Saturday, August 30, 2008

All in my head?

This post is pretty boring. Nothing too exciting happened when most of our time in the last two days has been spent in the car. We left early yesterday morning for our long trip to Seattle. We stopped in Roseburg, Oregon for the night. The kids did awesome in the car. Very little fighting, if any. Just happy to watch movies and play with the Star Wars toys we bought for the trip. Gwen did really good too. I hate sitting in the back but it's a lot easier for me to be back there to help everyone with whatever they need.

I did finish the movie I was making. For all the time I sacrificed from every aspect of my life in the last week at least I got the blasted thing finished! But watching it with the boys in the van made me realize it's not as complete as it could be. I didn't think I rushed to finish but I did. So I want to rearrange a few clips and add a bunch more and I think it will be better.

Parker went all day without an accident! I was so excited. Once he even announced he needed to go so we told him to wait until we could stop. He had to wait about 10 minutes before we stopped. He waited the whole time. Give that kid a Klondike bar!

We went swimming after an early dinner at Denny's. Parker got in right away. Gavin hesitated for a while. Heath had to take Gavin back to the room for a potty break. Parker started rolling in the water. I don't know what he was trying to do but he got stuck with his face in the water. I had Gwen in one arm and righted Parker with the other arm. He was a little alarmed about the situation and sat on the steps for a minute or two. But he decided to get back in which I was glad for. He swam around like a little fish. Literally. He was making fishy faces.

Gavin eventually found the courage to let me help him into the water. I tried to hold onto him long enough for him to feel safe but not so long that he was dependent on me. He did start swimming around and having fun before too long. Part of his homework assignment is to dictate a sentence about the day and draw a picture. Since he did swim he actually had something to say!

It took forever to get the kids to fall asleep. They were too excited about going to Grandma and Grandpa's house. They traveled really well today too. My favorite argument between the boys was when Gavin was saying it was a TV screen and Parker was saying it was just a screen, not a TV. Gavin growled that it was a TV screen and Parker calmly said, "No fighting Gavin." I had to laugh at that.

We made it to Grandma and Grandpa's house at a decent time considering how late we left the hotel this morning. The boys had a blast discovering all the toys while Heath and Grandpa finished watching the BYU game. Heath listened to it on his laptop while we drove.

It was rainy off and on as we drove through Oregon today. I was so cold all day. I'm freezing now that we're here. But I really think it's all in my head. It's my tradition to be so cold at Heath's parents' house. I have been wearing my jacket since our first rest area stop this morning. And I want to live in the Northwest!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

All about Little G

Garrett used to be called G until Gavin was born. Now Garrett is Big G and Gavin is Little G. This is all about Little G.

Gavin was playing with his toys. He told me that Dad was locked in the jar. He said that I put him there because he was doing something he wasn't supposed to do. I asked if that's why I locked Dad in the jar. He said yes! Look out Heath. If you don't shape up I may lock you in a jar!

Gavin: I'm itchy.
Me: Why are you itchy?
Gavin: That's what happens when I'm here.
Me: I'm sorry you are allergic to our house!
Gavin: That's what happens when I have a family and I'm not a baby anymore.

Yesterday Gavin made a gingerbread man in school. He was so excited to eat it today. When I picked him up from school he said he didn't get to eat it because they couldn't find the gingerbread man. He kept talking about looking all over the school for a gingerbread man and something about someone must have taken him. I kept saying how sorry I was that he didn't get to eat it. I thought it was strange though. Especially since Gavin made it sound like his teacher took the entire class to find who stole the gingerbread man. When I picked him up he was coming back from the computer lab.

Apparently I'm really slow with recognizing fairy tales because it finally dawned on me when we pulled into the driveway that the class was acting out The Gingerbread Man story. You know the one - run run run as fast as you can. You can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man! His stories made a little more sense after we got home. He talked about walking all over the school and reading notes from the gingerbread man. Gavin is hard to understand sometimes because his mind works faster than his mouth. But what a creative way for a kindergarten class to learn that story!!!

After we did his homework Gavin wanted me to help him type a letter "to his teacher." I hope he doesn't really have to do that because he sent the note via Playhouse Disney to Mr. Alligator Manners! It said: dear gavin first day of school find gingerbread man
and he sent it! That kid cracks me up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Day pictures




Gavin is in Kindergarten!

Today was Gavin's official first day of school. Yesterday was a one hour practice run where I stayed with him. He learned about the bathrooms and other important things like that yesterday so today they could just get into school. His teacher is very sweet. She has been teaching for 37 years and is retiring at the end of this school year. I learned that yesterday but she told the parents again today. I think she said it because there were so many dads there today and only moms yesterday. Anyway, she teared up today. She said it may be an emotional year for her because she loves what she does. It's very obvious she loves teaching kindergarten.

Yesterday we took pictures of Gavin since he didn't have to go to school until 10 am. I can't get the computer to read the card though. I will have to post pictures later. He is so excited for school. The summer program he did completely boosted his confidence. He is not nervous at all about school. The backpack fairy visited our house last night leaving Gavin 2 new shirts. That was exciting. So Gavin chose one to wear and took the other as his favorite shirt. The kids were supposed to bring their favorite shirt today. Gavin said they drew a picture of their shirts.

Today Parker was having a hard time waiting around so long for the parents to be excused. I understand the purpose of inviting the parents and families in for a few minutes to assure them their student will be ok. But at the same time I thought just tear the bandaid off already. Gavin is fine, I'm fine, but Parker and Gwen are having trouble adjusting and understanding what is going on and lingering is not helping them!!!

