Friday, June 25, 2010

Becoming better

The three oldest kids and I, along with Aunt Amy, went swimming at the Farmington Pool today. It was a fun and interesting experience.

Karaia is very bent on learning how to swim without any help. She still has moments of insecurity, but she will at least give it a go. She struggles with making her body do what she wants it to do, but she tries.

Beckham will tell you, "I can't!" or "No!" before you even finish saying whatever it was you wanted him to try. Occasionally, he will give it a go for about half a second, but if it's not perfect the first time....well then, why is he even trying?

Tennyson, I found, is also super cautious when it comes to water adventures. But after a few, OK maybe a lot, of minutes getting used to things he will give it a try. If he even comes remotely close to getting it right he is THRILLED!

Thank goodness Amy came with us today. It helped to be able to give each kid some one on one time with their own particular learning style.

I can't wait for the kids to be really good swimmers so that swimming pools become fun, for me, again and not so much work. It's fun work, but it's still work.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rock Stars

Yesterday evening we went to a sod party. My step-sister Amy is surprising her kids with grass for their 10,000 sq foot backyard while they are in Disneyland with their dad.

When we first got there and saw the expanse of dust, dirt, and rocks in an overwhelmingly large, hot backyard, the kids were less than enthusiastic. Karaia immediately ran under the deck exclaiming,"The sun makes my head hurt!" Which lead to much pouting and whining about having to pick up rocks.

Thankfully, Beckham (I know Beckham!) was really into helping the big guys out and quickly switched from the "baby" job of picking up rocks to the manly job of laying the sod. He was even lifting rolls of sod all by himself!

As soon as Karaia realized Beckham was having fun while helping she quickly forgot about herself and began lifting and carrying the rolls of sod too! They did so awesome. I called them Rock Stars all evening.  I couldn't believe how strong they were! Those sod rolls are heavy.

I was SO proud of them for serving in such a happy way.

I was proud of Karaia for turning her whole attitude around and I was proud of Beckham for starting out with a good attitude.

This morning we talked about how when we serve others we are really serving Jesus. Beckham got teary eyed (he is my son after all) and said, "Mom, when I say,'I'm grateful I could help.' I start to cry and my heart feels warm."

That's every mother's wish come true right there. To know your children are happy to serve and they are learning from the Holy Ghost.

Thank you, Amy for such a wonderful opportunity for my kids!

Monday, June 21, 2010

The good, the bad, the whiny


That word can do one of two things at our house.

Send the kids running to show you their newest skill.....


Send the kids into a whiny, blubbery, mess on the floor.

Mostly, it's the second one.

I know piano is hard. I get it. We talk about how it's going to be hard every day, but soon that one song, the song they hate the most, will be easy and fun to play.

It promotes such extreme emotions. For example, this morning Beckham was extremely upset about a certain song, I walked over to help him, he all but cursed my name. He whined. I left. He worked it out on his own....crying most of the time. Did  a great job.....crying most of the time, and then the second he hit the last note signifying the end of his practicing and he turned to me and cheerfully said," I'm done! Now I can go jump! You know you are the BEST mom!"


I can't take this bi-polar behavior every. single. morning. It's exhausting.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Promptings.....a.k.a shoves

I am not afraid to share my life. I never have been. I believe feelings and experiences are meant to be shared and learned from.

That being said, I also know that there is a time and a place for everything.

That and I am a crier. I cry at the drop of a hat. If anything Spiritual in nature is involved you can bet that Emilie is going to need a tissue.

Because of those facts I often find myself withholding certain experiences simply because nobody would be able to understand me through my sobs.

That's right, it's not a pretty cry.

Not that I am afraid to share, but it's almost too much effort.

Today, in church, we had a lesson on prayers. I've had many sacred experiences with prayers and found myself reliving  a few key ones in my mind. All of the sudden my experience after Sanders was born popped into my head.

The second that happened my whole body became warm and my arms began to tingle. I fail to recall a previous time that I have so fully recognized the Holy Ghost's presence. It was SO sudden and complete. Completly unexpected with such force.

The internal dialog began,

"If I share that, I'll cry!"

The heat increased.

"OK. But I'm going to cry and people are probably going to say..there she goes, crying again."

More heat.

"Alright. But I warned you."

