Friday, January 30, 2009

Happiness is . . .

Watching TV with Dad in "Mom and Dad's room."

Switching the news to PBS Kids in the morning so the boys stop fighting. I don't watch the news I just listen to the stories while I get ready in the morning. The boys stood at the gate and quietly watched the TV in my room.

Playing Legoes with Dad all afternoon.

Bedtime. I love that Gavin never fixed his pants after Heath gave him "grandpa pants!" I love that Parker never picks out a matching set of pj's for bed.

Gavin consciously trying to stop chewing on his clothes. He even prays about it. See, faith works!

Gwen belly laughing at a mom today while we were waiting to pick up our kids from school.

Going to the playground together. Gavin asked to go to the playground with the concrete slide because he wanted to take his bike. I had my doubts about packing up the bikes but Gavin did awesome. Parker didn't play with his but I expected that.

Obedient children. It took us 15 minutes to leave the playground. No surprise there. But I can't physically push Gwen in her stroller and take 2 bikes back to the van alone. I told the boys they needed to help me. Parker had no problem pushing his back back for me. Gavin was all upset and wanted me to put his shoes back on. I just said, "Have you forgotten how?" Then I told him I was walking away and I expected him to get his bike back to the van. He cried and told me he was having a bad day. I felt bad for him but walked away expecting to help him once I got the other two in the van and did the remote start so they were locked in a running vehicle with no keys. But Gavin rode his bike back while carrying a piece of cardboard (for the slide) bigger than he was. I was impressed. See, that proves some of my points from yesterday too.

Gavin saying all day he wants a remote control that skips Friday and goes straight to Saturday!

Taking a break from it all and going to a Stake Relief Society activity. It was a taste of Broadway with people from the Stake performing songs from Broadway musicals. It was so much fun.

Paying for the last tub of infant formula today! Hello $60 monthly savings!

Knowing I don't have to wake up at 6:00 am for two days. I probably will anyway. I seem to always have low blood sugar early on Saturday mornings. I eat and after tossing and turning for an hour I just get up and read.

Officially losing 5 pounds! Hello Gwen prepregnancy weight! 5-10 more and I will be the size I was when we put our house up for sale in Utah. 5-10 more after that and I will be the size I was pre Gavin and Parker pregnancies. Which is also the same size I had been since high school. I could live with that. Thank you fitness ball. You rock!

Writing a note to Gavin in his lunch bag saying "I love you. You rock!" He told me he saw it and Kyle told him it meant he had a rock on his head! Kids crack me up. I told him it meant I thought he was a great kid and he was one of my favorite people. Gavin told me I was one of his favorite people when I'm not mad. Ouch. Thanks for your honesty kid.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Success Story

18 months later. A little older. A little wiser. A new willingness to try. Success! Gavin can actually ride his bike now!

He has been practicing at school on trikes. He also rides Parker's trike. The problem with trikes is the pedals go in all directions. On a bike the pedals act as brakes if you push them backwards. Today we somehow got into a conversation about riding bikes. I told him to try his. He told me no that it was too hard. I encouraged him to try because maybe all his practice has paid off. He got on his bike and actually moved the bike himself! SUCCESS!! I told him his dad can take him on a bike ride to the park on Saturday. Be prepared for that Heath.

He has been practicing all afternoon. I am thrilled for him. I used to be embarrassed by the fact that my 5 year old couldn't, or actually wouldn't, ride a bike. But if I have learned anything about Gavin it is that you do not force him to do anything. EVER! This can be frustrating as a parent sometimes. But I love this about him. I love that from day one he has had an attitude of "I don't care what you think watch what I do!" This attitude will take him far in life I have no doubt.

My cheeks are still hot from my intense rage at this year in Kindergarten. There have been a couple of moments this week that have sent me through the roof. I am extremely proud of myself for the email I wrote to the school counselor. (I have a mouth but today I controlled it.) She forwarded it to the principal who just called me and apologized. He agreed with what I had to say in the email. I only say that much to all my blog readers now because this whole bike situation makes my point for me! Gavin is his own person and he will not be forced to do anything or be any certain way. I love that about him. I will always support his right to choose. I have acted inappropriately as Mother Bear in times past but today I feel so proud of the way I advocated for my son. He is a good kid and he is much more intelligent than he has been given credit for this year. Don't get between me and my kids because I will win.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dinner Conversations

Parker: Mom, I done eating. (spaghetti)
Me: Good, ask your dad to clean you up since he's done too.
Parker: No, he just asneep.
Heath: Good boy!
Me: Wake him up!
Parker: No, he still sneeping.
Heath: Parker, I love you the best!
Me: No, I love you the best!
*Parker starts sneezing*
Heath: Bless you! See! I love you the best!
Me: I still love you more.
Heath: Who do you love more Parker?
Parker: Just Dad.

I think there was more to that conversation but I can't remember all of it. At one point Heath told me I needed to clean up Parker since we needed time to bond more! When Parker asked Heath to chase him Heath said that the parent that didn't love him the best should be the one chasing him! We are a happy family. Can you tell? : )

(the following elipses are to illustrate how slowly Gavin said this)
Gavin: Mom . . . I'm . . . bored. I'm tired of . . . living . . . in this house . . . will you take me to a hotel or something? I just want to go to a hotel or something. I'm bored of this house.

Gwen couldn't be left out of this. She screamed her high pitched 20 second long squeal and then laughed. Gavin taught her how to scream. Yay.

Schedules

Am I the only mother who finds it difficult to schedule around 3 kids? When Parker was born he fit right in. I didn't have to rearrange anything to accomodate a new baby. For the first 4 months both boys napped at the same time! Awesome! Then Gavin gave up naps. I didn't fight him on it because he entertains himself. He just needed alone time. I did too. So we all got what we needed in the afternoons.