Gavin was super talkative when I picked him up. It took about a week of him going to the summer program for him to talk without having to be prompted so much. So I was impressed that he was excited to tell me everything that happened today. His favorite activity was making the gingerbread men. He told me he gets to eat his tomorrow. I asked him if he made any new friends and he said, "Oh, I forgotted to make friends today!" I told him to just try again tomorrow. What a cutie.

I told his teacher that Gavin will miss about 7 days of school while we are visiting Grandma and Grandpa. She is working on a homework contract for us of little things he needs to do everyday while we are gone. Stuff like bringing back souvenirs from Grandma and Grandpa's house and fun things like that. She said that if he completes the homework the school can still get credit for him being there even though he is missing so much. I'm all for it.

I heard that Mrs. Williams gives a lot of homework but if it gets to be too much or whatever then I can just give her a little note and she will understand. I have heard a lot of negativity from parents about their kindergartener having to do homework. I have decided to keep an open mind because I have also heard such wonderful things about the school district here. Stuff like the public schools are better than the private schools, people in neighboring cities used to try to cheat to get their kids into this school district rather than the one they belong to. I would imagine that kindergarten homework is more to get them used to doing homework. I am fine with it now.

The funniest thing about Gavin's class is there is another Gavin. And if that isn't interesting enough the other Gavin's last name starts with W! What are the chances? The mom and I worked it out. She said her Gavin would go by Gavin W while mine could be called Gavin. We thought Gavin W-e and Gavin W-a was a bit of a mouthful.

I was impressed that Mrs. Williams celebrated Gavin's birthday along with another little boy who also has a July birthday. They got to wear crowns and be kings for a day. I'm loving this whole experience already. I just wish I could get the pictures off the card.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monk

We like to joke that Parker is a little Monk. (the obsessive compulsive detective on USA's comedy/drama Monk) Parker can be a little obsessed with tidiness when he eats. It's hysterical!

He sits right in front of the counter when we eat. It's really easy for him to grab paper towels or pooper towels as he calls them. He grabbed one tonight at dinner. Instead of sitting back down he started wiping Gavin's face! Heath and I could not stop laughing. Gavin was so surprised he didn't quite know what to do. Parker saw us laughing and joined in saying, "That's silly."

Later I had to give Parker a high five because he actually pronounced Gavin's name correctly for the first time. No more Gayeah. Now he can say Gavin. Heath teased me about being worried that Parker doesn't speak clearly. Which is funny because Heath gets as flustered as I do when he doesn't know what Parker says and Parker keeps repeating it over and over with the volume increasing each time. I guess talking loudly is a universal mistake people make thinking others will understand if they could only hear it louder!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Gwen is 6 months old!

Is that amazing? I can't believe she has been with us for half a year. It seemed to be forever before I was 6 months along with her pregnancy and now she's been alive for that long!

Of course I just got back from the doctor for her well baby check up. She weighs 18 lbs 15 oz which is the 90th percentile. She is 28.5 inches tall which is 95%. She is already working on her 7 month goals. This girl just seems to continue to be very advanced.

Dr. Smith started talking about how she recently read that second and third siblings supposedly have lower IQ's than the first child in a family. She pretty much concluded that it's total bunk. I had heard that before too and I have never agreed that the oldest is the smartest. I think the oldest child has different experiences which may make it seem like they are smarter but I don't think they really are.

All 3 of my kids are very different. Gavin is computer savvy and technology driven. He builds amazing things with his blocks. He has a very solid concept of space. He is very observant and tends to get involved later than most people because he's busy watching.

Parker is curious and learns by doing. If he sees it once he's all over trying it himself. He used to be better at Wii than Gavin but Gavin is catching up now. Parker also taught himself how to pee standing up because he sees Gavin do it. Parker doesn't build things as often as he imagines conversations with his toys. He will make the Little People get on the bus through the door and not the open roof. The Little People Pirates get on the ship through the door too.

Gwen is also very curious. She seems to learn by touching things and manipulating them to see how they work. I'm very interested in these things about my kids because part of my education was learning how people learn and teaching to different learning styles.

For as different as my kids are, they really are identical triplets 2 years apart. I used to be able to tell my kids apart. But importing pictures and video into Windows Movie Maker has made me realize just how similar they look. I rely more heavily on hair color, texture, and background cues to figure out which baby I'm actually looking at! Bathtub pics are the hardest to determine without those cues and of course dates.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

six minutes???

I have been working on the home made DVD for the boys for our trip to Seattle. I can't believe all the time I have been finding to spend on it and I'm only up to 6 minutes! What? Heath was right, this does take forever. I'm a little addicted to the whole process though. It's fun.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

If at first you don't succeed . . .

maybe it was a dumb idea! Ha ha, I'm kidding! The routine chart didn't work as well as I had hoped but the issues that came up were really no surprise.

The alarm clock didn't get set for an earlier time. I hate our alarm clock because it's for gadget junkies and not the general idiot consumer like me! I couldn't figure it out last night. Heath was practically asleep when I asked him how to do it so he was no help until he did it for me this morning. So the saying applies: If you keep doing what you've always done you'll keep getting what you've always got. I was ready at the same time today as yesterday.