With that I raised my hand. Of course when called on, I found I could no longer talk as the tears were already flowing. I tried to regain composure. Finally, amidst the tears, I was able to share my experience.........

I was so sick after giving birth to Sanders. Part of the problem was the nursery would no longer let Sanders enter there. They were afraid he could pass whatever I was fighting on to the other babies. So even at the height of my battle for what I now understand to be my life, I had to care for a newborn all night. It was very challenging and I cried a lot the first night because I was not able to get to sleep until 6 am. just because of normal newborn stuff.

I kept thinking, how am I to get better if I can't sleep? It still doesn't make any sense to me, but at the time I could think of no alternative options than to continue caring for my son and doing my best to sleep after his needs were met.

Last night, my dear sister, who is also a nurse, offered to come spend the night with me and take care of Sanders. I can't express enough gratitude to her for listening to the Holy Ghost because just the night before, as I was again contemplating how I was to get better with no sleep and no help from the hospital, I found myself pleading with Heavenly Father to send me an angel. I was thinking, literally, send an angel to rock Sanders to sleep, sooth his tears, and postpone his hunger. I didn't have to see them, but I knew Sanders would know they were there.

As always, the Lord always sends better than what you could even think to ask for. Meghan came and spent the night allowing me to take a sleeping pill. I slept from 11pm to 4am! Even through one of my IV treatments. She was definitely heaven sent. There is no question in my mind.

I cried through the whole thing.....and then continued on with my tearfest for a few minutes after. It really is embarrassing. I just wish I could convey, with elegance, my feelings with out the water works.

I still don't know who that message was for. Perhaps I never will.

Either way, I am grateful for the "shove" from the Spirit today. It is one I will treasure.


Today is Father's Day.

I have been thinking a lot about father's, mine---Earthly and Heavenly, Kevin's, my children's, and the relationship they bring in my life.

Of course my first memories of fathers involve my dad. Poor guy was surrounded by girls his entire life. He only had two sisters and then went on to have three daughters. We always joked that even our pets were girls.

You would think that, perhaps, all the femininity would make him extreme on one end or the other. Either a super, super macho guy or one who was slightly effeminate. But Dad is a perfect blend of the best of both worlds. He played football in high school, always had sports on T.V. while we were growing up, and taught me how to make a football spiral. He is also the man who taught me to love musicals and the finer arts.

He never yelled but could command control of his hormonal daughters with a kind word or a stern look.

He was a great example of a wonderful father.

Close behind my thoughts of my dad come thoughts of my husband. The kids adore him. There is something about dads that make them WAY more fun than a mom. Even little Sanders has already discovered this unwritten rule and makes a bee line for the door as soon as he hears the garage door opener. Then the wrestling begins. All four kids atop one lone man.

You know what?

Kev loves every minute of it.

He has a way of teaching kids a new chore that makes it seem like a privilege to do it.

He also takes, all four of them, on errands. I just think that's amazing. I try and avoid that scenario at all costs. But it doesn't even phase him.

I know my children are loved and well cared for if ever I need a night off.

Kevin is very special in our lives and we are grateful every day for him.

That brings me to my Heavenly Father.

Being a parent provides an opportunity to understand Heavenly Father with new eyes. When I am frustrated by current poor behaviors my children are favoring, I am reminded how many "second chances" my Father in Heaven affords me.

I really try to parent as I think He would.

Am I perfect. Heavens no. Not even close.

In fact, it seems  a large part of my daily prayers consist of begging for forgiveness for the lack of parenting as I know I should. It's a hard job but it makes me more grateful for the times I can recognize the compassion and the tough love I have been given by Heavenly Father.

I am grateful for the Fathers in my life and hope they know just how much they better my life.

Happy Fathers Day!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tennyson's birthday

Tennyson turned THREE June 15!

We had his family party a few days before on the 13th. We LOVE having family over. Tennyson was a bit confused by having the party a little early and kept asking, "Am I three now?"

Tennyson, you REALLY wanted a strawberry birthday cake. You wanted it to taste like strawberries....which means pink, strawberry, frosting. It's hard to make a little boys cake when pink is one of the main colors. I brainstormed forever! I decided to combine your love of Star Wars with your adoration for strawberries.

It's Darth Vader's light saber.....or the best rendition of it I could create. You were over joyed! 

For the family party we had, well, your family, streamers, and balloons. You felt so big and special.