But now . . . I don't even know what's going on now! Is it normally this hard or am I the only mother strict with schedules? I try to be flexible but I end up paying for it every time. Gwen still takes 2 naps a day. Not a big deal except for she only sleeps in her crib. She puts herself to sleep and only sleeps in her crib. That alone limits us to the house twice a day. Parker may be turning 4 this summer but he still needs naps. I have let him skip naps and have regretted it every time. Then I have Gavin who is the only kindergartener (besides the 6 other kids in his staggered class!) who goes to school right in the middle of the day. Right in the middle of morning and afternoon kindergarten classes.

I will freely admit I am a homebody. I enjoy being at home. But every once in a while I feel trapped. Like I said, I have messed with this schedule before to be with friends or whatever and I have regretted it every time.

Wednesdays are the worst days ever! From start to finish I hate Wednesdays. Our routine is completely different. These are the only days we can easily fit in play dates. Gavin's school schedule is different on Wednesdays. He only goes for 3 hours instead of 4 with lunch (the instructional time is the same) and all 20 students are together the entire time unlike the rest of the week. But by the time the play date is over and I get Gwen and Parker down for a nap my day is over. If Gavin balks at homework, half the time I don't even care because I am exhausted too.

I'm proud of myself for how quickly I do get into routines. Church, school, whatever, we make it happen. I build all changes into the routine and it works but I can't believe how hard it is with 3 kids. Who knew the ages of 5, 3 and 11 months would be so difficult to fulfill everyone's needs.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Recipe For Disaster

Yesterday Gavin came home from school with a recipe and partial ingredients for play dough. We made it today. Only it didn't make play dough. It was thick soup. It was nasty.

So I just have to ask, how do recipes work? Are times merely suggestions? Did I follow the instructions so much to a tee that it ended up being a disaster?

I have heard people say that they prefer cooking to baking because with cooking they just know how much to add and how long to cook it. With baking everything has to be so precise. But Heath has played around with a chocolate chip cookie recipe that Alton Brown played with on Good Eats. From the show we learned that you can tweak things 3 different ways to produce 3 different kinds of cookies. We picked the cookie texture we wanted and have tweaked from there to perfection. So even baking isn't as precise as some people believe.

I think that's another reason why I hate cooking. I did exactly what the stupid recipe said to do and I now have Kool-Aid smelling stoup in my garbage. Ok, I didn't follow the recipe exactly. But you tell me if these variables would have made any difference at all. It said to combine the water, oil, and Kool-Aid and stir until the Kool-Aid dissolved. It never completely dissolved after several minutes so I moved on.

Next I was supposed to add the rest of the ingredients and cook for 5-10 minutes on low heat stirring occasionally. Gavin was helping and you know how eager kids can be. Perhaps we stirred more than just occasionally. But couldn't one argue that "occasionally" is a relative term anyway? That shouldn't have been the downfall or they should have said in the recipe: if you stir too often you'll mess it all up! The recipe said to do all that until it formed a doughy ballish thing then in parentheses the mom who typed the recipe said "it will I promise!" So I thought maybe it would take a while. 5 minutes passed. Still super soupy. 10 minutes passed. While it was thicker I wouldn't say it was the consistency of dough.

15 minutes passed (the recipe said to cook for 5-10) and the consistency never changed. I got bored of the whole project and decided to move on. The recipe said to get the "dough" out of the pot and knead it for several minutes. I took it off the heat and set it aside while I put dinner in the oven. Then I spooned out this pink muck onto my counter and went in with my bare hands. I kneaded for over 5 minutes. The consistency never changed. My mood changed. From hopeful to pretty annoyed!

Gavin got out his Play-Doh from Christmas to show me what it should have looked like. Thanks kid. I know. Somehow your incompetent-in-the-kitchen mother wasted everyone's time, not to mention the ingredients you brought home from school!

As I type this I realize I should have taken a picture of the goo before I chucked it. But I could barely get it off of my hands using lava soap and an S.O.S. pad! Ha ha I'm kidding about that part! But it was pretty sticky and messy. My fingers still itch. It totally reminded me of how my scalp would itch when I dyed my hair with Kool-Aid. (By the way it never worked really well. My hair is too dark! But I do have pictures of me and my roommate, who happened to be adopted from India, dying our hair with Kool-Aid one Friday night. Amanda was good peeps!)

I also realize that many people will read this and think: Wow. What a doofus. Who screws up homemade play dough? Does she also burn boiled water? And what moron dyes their hair with Kool-Aid? Oh, I did once as a teenager. (Come on if you're part of the younger than 35 crowd you know you at least thought about it!)

Now that I have made a complete fool of myself in public. Again. I will stop typing for the day. I just hope you all stop laughing soon.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Putting it Together


Recently I saw a scrapbook page where the lady was discussing faith. She cut up a picture of her church and assembled it erratically. Her title was "Where did I misplace my faith?" all on puzzle pieces.
Her story was touching and I hope someday she completes her puzzle by allowing God to be a part of her life again.
I'll admit my own faith in God has wavered throughout my life. I take life too personally and overanalyze too much. Lately I feel bogged down by it all. This morning was a rough one and I actually wrote my woes. But I couldn't bring myself to post it. I have discussed this topic before. It's not like it's a secret. And in a weird way I'm sad that I can't bring myself to post it because I thought I was pretty eloquent!
As I vacillated in my decision to post I remembered something my sweet mother in law said recently. She said something about how it's important to write things down because it's good to look back and see where we have been. So my next thought took me back in my memory to a time when I was beginning this issue I didn't blog about today. I was overwhelmed and frustrated. The turning point was when I turned to the Lord for help. I can think of so many times in my life that I was dealing with very difficult trials but I remember those times as some of the happiest days of my life. Why? Because I had such great faith and acted on it.
Yesterday I looked at my blog book and remembered how happy I was when I wrote it. Life was not easy then. Moving to another state, having no money, getting pregnant sooner than we planned, how difficult it was to manage my diabetes during that pregnancy, the intense and overwhelming guilt I felt thinking my less than perfect diabetes management may cause physical disabilities to my unborn child, and on and on. But I was never scared because I knew I was doing what the Lord wanted me to do. I knew He would take care of me. I know He will take care of me now and provide the love, support, and help I need with this trial of mine. He never sent any of us here to fail. With that faith I can move forward in my life.
How patient the Lord must be. Especially with me! In the last few days I have had my visiting teachers give me the visiting teaching message of the month. My visiting teaching companion gave the same lesson yesterday to the women we teach. I think that was when I finally paid attention to it. One of the speakers in Sacrament Meeting yesterday talked about where to find answers. It was as if the Lord was pork chopping my forehead! Come on Tristan! You know the answer to your question. And there it is. The final piece to my puzzle. Faith that I cannot do everything alone. With God all things are possible.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Longest Week Ever

