Sunday, November 30, 2008

November Birthdays

November is a month in our family that is filled with birthdays. We start off the month with my niece Emily's birthday, then my nephew Bryson's, then sister Chelsey's, then Nathan's brother Curtis, then sister Lisa, then sister Sherri, and then last but not least, my little Mandy Moo Who's (which just so happens to be today). So my mom organized a little family gathering last Sunday to celebrate everyone's birthday. We all had a great time and it was so wonderful to spend time with my family last weekend. I love you all!

Click to play November Birthdays

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Walkie-Talkie Conversations

Last Saturday, Sarah and Dallin were so happy to get to play together. They spent quite a bit of their time playing on the walkie-talkies. Listening to their conversations was very amusing, so I thought that I would share a few choice tid-bits. However to get the full effect, you have to picture them standing only about 8 feet apart and looking directly at one another. Here goes:

Sarah: Hello

Dallin: Hello

Sarah: I can't hear you , you have to push the button.

Dallin: OK

Sarah: Hello

Dallin: Hello

Sarah: Say something.

Dallin: (grins and giggles) OK

Sarah: Say something else.

(still standing only 8 feet apart and looking directly at one another)

Dallin: What are you doing?

Sarah: Talking to you. What are you doing?

Dallin: (more grins and giggles) Talking on the walkie-talkie.



I love how gifted children are at asking the most difficult of questions and then answering with the most detailed of answers:)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy, Happy Birthday Sisters Dear

Yesterday was my sister Lisa's birthday and today is my sister Sherri's birthday. Lisa is XX years old and Sherri is XX years old (I don't want to post their actual ages for fear of my life).

Lisa is the next oldest sibling to me and she has one of the funniest, cutest personalities. She is also one of the nicest people I know. My favorite memory of Lisa is on my either 9th or 10th (I have a horrible memory for dates) birthday. Rather than having a big party, my mom told me that I could invite over two friends for a slumber party. The much anticipated day arrived and I very sadly (with lots of overly dramatic tears) received the news that due to uncontrollable circumstances the two friends that I had invite over would not be able to make it. So my sister Lisa gave up what I am sure would have been some super fun teenage plans and took my birthday enjoyment into her hands. We went to the video store (this was back when there were only VHS tapes and no DVDs) and picked out a couple of movies. Then my sister stayed up half the night with me, watching movies, pigging out on sugary snacks, and playing games. It was absolutely the best slumber party that I have ever been to. Thanks Lisa for making me feel so special and giving me such a great birthday!

Sherri is married to my oldest brother David. She and David started dating when I was 6, I think. So to me, it seems like Sherri has always been a part of our family and is every bit as much a sister to me as my own biological sisters. And in some ways she has had even more influence over my life than my own biological sisters. By the time I was an impressionable teenager looking for a young cool person to look up to, both Rachel and Lisa had moved out on their own to pursue their own lives. Luckily though, Sherri had by that time married David and they lived right down the road. So I spent tons of time (probably to the point of annoyance to Sherri) at their home learning from her example. It is because of her that I think when it was my turn to become a mother it just seemed so natural because I had already spent so much time taking care of my nieces and nephew. Thanks Sherri for being such a great example to me and letting me practice my mothering skills on my lovable nieces and nephew!

I hope you both had a FANTASTIC birthday!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Day Greetings

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light.

For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind’s delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.

For each perfect gift of Thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

~Folliot S. Pierpoint~

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Program

Last Thursday I went to Dallin's school where his class put on a little Thanksgiving program for all the parents. All the kids were dressed as Indians, costumes complete with homemade moccasins. Aren't they cute? They each chose their own Indian name and Dallin chose to be Squanto. Not surprising since he had been talking about Squanto ALL week long. I think he might have a little man crush on him.








For their program they sang a few Thanksgivings songs. Some of which were completely new to me and absolutely adorable. Below is a video of my favorite one. In case you can't make out all the words, the lyrics are:









I'm a little Indian
On the go
Here is my arrow,
Here is my bow,
When I go out hunting
Hear me shout,
Bears and Buffaloes
You better watch out!