Parker was up as soon as Heath and I were up. I wish I had a better reaction to the fact that he is up too early every morning. But I'm so annoyed when I can't even have 20 minutes all to myself to exercise in the morning. Parker could stop taking a nap if he would ever sleep at night. He comes up with every excuse in the world to be up for an extra hour or two after we put the boys to bed. Gavin is so tired he sleeps through all of the drama. Then guess who's up at 6:00 am the next day? Parker. That kid is exhausting. I love him but I'm tired already.

The final issue with my fabulous idea is how I put it together. I glued the pictures across 2 file folders in a straight line. One chart is for their bedroom the other is for downstairs. I thought that I was so smart breaking up the routine like that. I thought it would keep them from using the chart as an excuse to not get things done downstairs. So as soon as they are dressed they should tell me to get them breakfast and the rest of the routine is downstairs.

Things unraveled a bit when Parker woke up so stinking early and wouldn't follow the chart. No surprise there. The chart was really created for Gavin. But what you do for Peter you must do for Paul. Then Parker said he needed help moving his piece downstairs. Why? Because the Velcro was too sticky. He had ripped it off of his piece trying to unfasten it from the Velcro on the chart. At first I thought, trust Parker to ruin something so early on. But then it happened to Gavin upstairs. Apparently that was why he was stuck in the routine. His piece had ripped off of the Velcro too.

I was ready to just give up and consider yesterday a waste of time but then I remembered that Dawn is a librarian and years ago had sent me a bunch of library pockets. I have used them for various things and still have some. So I ripped all the Velcro off and glued on library pockets. We'll try again tomorrow. I want so badly for this to work for at least a few days. I can't babysit master procrastinators/time wasters in the morning. I don't have the time or the patience for that.

Last night Heath brought home Arby's for dinner. The biggest challenge with having kids Gavin and Parker's age is the "toys" in kids meals. Most of them are too advanced. Too many of them are crappy paper games that require literacy!!! Either your kid is too young for the game and couldn't read it anyway but thinks it's cool and freaks out when you throw it away because, face it, it's garbage! Or your kid is actually in the target age range the "toy" was created for and they realize right away it's junk and they feel ripped off because it's a crappy prize.

Well, the Arby's "toy" was a deck of cards for a scavenger hunt. Way too much reading involved. Gavin has been asking all morning to tell him what number whatever says. He wasn't dressed this morning so I did what any good mom would do. I lied. I told him it said he needed to get dressed. The next number said he needed to eat breakfast! I have never seen Gavin so excited to do something that is usually an all out war! But wait, it gets better. He has been telling Parker all morning that the card said to get dressed! Hysterical! I mourn the loss of innocence that will take place as he goes to school and learns to read.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Me and my big ideas!

Gavin starts school on Monday. It's only for 30 minutes and I have to stay with him. Then Tuesday it's for real. I'm not sad or nervous or anything like that. The PreK summer program was good practice for all of us. I know he will be fine and I'm excited for him to go be a big bad kindergartener! My only fear, if you can even call it that, is getting 4 people ready and out the door in time for Gavin to start school at 8:15 am.

I say it all the time but it's true. I am very vain. I have to be showered and dressed with hair and makeup done to leave the house. I hate cheating on that routine. If I don't have time to shower I will try to look decent enough but then I never seem to get around to a shower later and I end up feeling all gross because I didn't take care of myself for the day. I also don't believe in kids wearing pajamas in public. Parker and Gwen will be dressed for the day when Gavin is dropped off at school. I'm vain, I know.

Anyway, I realized this morning that I need to get up just a little bit earlier. I don't think I will make it on time if I get up at 6:15 ish, exercise, read scriptures with Heath, pray, shower, and get myself plus 3 kids ready to leave. First solution: set the alarm clock to go off a little earlier. An extra 10 minutes would have made a big difference. Second solution: create a chart of some kind for the boys to see what they need to do to get themselves ready. I am reminded of my special education training and the charts that people with autism use and thrive on. Some sort of picture timeline of what needs to happen to get ready. I haven't worked out all the details yet but I will get it figured out by tomorrow morning so we can practice.

Here are the pictures I took for my picture timeline to help the boys.

Wake up! They had a blast posing for these pictures because they were already dressed for the day. We were pretending to do these things for the sake of the picture!
Go potty.
Get dressed.

Eat breakfast. They pose really well don't they?
Get hair combed. This was real.
Put shoes on.
Play on the computer (or with toys) until it's time to go.
Buckle up.
I hope this actually helps them quickly be independent in the morning. These are all things they do for themselves. It just turns into a battle of wills when we have to go at a certain time rather than take all morning to get through this routine. Gavin was super excited when I told him my idea. Maybe this will be a good thing. I think I'll make some sort of marker that they each can move along the chart as they complete each step. We'll see how it works! Now we need to go to the school for Walk Through Registration.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Homegrown

Last night for dinner we had a little something from our garden in everything we ate! The meatloaf had herbs from our garden in it. We had flower squash. That was my first time eating flower squash. I loved it. The boys did not. Parker said, "I can't like it!" That's his way of saying he doesn't like something. Gavin insisted he had tried it and didn't like it but he never tried it. We also had mashed potatoes with chives in it. Very yummy dinner and it was fun having so much of it come from our garden. Soon the corn will be ready and we can have corn on the cob. Since our watermelon seeds were duds, Heath bought one of those all heart and no seed watermelons. He cut it into thirds because I hate watermelon. He and the boys grabbed spoons and dug in! Gavin is a watermelon loving fool so he was in watermelon heaven.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sitting Pretty

Gwen has been working on crawling for a little while now. She is getting better at scooting herself forward to things she wants. For the last day or two she has been rolling onto her side in such a way that she looked like she could sit up on her own. Yep. She did it just now. I have really enjoyed watching her grow and reach each milestone. She's such a cutie.