Finally it's Friday. Every day this week felt like it should have been Friday. Finally it's Friday. I don't know why it's felt like such a long week. Maybe because I wanted to see my book. I don't know. But it finally came today! I am finally a published author.

The book is awesome. It's fun to go back and see where we've been. It's re-established my faith in life in general. I have been a major cranky butt this week. I needed this book to jolt me back on the right track. Life is good and it has been good and things will get better. One day.

I plan to read the boys' bedtime stories from my book. They love anything about themselves. Gavin is at the age where he can sit and listen to these types of stories. He wanted to look at his scrapbook that I made for him. I read him a couple of stories. One was when he was 2 years old and told a waitress his name was Bert. He laughed his head off when I read that story to him. That was such a fun moment that I am looking forward to reading stories from the blog. The kids have changed so much. Parker was a baby when we moved here. He turned 2 a couple months after we moved to CA. Gwen went from a peanut in a picture to being the cute and funny girl she is now. It will be fun for the boys to hear these stories.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Highlights

Gavin: I think they're all 6.
Me: It looks like they might be. This side is all 6. Do the rest and see.
Gavin: Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! They're all 6! Oh my gosh!
(Homework assignment where all the numbers added up to 6.)

Parker: Hey guess what! I love you!

Gwen waves at people and it's the cutest thing ever.

Gwen was belly laughing as I held her in front of the mirror and kissed the back of her head.

Heath: Let's move this party downstairs. I'll make cupcakes.
Gavin: (while cleaning up his homework) Let's move this party downstairs.

Gwen was getting high centered as she tried to crawl through the bottom of the new chairs. She managed to finally get through about the time I thought of getting video.

Gavin had been asking questions all day. Most of them were very difficult to explain. The last weird question and conversation of the day went something like this. We like to have fake arguments a lot in our family. The kids are starting to get into it too.

Gavin: I don't like when you give me food and forget to give me a drink.
Me: I didn't forget to give you a drink. Your dad was the one who gave you a cupcake.
Gavin: But you were supposed to give me a drink.
Me: Talk to your dad about it. He gave you the cupcake. I had nothing to do with it.
Gavin: But I'm thirsty and you didn't give me a drink. I don't like it when you give me food and forget to give me a drink.
Me: Don't yell at me about it. It's not my fault.
Gavin: It's not my fault. (seconds later) It's Dad's fault. (several more seconds later) What's fault?
Me: Why do you keep asking me impossible questions?

He just laughed and asked what fault meant again.

During lunch today
Me: Come on you stupid hot pocket. Get out of the sleeve.
Parker: (minutes later) That hot pocket is stupid.
Me: I know. I shouldn't have said stupid. I just wanted to eat it and I couldn't get it out.
Parker: Stupid hot pocket. That hot pocket is stupid.

Yesterday when I took Gavin to school he kept saying: I'm going to work. I'll be back on Friday. Saturday is Christmas.
So when I picked him up he said: I'm done with work and tomorrow is Christmas!

Me: Gavin what did you do in school today? (this story is still from yesterday)
Gavin: I watched television.
Me: What did you watch on television?
Gavin: I watched the new President. They took him out of the car. That was my favorite part. Mrs. Terry (substitute teacher) said that wasn't safe. She said they shouldn't have taken him out of the car. We drawed pictures of the new President. I drawed him getting out of the car.

On the way to the park yesterday
Gavin: Come on my leaders, follow me! Let's go to the Light House!
Heaven help us if we ever move into a white house. He will be so confused since he calls our houses by their colors. In fact, he told me he had 4 houses. I asked about his 4 houses and he said: The first house is the blue house, the second house is the brown house, the third house is outside (the backyard is his pretend house) and the fourth house is my tree house (he pointed at the big play structure on the playground).

Last highlight of today. My new insulin pump showed up! Yay! I will figure it out tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Blogging Class Presentation

Hi ladies. I promised to put the presentation on my blog. Please click on this link to see it.


Here are the links to the sites we talked about.

Book sites

Backgrounds/Templates

If I have missed any sites you wanted please let me know. Email or comment.

To see other examples of blogs you can click on my fan club links.

Lot$ of Ca$h

I wish I had lots of cash but all we have is a lot of change. I cleaned out a peanut jar and Heath cut a hole in the lid so we can use the jar to store our change. The plan is to fill it up then cash it with CoinStar. We'll do that a few times and maybe we can have some spending money for a trip to Disneyland one day.

We took all the change in the house, cars, and couch cushions to put in this jar. We thought we'd barely cover the bottom of the jar. No, it's almost full. There are a ton of quarters in there too. We're guessing there's about $40.