Afterwards we ate lunch together in the cafeteria. Dallin, of course, didn't want to eat cafeteria food and so I still had to pack him a lunch that day. But I tried the lunch room cuisine and it was surprisingly good. Much better than what I remember growing up. In fact, like Dallin I refused to eat the cafeteria food and took my lunch to school everyday too!


video

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting

Legend tells of a legendary warrior whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend.


Move over Kung Fu Panda, a new Dragon Warrior has been found....





Do not stare at him for too long for you may be blinded by over-exposure to pure awesomeness
























No secret ingredient is needed to make this dynamic duo special



Monday, November 24, 2008

Two bandaid boo-boo

Just out the door at church on Sunday, Mandy takes a tumble (which is not unusual for our unusually clumsy girl) and scrapes up her knee in a spectacular manner. After getting all the tears dried and loading the kids in the car, I assure her that we will rush home and get her a bandaid. Then Dallin pipes up with, "I think it's going to need two bandaids." So Mandy has to one up him of course and declares, "No, my boo-boo needs three (while holding up three fingers for added emphasis) bandaids." When Dallin counters with a "No it doesn't" in his whiny little voice, Mandy shoots back with "It needs four bandaids". By the time we made it home, I think Mandy was absolutely sure that it was going to need something like 8 or 9 bandaids, but once I showed her the cute little princess bandaids, I was able to convince her that only two were needed. So I patched her up and then our little drama queen decided that she couldn't walk because of her boo-boo so I carried her to the rocking chair. Then she began to whimper and said in her most pitiful voice, "Mommy, I want you to hold me." By this time, Layton was demanding I hold him because I had already spent so much time (all of 5 minutes) not paying attention to him. It was one of those moments where I would have given anything to have two of me so that each of my children could have a lap to sit on and a set of arms around them. I asked Mandy to wait a minute and then found some toys to distract Layton with.

Mandy was watching my every move and the second I put Layton down she said (again in her most pitiful voice), "Now you're not holding baby, so you can hold me."

I obliged her and held her in the rocking chair. She then said, "Mommy, do the song."

"What song?" I asked.

"The hmm hmmm hmm song," Mandy said. In other words, she wanted me to hum a lullaby to her the way that she has heard me do so many times to Layton.

Then she pulled my hand around her, placed it on her back, and ordered "Do this," as she moved my hand up and down.

So as she sat in my lap and laid her head on my shoulder, I hummed her a lullaby, patted her back, and rocked her in the glider. I sometimes forget how she is still so shortly removed from being a baby herself. I guess she needed to be a baby for just a little while that day and I really didn't mind playing along. Especially since after just a minute or two she raised her head and said, "Mommy, I so love you."

I so love you too, my little Mandy Moo.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Where's Layton?

About 90% of the time the answer to that question is, "in the bathroom." As mentioned before, taking a bath is one of Layton's favorite things to do. Another of his favorite things to do is crawl into to the bathroom and pull up on the edge of the tub. There are two problems with this little pastime:

1. He gets angry when he realizes that pulling up on the edge of the tub is not enough to get him INTO the tub.

2. After realizing that he can't get INTO the tub, he gets angry again because he hasn't yet figured out how to get himself from a standing position back to where he can crawl and go forward with his exploring expedition.

So whenever I hear a little Layton angry cry and he is not immediately visible in the living room, I know to go directly to the bathroom because almost invariably that is where he will be, standing on the edge of the tub, banging out his frustrations on the acrylic veneer. But even after all the angry cries, he almost always greets me with a smile. And even though this may be the 15th time today that I have had to rescue him from the edge of the tub, when I see a cute little smile like that, I can't help but smile right back and scoop him up to give him some kisses.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Prideful Thoughts


A few years ago, or rather something like 9 years ago, while on my mission I was given a copy of the talk "Beware of Pride" by President Ezra Taft Benson, April 1989. I keep it tucked away in my scriptures and every now and then as I am flipping through the pages I will come across it and read it yet again. I will warn you though, it is not "light" reading. This talk is serious, no holding back, plain spoken doctrine that always leaves me feeling the need to make some changes in my life.

