raised her and her sister by herself from that time on. In order to not only be at home with her kids and but also to provide a living for the family, Grandma opened up the front room of her home and turned it into a beauty parlor. Mama always tells me stories of the fun times she had there. My mom is also someone I am so grateful to have as an example in my life. She is an artist, a mathematician, a genealogist and most importantly a loving wonderful mother.
Adoption Stories

In additional to all the wonderful family I have already mentioned, I also have the added blessing of having an "adopted" mother. Aunt Becky has not only adopted me, but my whole family. She considers Nathan her son and my children her grandchildren. Not only that, but she also "adopted" a sister for me that just happens to be my best friend. Works out pretty good for me!

I think that Heavenly Father knew that I needed to be surrounded by amazing, strong, and gifted people. I couldn't have asked for better examples of how to be a good person than those that he has placed closest to me. I love all of my family, and when I say that I mean Nathan's family as well because I feel so very close to them too. I feel so blessed to have all these wonderful generations of people in my life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Copy Kat

Even though she calls me Mommy and not Kat like the rest of my family, Mandy definitely loves to be my little copy "kat". We were getting ready to go out and I told Mandy that she need to get her shoes on and get ready to leave. She runs and gets her shoes and then the next thing I know she is sitting on the couch putting on "contacts". I asked her what she was doing and she said she had to "put in her eyes, so she could see better." I guess she thinks when she sees me putting my contacts on that I am actually putting new "eyes" on. It just cracked me up because it caught me so off guard. But Mandy is always catching me off guard with things. The other day we were going to the park and when we turned onto the park road there was a gas station on the corner. Mandy piped up from the back seat, "Mom, do you need to fill up?" Oddly enough I was sitting on a quarter of a tank and I actually could have used a fill up. Often I hear her saying the same things that I say. She walked into the kitchen where Dallin had spilled water on the floor and I heard her say "What the heck?" as she stepped onto it. That is so me. I really am going to have to be more careful about what I say. I just know that one of these days I am going to say something that I wouldn't want everyone else to know and she will repeat it to the world at the most inappropriate time. It is bound to happen that she will embarrass me like that someday. I am sure it won't be the first or last time that a mom gets embarrassed by their child repeating something that she has said.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Last week Dallin played goalie for the first time. He wasn't very good at it and as you can see, he got a little bored with it. He only blocked one kick, and the only reason he blocked it was because the other kid kicked it right at him and it hit him in the legs. On Monday Dallin had another game that was a makeup one from the game they had to miss due to Tropical Storm Fay. At this game, Dallin got to play goalie again during the last quarter. And this time he was AWESOME. He dove onto the ball and picked it up when it came at him. He moved back and forth in front of the goal to psych the other team out. He only let one ball get by him and he almost got it too! Now we just need to get him to play that well at all of the other positions on the team. And really he doesn't do that bad there either, he just has a tendency to kick the ball in the wrong direction sometimes. He hasn't learned how to stop the ball and turn it around yet. But he has already improved so much at everything that I have a feeling that it won't be long and he'll be a FANTASTIC soccer player! He even scored his very first goal at the game that he played on Friday. He was so excited about it that he ran down the field afterwards with his arms raised in the air cheering for himself!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing

Last Saturday I didn't post anything and when I got home I had a message on my voicemail from Aunt Becky. She said that she checked my blog and that there wasn't anything new posted there so she just wanted to make sure that everything was OK. So Aunt Beck - this post is for you! A blog about nothing. I just didn't want you to think that I had died or anything. I don't really have anything to write about. I don't have any cute quotes from my kids or details of any fun place that we went to. It just happens sometimes that there is nothing to post about. So in the future, there really will be days that I won't post anything. When that happens Aunt Beck, please don't have a heart attack! But since I am writing about nothing, I thought that I should at the very least post SOMETHING entertaining. And what better entertainment is there than looking at a baby. Of course watching him LIVE is the best, but looking at pictures of him is a fairly close second. And who wouldn't want to look at pictures of one of the cutest babies in the world? Notice that I said "one of", because I do have two other children that have a pretty good claim on that title as well. And there do happen to be a few other children that I think are pretty darn cute too. But for us right now, we just love to look at our little Layton boy. And even for those non-partial people out there, you have to admit that he is precious. In fact, I think that he could give a lot kids a run for their money on earning the title of World's Most Kissable Cheeks, Cutest Baby Toes, Best Belly to Tickle, Most Bitable Thighs, Sweetest Sleeping Baby, Best Neck to Gobble, and Most Delightful Smile. And I happen to know for a fact that he is the absolute winner of the award for child most likely to cause me to have a nervous breakdown due to sleep deprivation.