Today I took the kids to the playground and Parker found a penny. He came up to me and said, "I sound money!" (no, that's not a typo!) He was so excited to put it in his pocket ready to put in the jar when we got home. When Heath came home from work he had a big handful of change from his desk at work. The boys had fun putting that in the jar.

The only problem is now I have to remember that all our spare change is sitting in a jar on top of the fridge. My pump battery was low and I couldn't find a quarter to open the battery thing. I had to use the top of a key. But the worst part about all of it is the fact that I completely forgot that I had to sign for my new pump that was supposed to be delivered today. (I'm getting a smaller model and I'm so excited. Maybe I won't look like I have some strange growth on my hip anymore. I hope it's at least small enough that people won't notice it and ask why I wear a pager.) The new reservoirs were delivered and left on my doorstep but no pump. Just a note saying they tried to come by but I wasn't at home. I was at the park finding big money on the playground to put in a jar on top of my fridge so I wouldn't have it handy to change my battery on a pump I could have replaced today if I had been home!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I get my yah-yahs from IKEA

You have to put them together but they cost a little less. ~ Chandler Bing Friends episode with all the poker


Today we spent our Christmas money from my mom. She gave us money for new chairs. I think I said I wanted new dining room chairs since we have a table but no chairs. Instead we decided to get the chairs for our kitchen and they can be moved into the dining room.
Our kitchen chairs were thrashed. I'm annoyed that I spent so much time, money and effort trying to re-cover those chairs only to have my children destroy them. I still believe kids can be taught to respect things. For the most parts my kids do respect our furniture. But they are kids and they spill. A lot. So fabric cushions were a dumb way to go with kitchen chairs.
We got regular wooden chairs with removable cushions. Only we just got two cushions. The boys don't get cushions right now! Mainly because I wasn't sure I was in love with my choices of cushions. Dawn, I think you can help me find something better when you come to visit.
My mom made the tablecloth in the picture. I told her I wanted a vinyl tablecloth so I can clean it easily. I think it looks nice. And the candles make it look like I know how to decorate! Ha ha. I don't.
Time to christen our "new kitchen" with a gourmet meal of corn dogs. Shopping with 3 kids and 2 of them refusing to nap really takes it out of a person! Corn dogs it is. Bon Appetit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

You look good!

The boys wanted to dress up as cowboys this morning. They were asking if they could play with my hats. We need to get some boy dress up things and not hats I wore in high school! Gavin used to wear my boots and say he looked like Woody from Toy Story. I chose not to get my boots out for them when they wanted cowboy boots. Anyway, I was letting them play with my hats and at one point I got the Halloween costumes out. They were having fun. I was happy. But then it was time for school and all the good feelings were gone! We did manage to barely get there in time and life went back to normal.

The boys have been going from one project to another today. We played outside for a while, then they played with the Play-Doh stuff they got for Christmas. Then Gavin said he needed help cleaning it up since I sent Parker to bed for a nap. While I put the lids on the Play-Doh, Gavin put on this lovely ensemble.
You look good, Gavin!
Let me be a fashion announcer for a moment. Gavin is wearing a purple hat with a black band and metal studs. Captain Feathersword's red pirate vest clashes nicely with Gavin's chocolate milk stained T-shirt. Please note the name tag still stuck to his shirt from the substitute at school! (His teacher will be out for a week) The outfit is completed by the gold faux boots creatively put on backwards and too high. They cover the nice hole in his corduroy pants. (I would have made him change pants because I hate those pants for school. But he was throwing enough of a fit about getting his shoes on. Sometimes you have to compromise so nobody is happy!)
This does not look good!
It looks like Creative Play stubbed his toe in our hallway. We'll be working on this mess later.

Tastefully Done

"Mom, I'm done!" Parker announced last night and I knew it was a Kodak moment.

Parker decided to dip his apple slices in his ranch. I would have never tried it. But I'm not 3 either! It didn't bother him. He loved it so much he had ranch all over his chin.

My creative eater. Heath and I decided that someone has to try out "strange" food combinations or we would never know it tasted good. How many of you have dipped your fries in ranch and decided it wasn't a bad combination? Someone in Utah had to try mixing mayonnaise in ketchup to make that special dipping sauce that Arctic Circle raves about. Do you feel special? I do. I believe Utah is the only state that serves that kind of sauce for fries. Everywhere else you just get ketchup. Have you ever tried mixing Arby's horsey sauce with their Arby's sauce? Dip your fries in that because that's good!
This is a long weekend for most people. You may have the opportunity to eat something different. I dare you to try something that you would have never thought of putting together. You might be surprised. Gavin is always saying that he doesn't like what we've served him for dinner. He insists that he's tried it before and didn't like it (even when he's never had it a day in his life!) We encourage him to take a bite. He takes a bite and 90% of the time he will say, "Hmm . . . not bad!" Who knows? Maybe apple slices do taste good in ranch dressing.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Dotted Line

Do you remember when you learned to write? You had to trace the letters or numbers on a worksheet. Usually there was a bold letter or number then the same letter or number was in a dotted line and you had to trace it. Then in the next space you were on your own.



Gavin had a number worksheet that had dotted numbers to be traced but blank spaces in between with missing numbers. So he traced the dotted 1 and 2. For the missing 3 he started drawing these little circles. I asked what he was doing and he said, "I'm making it look like those ones."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

It all makes sense now!

This morning Heath told me he had a cold shower. The water just never heated up. I have had showers like that. They aren't fun. Of course my shower was icy this morning too. I didn't think much of it because I don't notice whether or not the water is hot to do laundry and run the dishwasher. (The dishwasher heats itself anyway.)

Heath was running bath water for Gwen at the same time that I was running water for the boys. Neither one of us had warm water. I thought maybe because we were running the water at the same time. Heath checked the water heater on his way to basketball tonight. He told me it had been turned down to warm. It was almost on vacation mode. I barely know how to mess with the thermostat, much less touch the water heater. We're guessing Parker (aka Curious George) on this one. But I don't remember any kids in the garage without me yesterday so who knows when he or they found the time to turn down the water heater between my nice shower yesterday and my icy one this morning.