Friday, August 15, 2008

If Only it Were True

I just finished this book. When I finished I tossed it toward the foot of the bed and announced, "Best book ever!" I have got to find a copy to buy. If you feel like giving me a gift for any reason you can buy it for me! Just kidding. There was some language that I would have rather not read and hinting at behavior I don't agree with.

My brother always says he thinks it's funny when people say, "Great movie all except that one part!" He says that's the equivalent of telling someone you made chocolate chip cookies but there is one tiny piece of . . . but just to avoid/ignore that part and enjoy the rest of the chocolate in the cookies! So I guess I'm offering killer chocolate chip cookies with tiny bits of language and visual images. I still loved the book!

I just wanted to give everyone fair warning on offensive things in the book. I have read a lot of books with language or explicit sex scenes or whatever. This book did not contain those things excessively, which was nice. A book I would never recommend is The Devil Wears Prada. There is so much language in that book that I didn't even make it through the first chapter without taking it back to the library. That author needs to trust herself a little more and not resort to the f-bomb every other sentence to get readers.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Skellig

This memory came when I read Dawn's comment yesterday. She had said that it was hard waiting until the next night to read to her boys from actual books like the Hobbit. One of my favorite memories with my 4th graders was when I read Skellig to them.

I had gone to the public library to find a Halloween themed book. I didn't want the typical Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark kind of books. I wanted a chapter book with a thrilling theme that 4th graders would understand and appreciate. Not too much to ask right? Well, the librarian pointed me to a section of books and said that she recommended any of them as good books for 4th graders.

I had not read any of them before. I chose Skellig because the name sounded interesting and the cover looked like it may be what I was looking for in a book to start in October. I didn't even really read the book's description on the dust jacket. The next morning I took that book to school knowing nothing about it. I told my kids we were going to experience it together. None of them had heard of it either.

That book had us all under a spell. It's not a Halloween story. It's scary in a way you wouldn't imagine. And it's a page turner for sure. The chapters were short and compelling so it was hard to not just keep going longer than we thought we would. There were a few times the bell rang for recess and they all begged me to read through recess. They didn't mind they told me. They would be good they promised.

There is nothing like the sight of 30 or so 8-9 year olds sitting as still as can be, eyes wide open in wonderment and amazement, jaws dropped slightly, chins resting in chubby little hands, hanging on my every word. I don't remember how long it took us to finish the book. It couldn't have been too long. But it was the most magical time in all our lives. I'm sure all my students would agree.

I believe my copy of Skellig was bought for me by a couple of my students from the Book Fair. Skellig was the most popular book to be checked out of my library for silent reading time. It was the most compelling story any of us had ever had the pleasure of knowing. Great book. I highly recommend it.

By the way, I'm totally loving If Only It Were True.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Giving In

Reading. Ahh, I missed my pastime of reading. I finished Uh-Oh Some Observations From Both Sides of the Refrigerator Door. Awesome book. I highly recommend it. Besides the obvious, I think my favorite part was the fact that the whole book is a bunch of short stories. Fulghum's musings on life. He said in the beginning that the book was written in bits and pieces over time and that was the best way to read it. So I did.

I gave in to reading more because Heath is working from home today. I usually don't blog or generally waste time on the computer when he's home because the downstairs computer is finicky when it comes to connecting to the Internet. But it's working today. I was bored so I took Gavin with to run errands. I hate running errands but if I only have to take one kid or just myself I'm more ok with it. So we dropped off stuff in the DI truck at the church and then headed for the library.

I checked out If Only It Were True by Marc Levy. That is the book that the movie Just Like Heaven is based on. In honor of Gavin starting kindergarten in about 10 days (give or take), I checked out All I Really Need to Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. That one I know I can read. The other one I have been wanting to read since I saw the movie. The problem is my kids. I wasn't kidding when I said that to me reading is a way of ignoring my kids. I guess I don't know how to balance time with my kids, time with Heath, and all the other nothingness I want to do all day! I "sacrificed" my workout yesterday to finish Uh-Oh.

When I do read this is what happens. I try to read while my kids play and they hover over me. "What does that word say Mommy?" "Who's that guy Mommy?" "What guy Gayeah? I want to see! Me too! Me too!" "Are those words?" "What do they say?" and on and on and on. If I read in my room they fight. I can read the same sentence and paragraph over 10 times before I give up on the interruptions and just quit reading.

So to all my friends who read all the time, Good for you! But don't judge me for not reading frequently! I love reading too. It's a balancing act I haven't figured out yet.

Speaking of reading, James moved in! You know James from James and the Giant Peach? Last year we filled 2 or 3 huge bowls with peaches and nectarines. This year the gardeners drastically cut back the nectarine tree. I know nothing about taking care of a yard so I don't mind having part of rent go to professionals who take care of our yard every week. Today we picked 2 peaches from our peach tree. I could not see any others. But probably the reason why is the 2 we picked were big enough for James to live like a king in! Biggest peaches I've ever seen. I cut them open for Gavin to eat. Heath said they looked nasty. I wouldn't eat it so why would we feed those to our kid? They're in the green waste now.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Right in the middle of the blue

Chandler to his crazy roommate: Out of the blue? This is smack dab in the middle of the blue!