So Aunt Beck, I hope you enjoyed this little ramble about nothing. We love you and don't expect me to do this every time I have nothing to write about :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Reminders of Gratitude

Yesterday was both a heartbreaking day and oddly enough an inspiring one. Unwittingly, because apparently I have a big mouth and am not shy about voicing my opinions I have grievously offended Nathan's two aunts. Who knew that suggesting that Christmas be more Christ centered, or going Christmas caroling in the neighborhood, or rather than exchanging gifts we instead use the money to purchase goods for the homeless would be offensive ideas? How was I supposed to know that there was a long history of bad feelings toward any mention of religion? But even though it was an unintentional offense they have chosen to dislike me because of my religious attitude. It hurt my feelings terribly that people would choose to dislike (this is really putting it mildly, but I didn't want to use the word hate because it sounds so impossibly unforgiving) me so much without even knowing me. I think that I have spent maybe a couple hours in their company no more than 10 times since I married Nathan and each of those times it was in a big group where there would have been no way for them to get to know me. So after spending a few hours crying and feeling sorry for myself, it was then that Heavenly Father blessed me with one of those special moments when you can feel his love almost physically fold around you like a warm blanket. I was forcibly reminded of His love for me and who I am and why I am here. I am first and foremost a beloved daughter of our Heavenly Father. I am a spiritual being divinely appointed to be here on this earth at this time. I am secondly a wife. I have for a husband someone who loves me completely and who I love without measure in return. Even though we have only been married for a little less than seven years, I feel like I have always been with him. I can't imagine life without him and I don't want to imagine a life where he would not be standing side by side with me. I am thirdly a mother. I know I complain sometimes about the difficulties my children cause me, but every little inconvenience is worth it. When a sweet little two year old tells you they love you at least 20 times a day and repeatedly comes up to you all day long to give you a hug and tell you that you are her best buddy, how could you not love being a mother? Seeing the pride in a five year olds eyes when he reads a book to you rather than you reading to him, how could you not love being a mother? When your little one is fast asleep in your arms and you hear him laugh in his sleep, how could you not love being a mother? I am so grateful for those moments when Heavenly Father reminds me of the many blessings that he has given me. Sometimes it takes a really dark moment in life to realize how truly blessed we are.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Backyard Soccer

Last week Nathan took Dallin outside to work with him on kicking the soccer ball with the correct part of his foot. He is starting to get really good at it, but best of all he loves it. Mandy of course had to join in too. She makes sure that she is never left out of anything. Yes, it is 88 degrees outside. And yes, she is wearing a sweater. Our little Mandy girl is so very strong willed and it seems that we are constantly battling with her. Sometimes I think that I say no to her more often than I say any other word, which is really rather sad. So sometimes instead of telling her no, I just let it go. If she wants to wear a sweater to play soccer in the backyard and sweat like a little pig, then she can sweat. Eventually she'll learn on her own and then maybe we won't have to be telling her no so very often.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Home Movies

Dallin and Mandy love to see pictures and videos of themselves. So a few days ago, Mandy begged to watch the DVD of her first year. All three of my kids were enthralled by it. However Dallin's interest seemed to focus not on what he and Mandy were doing in the videos but rather on the toys that happened to be in different clips. Each toy that he saw he would comment on whether or not we still had it, or if it had gotten broken, or if we had given it away to make room for new toys. He seemed to pay particular attention to his red ride on fire truck. Even though he is 5 years old and way too big to even ride on it, he still talks of it wistfully. It was his favorite toy and it was a sad day in our house when the axle broke on it. Isn't it sad that I have such a materialistic child? Here we were watching old movies and remembering happy times and all Dallin could think about was a toy that he hasn't seen in over two years. Boys and their love of toys! But he comes by it honest. Nathan loves his toys too. Only his toys are a lot more expensive and generally either have a remote or a hard drive associated with it.

Looking at this old picture of Dallin and Mandy, it is almost like looking at Dallin and Layton together. I am starting to think that Layton looks even more like Mandy than he looks like Dallin!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First Food

Layton is now 5 and 1/2 months old, so I decided to try him out on some solid food. For his first food, I gave him rice cereal with apples. He seemed to enjoy it fairly well. In fact after the first few spoonfuls he grabbed the spoon away from me and tried to feed himself. It is always humorous to watch a baby learn to eat solid foods because at first they don't really know what to do with it. Layton pushed a lot of it back out with his tongue, got a little choked on how it went down a couple of times but eventually started to get the idea of swallowing it down. When he got tired of it though he started blowing raspberries with it and spewed it all over me. It is not unusual though for me to have some kind of food either spit up on me, wiped on me, spilled on me, or in this cased spewed on me. What can I say, it is one of the joys of being a mom that my clothes are only clean for about 1 minute each morning. But then, as clumsy as I am, my clothes didn't stay that clean even before I had kids :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Baby Doll

I know that he is cute enough to be a baby doll, but I didn't know until a few days ago that Dallin actually thinks that Layton is one! Mandy was playing with her baby doll and then I heard Dallin tell her that he was going to get a baby doll too. The next thing I know he is holding Layton (who had been playing on the floor) and he and Mandy are playing baby dolls. They walked around the house doing different things with their "dolls". They took them to the "park" in their room, they put them to bed in my room, and they then they fed them in the kitchen. Surprisingly Layton seemed to really enjoy it. Well I guess I shouldn't be that surprised because Dallin and Mandy happen to be his favorite source of entertainment. They are always making him smile. Layton especially loves it when they dance around in front of him or hide from him and pop out and say "BOO".