So I was watching TV and kept hearing weird noises. Every time I came part way up the stairs to see if the kids needed me, all I saw was two closed doors with no sound coming from them. But I kept hearing stuff. Then I got really cold even though the thermostat still read 72 degrees. I turned the heater back on (it was another warm day today) and went upstairs to shut my bedroom windows. I have an overactive imagination and totally thought I would find some thief in my bedroom frustrated that there is nothing worth stealing!

Thank heavens I saw nothing out of the ordinary. The kids' doors were still shut and there was still silence. I had just finished shutting the second window when I heard the noise again. I turned around and there was Parker at the gate. I jumped a mile since I was not expecting to see him there. The noise I heard was him opening his door to tell me he wanted to listen to the CD again. He knows he's supposed to stay in bed so I'm guessing he was doing his nearly nightly ritual of lurking around until we tell him to go back to bed. Crazy kid! You would think by now I would know that if there is anything weird going on Parker must have been involved. He's too smart for his own good.

Fun Measurements

When I was a kid I believed that a good tan, or even sunburn, showed how much fun you had. Actually, I still believe a good tan is a sign of a happy summer. Sunburns, not so much. Sunburns show sporadic fun in the sun. Sorry to all my fair skinned friends. I tan well. What can I do?

My brother measured fun by the battle wounds he came home with. He is a very active person. My mom was always fine with his scrapes and scars. I remember a combined young men/young women activity where he somehow turned his hand into hamburger. He laughed it off and said it let him know he was alive.

I guess everyone has their own "fun meter." Today we had a playdate with a friend from Gavin's class. I put Gwen outside and let her crawl around despite the fact that the grass was wet. I did stop her before she got to the mud around the "tree house" as the boys call it. She was wearing thin pants and I thought for sure the knees would be worn out. But no, it was her socks. There is a huge hole in the toe of one sock. I think it shows that she had a lot of fun today. She wore through a new pair of socks she got for Christmas! What can I do? They were 3 pair for $1.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"This is the best day ever!"

I love how positive Sponge Bob Square Pants is. I love that he is always saying, "This is the best day ever!" We should always recognize the best days in our lives.

Today was a great day because it is January 12 and it was 70 degrees in good old California. So what did we do? Parker, Gwen, and I played at the playground by our house before picking Gavin up from school. Gwen played on a bigger slide than she usually does and loved every minute of it. We also played in the sand for a long time. Gwen only tried to eat a little bit.

We didn't bring sand toys this time but Parker wanted to bring sidewalk chalk. So he colored on the sidewalk at the playground. When we picked up Gavin from school, one of his friends asked if we wanted to go to a park. I really debated because Parker and Gwen nap as soon as we get home from school. But I also didn't want to miss such a fun opportunity for Gavin to play with friends and for us all to get some sunshine. So we went.

We were the only family from school that was able to go today. It was a lot of fun. Somehow we spent over 2 hours there without even noticing. I can see I got a little bit of color. Yay! We took the scooters my mom gave the boys for Christmas. They had fun scooting around with their friends. Of course they also played on the slides and the other play structures. Gwen loved the swings and she had a blast crawling around. Thank heavens the ground wasn't muddy and wet like it has been this winter. I can't wait for her to learn to walk so I don't have to wonder what to do with her at the park.

I love the days where my kids and I have so much fun together and I manage to keep the TV off all day.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Change

Nobody likes change. But change is inevitable. The only constant in life is change. Change can be painful. Change can be scary. Change can be uncomfortable. Change can be hard. I'll give you a great example.

I love The Wiggles. Tyson and Deanna introduced us to The Wiggles. Tyson praised the show and when Gavin started watching I agreed with my brother. The Wiggles started out as friends in college. They were pursuing degrees in early childhood education. They started doing little shows for small groups of kids and soon their fame spread like crazy. They have been around for about 16 years.

The nice thing about The Wiggles is they don't patronize kids. They wear regular clothes, not psychotic costumes. In the late 90's they started wearing more of a uniform. The long sleeved T-shirts in plain, primary colors.

Their songs are perfect for pre-schoolers. Some songs teach lessons like "Stop at the light, look both ways, then look both ways again. Wait for the traffic to come to a stop, then cross the road with a friend." Or "Fruit Salad," and "Vegetable Soup." But their songs are not over the top with lessons. They're short, sweet, and to the point. The tunes are catchy and make you want to wiggle. The TV shows are fun to watch although they didn't record many seasons. The movies are a lot like their shows. It's obvious the characters on the show really enjoy what they do and they love kids.

If you have never been to a Wiggle concert you have missed out. Tyson is really into music. He loves going to concerts. But he will tell you The Wiggles concerts he has been to are his favorite concerts. We went to one back in 2006. Daphne missed a day of Kindergarten for that show. Gavin remembers the show but Parker doesn't believe he went to it. He was still a baby. Probably around 9 months old. They sing and dance like you would expect but they also have little jokes for parents (like Murray playing Stairway to Heaven) and they just have a blast. Your mouth gets all stretched out from smiling and laughing so much.

Unfortunately, that was probably the last tour The Wiggles will do. Shortly after that show, Heath's co-workers were saying things like The Wiggles were breaking up. We found out that Greg has a heart condition or something like that and it causes him dizziness. Kind of a difficult problem when your job is to entertain children by singing, playing guitar, and dancing.

So Greg is no longer on the show. They went on to record some episodes with a new yellow Wiggle. Sam is his name. He's ok. He's not Greg. Greg was the main Wiggle. He did the main vocals for all the songs. I think he may have been the ringleader that started the group. So it's just not the same with Sam. I figured it would be that way.