Gavin: "We" is a word and a video game. You said, "So are wii."
He points to the wii console. Actually I had corrected his grammar. He said, "So are us." I corrected him with, "So are we."

Gavin: I love you little stinky pants!
Interesting term of endearment. Gwen was not stinky. Just spitting up a little as she rolled all over the floor.

Gavin: How do you make 13 with your fingers?
Me: You can't. You only have 10 fingers. You would need 3 more fingers to make 13.
Gavin: Show me how to get 3 more fingers.

Gavin: What is Gwen doing?
Me: She's rocking.
Gavin: Congratulations Gwen! Mama, I telled Gwen congratulations.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Modern Conveniences

1. UR-IN CONTROL
A spray that keeps the scent of urine, feces, vomit, etc out of your carpet, furniture, or car. You can clean your bathroom with it. Whatever you want. I love the product because it works really well and I love the name because despite the fate I am dealing with I have a sense of calm because the bottle says I am in control! If you have young children or pets, BUY THIS PRODUCT!!!!

2. Pull ups. Yes they are expensive and yes they are nothing more than a removable diaper. But it sure beats cleaning up potty training accidents out of underwear. It's peace of mind on when you are out of the house or if someone else is watching your child. I don't believe in making other people help with potty training my kids while I'm away. That's not fair to that person.

3. Hand sanitizer. Clean your hands with soap and if you still have the heebies from what you or your child just touched, use hand sanitizer.

4. Disinfecting wipes. Clean your child with a baby wipe, clean your house with disinfecting wipes.

5. Sanitize cycle on the washing machine. It keeps your towels smelling fresh and it cleans . . . whatever out of your clothes.

"If you have blood on your shirt, maybe laundry isn't your biggest problem. Maybe you should hide the body before you do the wash!" Jerry Seinfeld

6. Video baby monitors. When you hear a weird sound you can actually see what it is without entering the room - your baby choking on his/her toes or being abducted by aliens or whatever.

I've thought about this for a while and I can't really come up with any more favorite modern conveniences right now. Although I'm sure there are a lot that mean a lot to different people.

Gavin's Stories

I tried to e-mail these stories to Dawn but the attachment isn't opening. Dawn, this is especially for you! The following happened on Friday afternoon.

Instead of having Gavin dictate a letter to me for his countdown to kindergarten activity, I had him dictate stories. I punctuated as best I could but his stories are nothing but one long run on sentence with a million “ands.” He is now illustrating his stories. Of course the pictures have nothing to do with the stories he told. He lives in his own world! I would love to visit it some day.

Once upon a time Gavin was going to San Francisco to eat something called macaroni and cheese and Gavin didn’t see that macaroni and cheese before. “He got to go to the what?” said Gavin. “And tell me where we’re going.” “We’re going to the beach,” said Mom. When we got home we had to wash our hands before we took a picture and then after the pictures we went to bed and got pajamas on and when I woke up I had a cool trip to a park. I had never been to that park before and I was excited and the park got funner and funner. I was playing the cardboard game and it was fun. When I slide on it I got busy and next time I went there tomorrow and I went to happily ever after. The End.

Gavin Gavin Laughs
Once upon a time I was in my own house called “I love things” and I went to the store called the grocery one and I got a racecar from that store. It was fun and I loved it and it was a story. Come on what is this story called? Why did I get on the collect story? “Maybe you could go on a new story later,” said Mom. I was going to visit grandma and she had fun stuff and I was playing faster after breakfast and next time I went to Fairy Land and when I woke up I went to Disneyland and I loved my family. The end.

Gavin laughed so hard all day and he got a Clifford and he told Clifford he loved his family and he wanted to go to happily ever after the end. The stories were gone on your last day and now it was time to go to the toys to play with and these are your last chances with your toys and you can win a prize and there is another Gavin book at the library about playing with toys and one called I am the best Gavin and say the end if you’re done. There’s another story on the computer.

I am the best Gavin and I love my places I can go. Gavin wanted to go to a place called dinner and I wanted to eat some hot pockets. “We don’t have that at this restaurant.” “How about some corn?” “We have that and we have macaroni and cheese.” and I think my last story is over the end.

* * *
My fingers were on fire trying to type as fast as Gavin was speaking. I pretty much got it all and cleaned it up later. My little story teller!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Digging in the Dirt

Yesterday I learned a few things. Ok, I really knew all of this before it's just funny how it all happened. Parker said he was ready for his nap. Gwen was playing on the blanket in the shade and Gavin was playing outside. I did a mother no no and left Gavin and Gwen to take careof Parker. Gavin followed me in. He needed to use the bathroom.

I ran outside to check on Gwen who was playing in the beauty bark. Her hands were covered in wet, muddy, dirt. I immediately picked her up and as I walked into the house to clean her up I thought of the song Digging in the Dirt by Peter Gabriel. This is a cool video of a live performance. The song is a little heavy for this story but I thought of it anyway. The other thing I thought of was how I shouldn't be such a panicky mother and I should have grabbed the camera. I tried to make myself feel better by thinking that she would have tried tasting it whileI got the camera since she hadn't gotten to that point yet.

I cleaned her up and got the camera hoping maybe she would do it again. No such luck. She was tired and hungry so she was crying. I took a few pictures anyway. They aren't my best because the shadows are too harsh to see really well.