I read it again a couple of days ago and began thinking of the way that I so frequently use the word "proud" when referring to my children. In the talk President Benson said, "Pride is essentially competitive in nature." However, when referring to my children I am not trying to say that I think that my kids are better than anyone else and I would hope that I have never made anyone feel that way.

I have tried thinking of perhaps another way of expressing what I am really trying to say when I use the word "proud". I even thought of copying Heavenly Father's phraseology of his reference to his son, "This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." But when I say the phrase, "I am so pleased with my children," it just doesn't seem to pack the same punch as saying, "I am so proud of my children."

For me, that particular phase conveys a compilation of emotions. When I look and think of my children my heart swells with feelings of joy, fulfillment, gratitude, love, and rejoicing that I am their mother and they are my children. So for now, since I can't seem to come up with a better phrase, just call me a sinner, because "I am so proud of my children."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Related

I think they might be brothers.

I think they really might.










~Dallin~~~~~~~~Layton~
8 months old

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chaos

Sunday night, my dad called to chat. Either I call him or he calls me to check in and see what's going a couple times a week. While on the phone, the kids (and when I refer to "the kids" that generally includes Nathan as well) decided to play a game of chase. My dad, not knowing what was going on, asked with some concern, "Is that someone screaming? Do I need to let you go so that you can go help them?" Well, that just made me chuckle because, no, no one needed any help, unless you mean me because with chaos like this going on I sometimes think I need a little mental help. I explained to my dad that they were just playing and he remarked that it seemed like every time he called the kids were screaming and playing and doing crazy things. I chuckled again, because it is like that here not only when my dad calls, but pretty much every moment that my kids are awake. It makes telephone conversations a little difficult at times, but it sure provides a great deal of entertainment for all. My house is generally chaotic 99.9% of the time. And even though I get frustrated at having to clean up what seems like the exact same mess 10 or 15 times a day and I sometimes have to request a moment of silence just to get my thoughts straight, I really wouldn't have it any other way. I love the crazy, silly, creative, and yes loud, ways that my kids (remember that includes Nathan) come up with to play. I especially love it when they let me join in too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What's yours is mine

Why do we always want what the other person has? Why is it that we believe that whatever another person has is so much better than what we have? It seems that this attitude of "the grass is always greener" is something that we are born with. Layton is only 8 months old and he already exhibits this peculiar phenomenon. The kids love to play with Nathan's dominoes and build little houses and forts and other things out of them. Layton also really loves playing with them. Only he generally likes to act more destructively with them than Mandy and Dallin. In order to prevent his destructive nature from inhibiting Mandy's constructive play, I always give him his own little pile of dominoes to play with. However, his dominoes are just not as good as Mandy's. I sat Layton apart from Mandy with his little hoard of tiles, but within seconds he would drop his bones and fast track it right over to Mandy's and start grabbing hers. We repeated this little exercise over and over. I even put some inside the tin for him to bang around to make some lovely fun noise, but that wasn't good enough either. Only Mandy's tiles would do. Only hers were the epitome of funness. Is it any wonder that it is so difficult for us to overcome the natural man? Because apparently the natural man starts rearing his head even in infancy. I think it is the battle against the natural tendencies that we are born with that makes life so difficult and when we do overcome them, it is what makes life so rewarding and satisfying. I know that so often it is easy for me to give into my selfish nature, but when I make myself forget "ME" then that is usually when I am the happiest. Being a wife and mother has taught me more about giving up of oneself than any other experience in my life. Even my mission, where I spent all day everyday devoted to sharing the gospel, did not teach me the complete degree of selflessness that is required of motherhood. So thanks little kiddos for helping me work on overcoming my own inherit worldly tendencies and pushing me (really hard) to be a better person.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A little Turkey