But have you seen the new episodes? They're annoying. The songs are mostly covers of 70's disco songs. The songs are too long for children. I get bored watching the whole song. They have had too much fun with green screens and costumes. There is very little for young pre-schoolers to relate to. It's too different. I'm disappointed. But Parker loves The Wiggles so we record it for him. I just can't be around when he watches. Both Gavin and Parker say things like, "Where's Greff (Greg)?" "How come Sam is on The Wiggles?"

Deanna told me once that there have been studies that have shown that children get attached to stories and benefit from explanations. So that's why they did an episode on Blue's Clues that explained how Steve was going away to college and his little brother (I can't remember the guy's name) would take care of Blue and play Blue's Clues. So I totally thought they would do something on The Wiggles to introduce Sam. But they barely have an opening to the show. It's all different now. Too much change. But I've learned that if I turn to comfort food to deal with change I don't like the changes in my body so I have to buck up on this one and get over it!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Got Fiber?

Today I let Parker hang out in my room while I scrapbooked. He was looking at books and pulled out My Fuzzy Valentine. It has a flocked Elmo on every page. And a big bite mark in the top. Because Parker ate it when he was 18 months old. It reminded me that I meant to scrapbook the library receipts from paying for the book my baby ate.

Parker is like a little beaver. But he's not the only one. Gavin chews on his clothes. Gwen is starting to chew on everything too. She chews the same spot on her crib that Parker chewed on when he used that crib. She has now started to chew on the kitchen table. When she stands up next to the table her little eyeballs are just over the table. So she just has to tip her head a little to be in prime chewing range. She has chewed the table to the point that I get splinters on my shirt if I lean against the table while I eat.

She won't drink out of a sippy cup. She just chews on it. I'm reminded every day of what a lousy housekeeper I am because she eats everything on the floor. Including orange peels, orange seeds that the boys accidentally drop, soggy cereal, and today she ate a pretzel! I don't need a dog. I have Gwen! I used to be really good at keeping my house clean. I used to sweep the floor 3 times a day. But now I figure if any Cheerios fall on the floor Gwen can eat them later!

Parker used to eat receipts and shopping lists. Actually he probably still would except now we make him walk at Costco instead of sit in the cart. When he was 7 monhs old he ate a paper mouse valentine that Gavin left on the floor. All that was left was the googly eye. Gavin and Parker put a plastic toy screw in their mouths. They call it their whistle because it whistles when they breathe in and out. You know the little paper ad they put in the inside cover of DVD's? Ours are all chewed up. When Gavin was going through the stage of opening the CD changer and pulling all the CD's out, Parker slobbered all over a CD. Luckily it still works. I should get a nickel for every time I say, "Out of your mouth!" I would be rich.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Laughing all afternoon!


I lied to Gavin and I can't stop laughing about it! He earned 3 pieces of candy today for knowing 15 words from his new reading list. He chose two pieces of hard candy and one piece of gum. He saved the gum for last. We were talking about whatever while he chewed his gum. I asked if he liked it and he said yes. Then he announced that he swallowed it. So I went into the typical Mom lecture about not swallowing gum. Gum stays in your mouth or you spit it in the garbage. Those are your two options. He argued that he was done and I restated the two choices. We went in circles for a bit. Then he asked why.

Now, I have given this lecture to my kids before. They have heard many times not to swallow gum. They are little and forgetful and always swallow their gum. This is why we don't usually have gum. But I hate that question why. I don't know! Why shouldn't you swallow gum? I just grew up knowing that you're not supposed to. But my son was asking why and I knew "because I said so" wasn't going to be enough. So I lied. My parents lied to me, my brother lied to me on a regular basis, I figure now that I'm a mom I have the right to make up ridiculous stories too!

I told him that if he swallowed enough gum then a gum tree would grow in his stomach. Soon the branches would poke out of his stomach and then leaves would grow and I didn't know what we were going to find for him to wear to cover it all up!

He was upset. He said a lot of things that are typical Gavin things to say but really make no sense. Then he asked for bread. He wanted the bread to cover the gum in his stomach. I asked why. He said to keep the tree from growing. So he's eating bread!

He also asked if gum trees grow in your stomach when you're a man. I told him yes, but they are bigger because men are bigger. I know. Mother of the Year right here! I'm so bad. Maybe he will stop swallowing gum.

We had a whole brain conversation too. We were talking about how much easier his homework is getting and I said something about his brain and him getting smarter.

So Gavin came up with this whole story about how your brain covers your whole body. I told him it's just inside your head and your skin covers your whole body. He said something about how your brain gets bigger when you grow up and then there's a door in your neck that opens to the brain room and your brain falls out! I wish I had recorded his brain monologue. It's hard to keep up with him sometimes. He talks really fast and has very colorful ideas. I thought that was very creative. And true. What adult has a fully working brain? Especially after having kids?

The other thing that made me laugh this afternoon was one of the stories Gavin is supposed to practice reading. It's called "Go, Cat!" The pictures just add to the story. But use your imagination. "Go, Nan! Nan ran, ran, ran, ran. Go, Pat! Pat ran, ran, ran. Go, Van! Van ran, ran, ran. Go, Cat! Cat sat, sat, sat." The animals are all panting with their tongues out like they are ready to die from sprinting and Cat has a smug smile on his face. I love early literacy books! I love having a 5 year old!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Return of the Sport Widow

Heath hates basketball. He loves volleyball. He would willingly get up at 3 am for a volleyball game but getting up at 7 am for basketball is too early. All night basketball isn't any better. For some reason everyone loves basketball but not volleyball. Maybe we don't live close enough to the beach or something. Although he played volleyball several nights a week for 3 or more hours at a time while he lived in Seattle. So what gives now?