Gavin wanted me to take this picture he was posing for. I have no idea what he was doing but he insisted I take it.


So the lessons I "learned" are

1. Don't leave a baby unattended.

2. Don't think a 5 year old is a good babysitter.

3. Don't think that you can recapture the moment. Once it's over it's over.

4. Reading in such harsh shadows and sun can give you a headache. I felt lousy until this morning!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Memory Game

Got this from a friend of mine, Heidi.

1. Add a comment to this post on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn’t matter if you knew me a little or a lot…anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It’s actually pretty cool (and funny) to see the responses.

If you leave a memory about me, I’ll assume you’re playing the game and I’ll come to your blog and leave one about you.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Enlightenment

I don't read for myself very often because I choose to spend my free time doing other things like blogging, scrapbooking, cleaning, etc. I also tend to be a very obsessive person so whatever I'm doing is the only thing I have attention for. When I read that is all I do until I'm done with the book. To me, reading is a way of ignoring my kids. So I just don't do it very often.

Recently my sister in law, Deanna, was telling me about a book she read titled, "The woman who can't forget." It sounded interesting. Yesterday Heath e-mailed me pictures of two of his co-workers and their new babies. As soon as I saw the blue drape my mind went back to all 3 of my c-section deliveries. I felt sick to my stomach as I remembered the smell of the operating room. I remembered that hit by a truck feeling of having a baby surgically removed. I remembered in great detail everything about having a baby. And suddenly I remembered the book Deanna told me about.

Now I know maybe some of those memories are fresh in my mind because I just had a c-section 5 months ago. But when Heath told me about the e-mail he got saying his co-worker's wife had her water break and contractions were 5 minutes apart so he wasn't going to work the next day, I remembered labor. I vividly remembered the awful 23 hours of labor I experienced with Parker 3 years ago that ended in surgery.

I feel like I'm cursed with my memory sometimes. Randomly I will remember entire arguments I've had with people years ago or other entire experiences like meeting Heath or whatever. Many of my memories are associated with the clothes I wore. My family teases me that I remember what I was wearing the first day of school in first grade or on some random Tuesday!

So I thought it would be interesting to read about someone else who's memory is more complete than my own. This woman remembers the food she ate on specific dates as well as major news. You just tell her the date and she remembers it all. When I looked the book up on the library's website it was only available as an audio book. I didn't want to be read to so maybe I will get it for our trip to Seattle.

I still wanted to read something. So I checked out Uh-Oh by Robert Fulghum. I read a few of his books when I was in high school and I really liked them. I'm not very far into the book. But I'm realizing where I get my writing style from. I'll have to post more thoughts on this later but I love how he compares his writing to the Essays of Montaigne. "Montaigne coined the word "essai" from the French verb "essayer" meaning to try in the sense of testing thought and experience for merit." Fulghum says, "Montaigne meant to sort through his life as truthfully as possible. And to try to understand himself and his world as he went along, without coming to any final conclusions. He focused on means, not ends." My new quote in the header means "My trade and my art is living." This is my philosophy of my blog. I blog for family, for friends, for myself, for the future. I am "trying" to understand myself and like Fulghum describes his writing, I repeat myself because in reshuffling words I hope just once I might say something exactly right.

Like I said, more on this later. I need to finish the book first.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Latest Photo Shoots

I know I say it a lot but it's true, if you don't laugh you cry. Home photo shoots can be awesome or silly. I have to admit, I'm concerned about not going to a studio for family pictures in Seattle because our Utah pictures cannot be salvaged and at home this is what we get!

This first picture is out of order.
This picture is funny to me because Gwen looks like she got caught doing something wrong!

The day started out with a photo shoot by me. Parker and Gwen were playing on the floor and they looked too cute. Of course they had to look at me when I took the picture.
Gwen looks so much like Gavin and Parker and a million other family members that it's just amazing to me.
This is almost a daily sight. All 3 kids are so in love with each other. It's really sweet. Gavin is constantly kissing Gwen.
I love these rare pictures of Gavin with a cute smile. This is the Gavin I know.
But this is usually the Gavin we see in pictures. I don't know why he pulls out the silliness as soon as he sees the camera.
One of the best pictures of Gwen all night. She can be as uncooperative as her brothers sometimes. I guess the lesson is not to go out of our way to get everyone ready for pictures.
The reason for this photo shoot (we don't always have a reason) is we wanted to give out prints to our family. I don't remember the last time we gave away pictures of our kids. I think this one actually turned out pretty cute.
Here's another good one.
This one cracks me up. Gwen looks like a ghost baby. She's a little transparent because she was moving so fast.

This is cute too. Gwen fell over so Heath made the best of it.



Those were the only two good pics of Gwen alone on the couch. She was too busy practicing her new skill. I can't believe how much progress she made in one day with crawling. She is everywhere. She'll either crawl backwards, inch her way forward on her tummy, or roll to get where she wants to go.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Stunning Taste in Fashion!

Parker came downstairs looking like this. I had to laugh because I distinctly remember taking
this picture of Gavin last year!!! They have the same sense of fashion. I guess that's what happens when Parker ends up with Gavin's hand me down clothes.

It is stinkin cold today! We went outside this morning and I was freezing. When it was time for Gwen's nap only a short 30 minutes after we went out, I had no problem gathering everything and everyone up to go inside. I'm sure it will warm up later but good heavens! It was a chilly morning.