When I was in Kindergarten, I don't ever remember having to do crafts as homework. I only ever remember doing crafts at school. Now though, Dallin pretty regularly has a craft assignment sent home with him. Even though this seems a bit odd to me, I have to admit that I have actually been enjoying it. Dallin and I had a blast making this turkey. We made a special shopping trip to pick out things to decorate it with. Dallin chose where each color of bean and feather should go. Then we worked together to glue it all in place. You may notice that the first two sets of feathers on each side are orange and blue. Dallin actually did that on purpose. I fear that I have lost him to the dark side, or rather the orange and blue side. Because Nathan watches Gator football, Gator basketball, and even some Gator baseball, Dallin has been inundated with Gatorness. The poor child has been so deluged with all things Gator that he even lists alligators as one of his favorite animals. As we were riding through town yesterday he pointed out the window at a passing car and said, "Look Mommy, they have my favorite Gator colors in their window." I couldn't believe something that foul was coming out of the mouth of my little sweet angle boy. I guess I am just going to have to try harder with Mandy and Layton and make sure that they stay true to the garnet and the gold. Before the rival match this year, I think I am going to teach Mandy how to do the Seminole chop so that she an I can work together to counter Dallin and Nathan's gator chomp. Go 'Noles!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dancing Queen

Mandy is our little dancer. Anytime she hears a song, she starts to dance. She told us the other day that she was going to do a Mommy dance. So she did this funny little dance, complete with some break dance moves and disco flair. Then she told us that she was going to do a Daddy dance. She began her dance and we noticed that it looked oddly familiar. She then performed her Dallin dance, followed by a Layton dance. Somehow, even though each performance was named differently, the dances were identical. I guess she has only choreographed one routine and didn't feel like changing it for the benefit of our entertainment.


The following day, after watching Kit Kittredge (which I loved), while the credits were rolling a song came on that Mandy decided to dance to. Then Nathan, who I think purposefully chose to wait until I had taken a sip of Sprite, joined in and did a surprisingly good (and almost Sprite spewing hilarious) rendition of the Mommy/Daddy/ Dallin/Layton dance that Mandy had performed for us the day before. However he wouldn't let me take a picture of him doing it. So just look at these two pictures and imagine Nathan doing these exact same moves. Much too funny for words.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

MMMMMM.....Cookie

Layton was sooooooo happy about eating his first cookie. He actually giggled after tasting it. I think he got that from me. I sometimes get really happy and excited about yummy food too. He enjoyed it so much that after every few licks he would smile and make a noise that sounded very much like "mmmmm". He ended up getting it from head to toe and I had to dump him in the bath tub afterwards, which just added to his pleasure of the experience. He LOVES to take a bath and would stay in the water for hours if we let him. It is hilarious when you first put him in the water. He starts kicking and cooing and squealing in delight. Then he'll turn his head to the side to lick the water and then make a funny face at the wetness of it. He has done that now hundreds of times, but each time the feel of the water on his lips seems to surprise and excite him. He is such a funny little baby. I'm so glad he's mine.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Flying High

It's a bird....

It's a plane....

It's super baby!

Playing with his really super dad!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thanks Sweetie

Last Saturday morning Layton decided at 6:00 in the morning that he wanted to be awake for the day. So after feeding him, changing him, and snuggling for a few minutes, I woke Nathan up and asked if he would get up and take care of Layton so that I could sleep for a little while longer. He rolled out of bed, without a word and took him into the living room. I know he wasn't too happy about me waking him up on the one day that he gets to sleep in, but I didn't feel too bad about it because it is also the only day each week that I ever even ask him to help me with Layton. I put my ear plugs in and then drifted off to dream land. I finally roll out of bed at about 8:15. I know that doesn't sound all that late, but for me right now it is the equivalent of sleeping till noon. After pulling my ear plugs out I hear all kinds of giggling coming from the living room, so I walked in and this scene greeted me:



They were having so much fun being silly together. Isn't it obvious why I think I am so lucky to be married to this man? Who wouldn't love a man who would get up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning to play and be silly with his kids?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Little Helper

Or should he be called "My Little Hinderer"?