People think I look like a volleyball player. These are all people who don't realize I would never play sports if my life depended on it! But I do fully support anyone who wants to play sports. That includes my husband who manages to get roped into refereeing basketball no matter where we live!

Tonight he is supposed to be playing with our ward. Tomorrow he's reffing some Young Men's basketball games. But what a waste of time. It's 3 on 3 half court basketball so Heath will be sitting under the basket blowing his whistle! He would probably burn more calories watching TV at home. I'm kidding!

Heath has helped referee basketball and volleyball as well as play pick up games and play on a team for every season I have known him. Last year he reffed one game and it happened to be a night his dad was in town so they both went. Barry taught Heath how to referee when Heath was 15. So Heath has been a referee for over half his life!

It's all good. I used to miss him so much when he was gone that I would try to arrange to be at my mom's house. But my mom and sister work crazy hours. It ended up being more trouble than it was worth to hang out with them, especially with kids. So I learned how to stare catatonically at the walls. Ha ha, I'm kidding! No, I created my own routine with the kids for those nights. I think I deserve a gold medal or a cookie or something. I bathed all 3 kids, let them watch a show, and did our nightly routine (which includes brushing all 3 kids teeth). I did this alone and had them all in bed by 8 pm. Am I awesome or what! I made dinner tonight too. I know. I know. Who am I and what did I do with Tristan?

Gavin and Parker were so confused about Heath playing basketball. Somehow they got it in their heads that he plays at work! Gavin honestly could not remember that his dad came home in work clothes and then changed. Gavin said that his dad came home in shorts and a work shirt! There's a visual image!

They were also pretty interested in everything Heath was doing to get ready. Parker had to inspect the gym bag by taking everything out of it. Then they were interested in how he pumped up the basketball. Gavin wanted to know how many people were on a team. I told him I couldn't remember the minimum number required to play. He said, "I'm thinking 5 or 8 or 7." Heath came down at that point and said 5.

The boys also thought it was interesting that Heath was playing at the church. They both wanted to go but Heath told them they had to be better at following directions before they could go watch. Then I remembered the one time they did go to the church and I said something about how their bellies had to be distended and I was only taking them to the church to see if I really should go to the doctor. That must have triggered Gavin's memory because he remembered sitting at the church watching basketball in his pajamas while I took Parker to the Insta Care by us. Gotta love rotavirus! Poor Parker. He was 18 months old and was getting x-rays at 10 pm.

Gavin wanted to play basketball outside but he decided it was too spooky out there. Because it was dark. So after Heath left the boys decided to play football in the house. But Gavin said they weren't allowed to throw toys in the house so they should just kick the football like in soccer. I thought that was hysterical.


Gwen is not happy her daddy didn't get her ready for bed. Get used to it girl. This is what happens when the ward or stake finds out your dad knows basketball.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Blogging Class

I'm so excited to teach this blogging class. I am planning on doing a power point presentation with Heath's laptop to explain how to set up a blog etc. I also want to have hard copies of my presentation for people.

I'm the type of person who likes to gather as much information as I can before I make a decision or put my thoughts together for a presentation. I'm asking for advice from my readers. Even if you don't know me, please comment!

What blogging questions should I be prepared to address in my class?
What gadgets should I teach about?
Where do you get your gadgets?
Why do you blog?
Why do you read blogs?
What's the latest and greatest in the blogging world right now?
Where do you get ideas to blog?

I realize my blog is very plain compared to most. That's just my style. So any advice or thoughts would definitely be appreciated. I will also put the presentation up when it is done.
Thank you!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Babies

My baby is all grown up. He went to Primary today. No more Nursery for my little man. Gavin was the perfect big brother. After Sacrament Meeting Gavin said, "Come on Parker! I'll show you where the Primary is." Parker was so excited to go to Primary. He kept saying that he gets to go to Primary because he's a big boy now.

I told him to eat all of his lunch because Primary doesn't do snacks like Nursery does. He was a champ and ate it all.

I used to worry about Parker going into Primary because I was afraid he would want to be in Gavin's class. But I think school has been a good thing. Parker is learning that he is actually a separate person from Gavin. As far as I know there were no issues in Primary. And no tears. It helped that the Nursery teacher substituted the class until they find a Sunbeam teacher. I'm sure that made the whole transition easier.

There is now no Nursery until June. Our ward doesn't have very many kids at all. There are 4 babies in the ward that were born within months of each other. The oldest turned a year in December. The youngest is a month younger than Gwen. All of us moms want to beg for the Nursery rules to change. We want our babies in Nursery when they are 15 months old instead of 18 months. Ok, honestly we want them in now! We all congregate in the hallways every week watching our kids crawl around, getting excited about the other babies, and stealing pacifiers from each other. As a member of the Enrichment Committee, I have decided to do a baby playgroup for a mini Enrichment activity. We'll be starting it soon.

I can't believe how much my kids keep growing. (They gain a year every 12 months!!!) It's very exciting but it's a little sad. They aren't babies anymore.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Trade Off

When I lived in Utah my pet peeve was the stray cats and dogs. Mostly cats. And really they weren't strays. They just never went to their own houses. Cats were everywhere leaving their essence all over my backyard so I really didn't want my little kids out there. The cats would wander all over my yard as if they owned the place. Most of the cats were not easily scared but a few were. There were many times when I would chuck a nearby toy at the sliding glass door while I was nursing to startle a cat sauntering through my backyard. I hate cats.



Once I was meeting my visiting teaching companion at her house. There were these evil white cats that were rubbing up against our legs. She told me those cats were the worst on her street. Those cats would actually run into her house and refuse to go back out. I hate cats. Parker was very scared of those evil white cats. He was shaking and crying. Mama didn't raise no fool! I had to pick him up so they would leave him alone.