Gwen has been working on crawling. She started getting up on all fours over the weekend. She gets really frustrated that she can't figure out how to move yet. Today she started rocking back and forth on all fours but she still only moves backwards! I turn her accordingly because I know she hasn't figured out how to move forward yet. Heath told his mom that Gwen may be crawling by the time we visit. I loved how he said, "Your house will never be the same again." It's exciting that Gwen is becoming more mobile but I'm not sure I'm ready for her to be all over the house. She may have to learn to love her bedroom because there is no way to gate off any other room or section of the house like we did in Utah. Next challenge: stairs!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bad Hare Day

On Saturday we went to Tracy to eat at Sonic! There is no closer Sonic that I know of and I've been craving it lately. I see the ads on TV and laugh because they're funny but then I really wanted to eat there. I feel better now that we've eaten there. I just wish it was closer so we could do that more often.

After lunch we went to the outlet mall and spent a small fortune (just kidding) in Carter's. Gwen keeps growing out of her clothes so we hooked her up. We found a lot of cute stuff. My favorite is the shirt that says Bad Hare Day under a bunny face. Heath picked up a shirt that says Mommy thinks she's in charge! All day today Gavin has been saying, "It's a bad hair day." His hair is so long that he gets really bad bed head when he wakes up. I said something about his hair looking great. He knew I was joking so he's been wearing a hat and asking, "Is it just right now or still a bad hair day?" Too funny.

Yesterday we were watching diving and getting excited for the Olympics this Friday. The boys were so into it. They were jumping off the bricks and saying they were diving! They would try to jump off backwards like the girls were. Gavin even tried handstands because some of the girls would do a long handstand before diving 10 meters into the water. My heart stopped every time! That sounds weird. I didn't care that Gavin was unsuccessfully trying handstands. I get very involved with what I watch on TV and it was scary to me to see those girls balance on the edge of a platform so far away from the water. I can't believe one girl is actually afraid of heights but dives anyway! Crazy. We're hoping the boys will be interested in jumping off the side of the pool into the water on our trip to and from Seattle.

I love watching the Olympics. It's so inspiring to see athletes perform. I will never forget my firsthand Olympic experience as a teacher. I saw so many different events with my students for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Heritage Day Picnic

I realized that I promised to show pics of the Heritage Day Picnic and forgot! The Heritage Day Picnic is a Stake activity that celebrates our pioneer heritage as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Stake leaders always put together a nice picnic. They have tri tip and tasty salads, corn on the cob, rolls, other sides and desserts.

Last year we arrived really late because Heath usually gets home from work late and we were on the fence about going. We decided to make an appearance. We did get there in time to have some tri tip. It tasted so strongly of lighter fluid. We ended up going to Jack in the Box on the way home because we didn't really eat at the picnic. This year the tri tip didn't taste as strong but I could remember the smell of lighter fluid on my fingers for days afterwards. We were tearing the meat with our fingers since they were out of utensils. So I couldn't finish my meat remembering that smell. But the rest of the food was really good.

They had fun activities for everyone. This is water balloon volleyball that the youth were playing. When Gwen got fussy Heath said he was going to walk around with her. I should have known I would find him at the volleyball courts. For his sake, I really hope one of our kids gets into volleyball.
We talked to people from our ward and the boys ran around and around . . .
and around and around . . .
and around some more!
Gwen had a blast people watching.

Typical soggy I love you sign. I love how she sucks on her fingers!
This is Brittany C holding a very squirmy, fussy Gwen. I asked if she babysat. I figured she did and Heidi, her mom, said that she loves to babysit. We'll have to go on a date sometime soon so she can earn some money.
Tag, you're it! They chased each other in circles for a good hour if not more. They wrestled in the grass and were typical little kids. Sometimes they make me think of twins though. They look a lot alike and they do everything together. There were other little kids interested in the action of Gavin and Parker but Gavin and Parker live in their own world, oblivious to anyone else.

This is just a funny picture of the boys getting into the van to go home.
One cool thing about July in our ward is that all the talks for the month in Sacrament Meeting are on pioneer heritage. There are some fascinating stories about the early saints. One week I was almost wishing I could be asked to speak in July so I could talk about my family history. I don't have any Mormon Pioneers in my family the way most people think of Mormon Pioneers. As if Brother Bezzant was reading my mind, he said that we should all go home and write down our pioneer stories or tell them to others to preserve the history.
I thought of my great grandma. She was born and raised in Germany and immigrated to the United States as a teenager. My grandma compiled her stories and made copies for my mom, my aunts, and my uncle. I wanted one of those copies too. My grandma was nice enough to give me a copy. That is one of my greatest treasures. I love reading about her life. I love reading about her dad who served in World War 1 and died early in my great grandma's life. She had such vivid memories of him that I cried when I read that he passed away. I felt like I knew him. I love reading her conversion to a Protestant church and then later her conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I love reading her spiritual experiences regardless of what church she belonged to. She always had such faith in God.
I am so proud that my daughter shares her name, Gwenyth Louise, with my faithful great grandma Louise and my very awesome mother in law Dawn Louise.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Poetry