Exercising his new found skill of pulling up onto things, Layton pulled himself up on the side of the laundry basket and then much to mine and Nathan's surprise (and amusement) he pulled himself right on in. I think he was trying to help me out because he sees me folding clothes EVERYDAY. However, trying to pull the clothes away from him in order to fold them was no easy task. He has a surprisingly strong grip. So even though I think his heart was in the right place, he really ended up impeding my clothes folding progress rather than advancing it ;). Honestly though, WHO CARES, the child is so stinkin' cute, I don't mind if he keeps me from doing EVERYTHING that I have on my to do list (which does happen on occasion). I'd rather play with him than fold clothes any day!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I like you too

About a week or so ago Dallin told me "Mommy, I like you. I like you because you always have good ideas of things for us to do." At the time I laughed a bit since I knew the reason he said that is because I suggested we visit the zoo. So of course he thought that was a good idea. Since then, I have been thinking about some of the things that I like or rather LOVE about Dallin.

1. I love the face he makes when he is trying not to smile, but behind the down turned lips there is a huge grin just waiting to spread across his face.


2. I love how protective he is of Mandy and Layton. He always makes sure that Mandy does what she should and if Layton is crying and I am in another room, Dallin will either bring Layton to me or come let me know that Layton needs me.


3. I love that even though he is now a big 5 year old boy, he never minds sitting beside me and letting me hug and kiss and love on him.


4. I love how creative he is and that he constantly updates the decor on my walls by making new pictures to put up there. I love how he takes the projects and crafts that he does at church and at school and tries to replicate them at home, always adding his own little creative twist to it.


5. I love his silly sense of humor and the crazy jokes he comes up with.

6. I love how he feels the need to describe his every action (past, present, and future) in complete detail. This can be a bit annoying at times when he is talking things to death and I am trying to do something, but when I actually take the time to listen, his detailed monologue is always very amusing.


7. I love how sincere he is when he prays and how completely sure he is that Heavenly Father listens to his prayers and will answer them.


8. I love how excited he is about learning new things and showing off his new found knowledge.


9. I love that he never goes to bed without first giving me a kiss and a hug.


10. I simply love him.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Well Taught

I feel that I have taught my daughter well.


She knows...


how to prepare a lovely meal,




how to feed a baby,





and the proper way to put on pantyhose.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Still Counseling

Saturday morning Nathan was out doing good deeds with his dad (they were helping someone move), and his father mentioned that a new bishop was going to be called on Sunday. This of course took Nathan by surprise since he is a member of the bishopric and he had not heard that any changes were to be made.

During the day both he and I started to get our hopes up that maybe since he hadn't been called in by the stake president to have an interview, that he might be getting released and would no longer be a counselor in the bishopric. As the day wore on, our hopes got higher. Then at 9:15 the phone rang and I looked at the caller id and recognized the stake executive secretary's name. Guess our luck didn't hold out.

Sunday morning I had to get three kids ready by myself (which is not unusual) and get to church by 8:15 (which is highly unusual, as I am normally walking through the door at 8:57) to meet with a member of the stake presidency. So now instead of being the second counselor, he is the first. But at least he is no longer the youngest high priest in our ward, the other counselor is about a year and a half younger.

I know I really need to change my attitude about him being in the bishopric. It is just so stressful being a single mom every Sunday. (I am selfish, I know. I don't normally like to be judged, but since judging me to be a selfish person would be totally true, feel free to go ahead and do it.) I now have so much respect for all those single moms out there that have to do it alone everyday. Even with the inconveniences it brings, I know that we will be blessed by him having this calling.