There is one cat that I periodically catch in my yard now. But very rarely. I have posted many times about all the animals around here. It's kind of cool from a reasonable distance!




We have pictures of a squirrel eating persimmon from our tree. There are often raccoon tracks on our back patio. There are also little lizards (that after nearly 2 years my boys still haven't noticed enough to try and catch! Yay for that!) and snakes.


There was a dead garden snake (a decent sized one mind you) on our front sidewalk about a month ago. Our next door neighbors moved it before Heath could. Today we were taking down our Christmas lights along with everyone else on our street. Heath suddenly told Gavin not to get close to the plants and flowers. Gavin had been on the grass the whole time so I couldn't figure out what that was all about. Heath said he didn't want to tell me why and then he finally told me there was a very small garden snake up against the house. I saw it and it was pretty small. But shudder! I guess that's the trade off. Lizards and snakes instead of nasty cats. Honestly, I will gladly take the lizards and snakes over the cats any day.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Stories and Pictures

These last two weeks have been the best. I have been surrounded by the people I love and am loved by most. Whether we do something or nothing we always have the best time. In life you get to pick your friends but not your family. Luckily I hit the jackpot with my family.




Miss Gwen at the park.



I like to believe I am encouraging to my children. I allow them to pursue their interests without stifling them. I am there to love and support. Parker didn't need me to spot him too long before he successfully climbed the big kid steps.


We gave Gavin a computer game for Christmas. The boys love playing educational games but Blues Clues is the only game that worked in the group of games we bought a year or two ago. They always wanted to play "Green Eggs and Ham" as they called it. But it wasn't compatible with Vista so it would lock up all the time. So would all the other Dr. Seuss games. So we bought Kindergarten World. Best $20 we've ever spent on our kids! Gavin mastered a series of games and earned his first badge the day after Christmas. (Parker is working toward his first badge) We promised him McDonald's every time he earned a badge. So we went to McDonald's.




Gwen loved the slide in the toddler area of McDonald's Playground. She would scoot herself down smiling and giggling the whole way. We had to get pictures of her at the park by us.





Daddy's little girl.


This one is my favorite.



All 3 kids got flu shots after our short photo shoot at the park. Not one of them cried. We've got kids as tough as nails!


We finally made it to the Oakland Temple to see the Christmas lights. It's no Temple Square but it was still pretty spectacular. I love this nativity. I love the look on Mary and Joseph's face as they cradle the Christ child. I love how there are only a few animals but no other people. That look of pure love and joy captured before they shared Him with anyone else. The boys kept saying that someone was missing when we walked past the nativity. I don't know who they meant. Parker also pointed out that I was Mary. That was a neat experience.




It's hard to tell but if you look closely you can see that this picture was taken by looking straight up a palm tree wrapped in lights. I love this picture. I loved all the palm trees decorated. I thought that was fun.




Not as many lights or people as Temple Square but still beautiful. The fountains had been drained. Gavin kept asking what Jesus did with the water!




The boys wanted to sit on every bench. Gavin complained that it made him cold to sit there.



Gorgeous.



The boys remembered seeing the Christus a couple months ago. Gavin remembered his Primary field trip to the Oakland Temple Visitor's Center too. The sister missionary spoke directly to the boys even after a couple more families joined us. I love how welcoming and friendly the Savior looks. His smile warms my heart.




Heath wanted to get pictures of His wounds. I know what my Savior did for me as well as all mankind. But every once in a while I have an a-ha moment thinking about it and it becomes more real to me than it was before. After the presentation at the Christus we saw sculptures of Jesus. One depicted the Savior carrying a cross. I don't know that I ever internalized how big and burdensome that cross really was.





The only sculpture outside the art exhibit room. Also the only sculpture we were allowed to photograph. I wish I could remember the name of the lady who did the artwork. She was an opera singer who suddenly decided to sculpt clay instead. She had no formal art training. The sculptures were amazing.


I love going to the temple because my love for my family increases. I am always filled with a renewed desire to live my life the best I can so I have the opportunity to live with my family forever.


These last 2 weeks we have spent a lot more quality time together versus the usual quantity time. We have been playing a lot of games together. Last night we let the boys stay up until 11:00 pm playing card games. It was so much fun. We originally planned to let them stay up until 9:30 but we were having too much fun! Gavin loved Skip-Bo so much he asked to play it today too. He was annoyed that we made him watch us play one more time before we let him play without help. He did really well for a 5 year old playing a game intended for 8 years and up. He is really good with numbers.


Parker's favorite thing is to beg us to chase him around the circle downstairs. Heath and I usually come up with lame excuses to get out of it. But lately we have given in. That kid can run. There's no holding back on my part when I try to catch him and I barely can! I ran for 20 minutes chasing him the other day. It was so much fun that I didn't even notice my cold lungs until after I stopped. I am no runner but I felt really good about myself that day. I'll have to do that more often. Who needs a track when you've got a 3 year old and an open floor plan?

Today we saw the best movie ever. We saw Bedtime Stories. I wish my kids wouldn't think they need to be constantly entertained. We came home from church one Sunday to the power being out. We lit a fire and tried to tell our favorite Christmas memories. The boys were literally climbing the walls. They hated every second of that. But several days later Gavin turned off all the lights and said he wanted to light a fire and tell stories again! They are getting better with sitting and listening to stories. Gavin really enjoyed The Best Christmas Pageant Ever this year. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to be a good story teller like Adam Sandler.

This was a long rambling post but I love my family. I am so blessed to have the best husband who understands me and is always there for me. My kids are awesome. What more could you ask for? I don't believe in New Year's Resolutions. I set goals for myself all the time and it has nothing to do with a new year. But if I were to have a resolution for 2009 it would be to live in the moment more often with my family. Forget about mundane tasks that can wait and just chase my kids and tickle them until they wet their pants laughing!!!