Sorry if the spacing is messed up. I can't fix it.
My Brother Was Right by Tyson C
I have a little brother,
and I and my mother
have always told him the toilet is safe.
"It won't swallow you up," I say,
(we tell him every day),
but still he won't listen to us.
I'm afraid for his health
as he approaches in stealth,
he won't use the john 'cause he's afraid.
Then one year,
he was overcoming his fear
and said, "I'll do it by myself."
Amidst many compliments
he did gain his confidence
and went to the bathroom alone.
However, he got carried away
on that drizzly day
into the swirling brine.
He threw up his hands
as he shouted demands
to pull him from the pot.
Then without pause,
into the tumultuous jaws
of the crapper he was devoured.
And we stood with eyes teared;
it was just as he feared.
The toilet really did swallow him up.
Contemplations by Tyson C
As I reflect upon my world,
I see the holocaustic haze hanging high on the horizon.
I see the futile efforts
of those who try to breathe
while the poisonous fumes force their way in,
and vandalize their interiors.
I hear the dirge of birds
on lifeless concrete
lamenting the loss of their lofty habitat.
I see the streets choke
on the movement of the masses
on their way to be digested
by their collective collective mores and beliefs.
I see morbid money mongers,
gorged on greed,
move with the pious intent
to accumulate excesses
of corruptive currency,
the life blood of the metropolic monster.
This urban aberration spreads its desolation
and exists on a healthy dose of moral decay.
But to this horror I stand immune,
and face this creature
with a stoic visage
reflecting on my world
in the concavity of my spoon.

Confessions of a Mother

1. My illusions that mothers are superheroes that could solve any problem, especially knowing what to do with injuries, has been shattered since I've become a mother. I have no idea what I'm doing. The fact that my kids trust me anyway and probably believe I am a superhero is worth everything.

Parker was playing outside barefoot. He stepped on a rock and immediately started crying. I got him to come to me because I didn't know what had happened. I thought he had a sliver like Gavin got a few weeks ago when he was playing outside barefoot. Once in my arms, Parker stopped crying as my mind quickly came up with some made up plan of attack. I didn't really know what to do! I carried him inside only because he was bleeding. I sat him on a chair and put Gwen back in her exersaucer because I just knew she would roll into the beauty bark next to her blanket on the grass if I didn't! Then I carried Parker up to the bathroom and washed his foot in the bathtub. I put him on the table in the dining room while I got neosporin and a bandaid. I felt heroic although I made it all up as I went.

2. I love the way my kids' minds work. I love that Gavin wanted to watch Star Wars V because he is 5 years old! I love that Parker will sometimes put a pull up in the bucket for his soiled underwear because he forgets it's not real underwear. I love that Gavin told me he wanted to come into my room to help me work. I asked how he would help me work and he said he would help me play Playhouse Disney on the computer! I asked, "You would show me how to play the games?" His eyes twinkled as he said yes.

3. I don't like to share my food with my kids. However, I will give them fruit or vegetables before I take any for myself. I try to keep them healthy. I should take care of myself too I guess.

4. I love buying them things when I run errands. Good thing I don't usually run errands without Heath.

5. I love when Gwen squeezes one of my fingers so tightly as she drinks a bottle and falls asleep. I love putting her down for a nap when she's fallen asleep in my arms. A lot of times she will open her eyes, give me a big smile that looks for a second like she may be waking up, then her eyes will roll back into her head and close.

6. I love the smiles all my babies gave me as they woke up. I love how Gavin and Parker will stand outside our room and watch Heath and me sleep. "It is not a slight thing when they, who are so fresh from God, love us." ~ Charles Dickens

7. I love pretending with them. Today we looked at the clouds and saw different pictures. Our yard was also taken over by aliens and friendly T-Rex dinosaurs. I don't know what Gavin was imagining the trees to be when he did this but he would put his squirt gun next to a branch and squirt himself. The tree apparently was squirting him.

8. I don't sleep in anymore. Even if everyone is asleep I can't sleep anymore past 7 am. That's even a stretch for me.

9. I love that I'm a packrat. Things that normal people would throw out have actually come in handy for me. I found my sticker stash from when I was a teacher and Parker couldn't be happier. He earns a sticker every time he goes potty without having an accident first. He earns a sticker and an M&M every time he recognizes he needs to go potty. If I tell him to go, no M&M. He is so proud of that potty chart. Gavin loves to read it! I used to think every reward system had to be so complicated but I'm learning now that kids are easily amused. Parker is not earning stickers for any reason other than the satisfaction of putting a sticker on a piece of paper hanging on the wall.

I have also saved every note and letter I ever wrote. I have even saved some e-mails. They tell stories from my life that are not written anywhere else. I have thrown away journals because I never want to remember those stories and I never want people to know those stories.

I have saved almost every story and writing assignment I have ever written. I had a friend say something one day about throwing out old essays. Who needs to save those? Me. When all my kids are in school I want to scan everything to preserve handwriting and teacher notes. Then I want to have it published from one of those self publishing companies like the blurb book I am making from my blog posts. Lately I have been thinking of a poem my brother wrote for me when I was in junior high. I never was good at poetry. It's all about potty training. It's hysterical. Later, I even illustrated it with magazine pictures. That's what I did in high school. I scrapbooked stories I wrote (or my brother wrote) with magazine pictures. I need to find that box of writing. I want to read the poem again.

10. As cliche as it sounds, being a mother is the most difficult and thankless job. The other day Gavin told me, "When you give me the wrong food I don't say thank you. When you give me the right food I say thank you!" But no matter what, being a mother is the funnest and most rewarding job. When it gets too frustrating I scrapbook about the very children that are driving me crazy and that act puts everything back into perspective. I've scrapbooked a lot this week (and not just because my kids make me crazy) and I have been a better mother for it.