In fact, in the setting apart blessing that President Copeland gave Nathan, he blessed Nathan that the masters program that he will start next summer will be "easy" for him. His mind will be opened to have a keen understanding of the principles and ideas being taught. I hope and pray that really is the case. Being in school is always extremely stressful for Nathan, and if accepting this calling means that school will be much easier for him, then all the single mom Sundays I have ahead of me will totally be worth it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sweet Moments

I am not sure what it is about seeing my children playing together that makes me feel so happy. Is it the feeling that just maybe the things we are teaching them are rubbing off? Is it the hope that the love that they extend to each other now will make them friends for life? Or is it the peaceful feeling it brings into our home not to have them fighting? Watching them share and love and teach each other is a miraculous wondrous thing to me. Dallin putting his arm around his little sister to help her make a basket seems like such a simple insignificant act. But as I looked at them and saw the sweet smile of happiness on Mandy's face my heart swelled with pride and joy. I love my children so much. I think I need to be their mother more than they need me. These little moments of goodness make up for every single moment of trial. Without them life just wouldn't be as happy or chaotic or exciting or frustrating or entertaining or harried or wonderful or tiring or amazing.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pulling UP

Layton really is growing up way too fast. Now he has learned how to pull up to standing on the edge of the couch. I looked it up in Dallin's baby book and Dallin didn't start doing that until he was 8 1/2 months old. Layton is only 7 1/2 months old. He NEEDS to slow down. He is having so much fun exploring this new world that is now available to him. He can go anywhere he wants to now and he loves going into the different rooms and finding new things to play with. Since he has already learned how to pull himself up to standing, I have a feeling that he will start walking earlier than Dallin and Mandy did too. I guess he didn't get the memo about staying a baby as long as possible. He wants to grow up fast and be able to do all the fun things he sees his brother and sister do.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happily Sleep Deprived

I am sure that all parents experience the well meaning acquaintance, friend, or even family member that decides that you need to be told how to raise your child. I know that even I have been guilty of lending advice when none was asked for or needed. Everyone has their own parenting ideas and styles. Does that make one better than another? No, just different. It irritates me to be criticized for doing what I think is best for my children. For instance, someone telling me that because Layton slept for a long time one night that he could do it every night and that I should let him cry it out and not give in and feed him. My view on that is entirely different. Layton is on the very bottom of the weight scale and so I happen to think that he needs that extra nutrition he gets when he wakes up at night. And really if I don't mind being a bit sleep deprived, should that matter to anyone else? Besides, I have found that there is a direct correlation between my stress level and the amount of time I have to hear Layton cry. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying that I don't use the crying out method at all. I just believe in waiting until a baby is at least 6 months old and I only put him down in his crib to fall asleep on his own when I know that he has a full tummy and is very tired. When I do it that way, Layton always falls asleep in just few minutes. And a few minutes of crying is something I can totally handle, but having to listen to him cry for an hour in the middle of the night because he is hungry is not something that I am willing to do. I have also been criticized for "spoiling" my children by holding them too much. But can you really hold a baby TOO MUCH? Is it really spoiling a child to hold him and kiss him and hug him and have him with you all day long? To me, that's not spoiling him, that's just loving him. When I am older and I look back on the time that I spent with my children, I don't want there to ever be a thought in my head that I wish I would have loved on, held, hugged, kissed, played with, or tickled my children more. So for now, I fully intend to hold my baby as much as it takes so that I hear fewer cries, kiss his cheeks as often as possible so that I wipe away fewer tears, and look into his eyes and smile all day long so that I see more smiles and fewer quivering lips. And tonight when I wake up at two o'clock in the morning with Layton, rather than complaining, I intend to say a prayer of gratitude that I am able to serve him and love him in this special way. Even if it means that I have to spend my days in a sleepy haze. Knowing that Layton, and my other two sweet children, are taken care of in a way that makes me happy and feel like I am serving them with all my heart, is well worth it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A day in




































































































































Time to do laundry. AGAIN. At least she helps me fold the clothes!