So big, in fact, that you just HAD to capture the moment yourself. You asked for the camera. Here are a few samples of your handy work

Tennyson, your family loves you very much. They all knew just exactly what you would love. The things you love, love, love this year are anything Star Wars, anything that shoots, motor vehicles, and Toy Story.
You are a very handsome little guy. You wanted to stay in your church clothes for your birthday. Normally I make you change right when you get home. But it was your birthday after all. I tried to take a picture of your G-Qness but you are very opposed to actually looking at the camera.

You really understood, this year, that you and your Grandpa Jim have the same birthday. It's a pretty wonderful thing and I am so grateful you are starting to appreciate it.

I wanted to make a cake for Grandpa too, but the frosting was being grumpy and so the cake ended up being decorated with only his name. Pretend it's a golf scene instead. Grandpa turned 54 this year.

You had your first friend party this year! On your actual third birthday. I wanted to keep it really simple because you and your friends are only 3. We had a water party with a slip n' slide, a sprinkler, water guns, and water balloons.

We invited the older next door neighbor girls to help focus the chaos and they were FANTASTIC. You and all your friends had the best time with them. They helped everyone enjoy the slip n' slide and they were great targets for the water guns.

 After a little lunch, we had some cupcakes....strawberry flavored of course!

Later that day, I wanted to take pictures of you. I wanted to document the actual day my Mr. T turned 3. Oh, Mr. T, I hope some day you will show your heart melting smile to the camera. Out of the 40 pictures I took (thank you digital cameras!) these highlighted the experience the best.

"Fine, I'll look at the camera......."

not too bad!
 This is what happens when I ask you to show me your eyes (meaning look at the camera)

Are you done?

Tennyson, I love you so much! You are my little buddy. You like to do everything with me. 

You do NOT like to sleep in. 

You are addicted to candy.

You prefer to play with someone.

You are fantastic playing games all by yourself on the computer. 

You love to help unload the dish washer. 

You get excited about everything!

You are so loving and sweet and I am humbled I am your mom.

I love you Mr. T!

Friday, June 18, 2010

The last days

Karaia & Beckham have both completed and celebrated another year in education!

Beckham graduated from pre-school.

Karaia graduated from 1st grade.

Way to go, Kids!!!!

Karaia's 1st grade grade end of year program was on May 26. They sang a lot of cute songs with TONS of actions. I can't believe how hard these kids worked. They probably sang close to 20 songs. In between the songs they would impart lines of wisdom or eye rolling "Dad jokes" as we like to call them around the house.

You know, jokes that are kind of lame and kind of funny.

Karaia did wonderful. She was thrilled to have me, her brothers, Grandma Candance, Grandma Great Cathy, and Nana in the audience.

Beckham's graduation was May 27. They preformed some poems, cute songs, and each kid had a line or two of narrative.Beckham ate up all the attention and did awesome.

Miss Cynthia gave them "year books" at the end that are basically a scrapbook of the year. It is a treasured item at our house.

1st grade ended June 4th. 
This is Karaia on her last day of school.

We continued the Welcome Summer banner breaking for Karaia this year. We've decided it will be for elementary aged students. However, Karaia was a little embarrassed to have everyone watching her run through and got out her teenage attitude, sauntered over to the banner, kept her head down, and begrudgingly made contact with it. The banner didn't even rip.Totally NOT the picture moment I was hoping for.
( Throwing a little fit over a super fun tradition)
(a forced photo opt of a kid excited about summer)

So I put it back up and asked Beckham if he wanted a shot at the banner. He didn't even hesitate and geared up for a big run and a huge tear. When Karaia realized that she all of the sudden found her passion for breaking banners and was mad Beckham was going to do it. Hopefully she'll remember that for next year.
(Setting the stage again...see Beckham checking out his angles?)
(Same technique, a LOT more passion)

(it didn't rip as much as he wanted, but he took care of that!)

One big step

The day after we returned from Disneyland, May 2, Sanders decided it was as good a time as any and started walking! It happened to be the very day he Turned 14 months.

He had been walking with our assistance for some time, but never really attempted any steps solo. I believe this is the oldest any of my children have been before they started walking. As his personality blooms more and more and I am not surprised. Sanders is on his own time schedule and will get to it when he is good and ready.

It's so fun to see him cruising around the house with his sideways crab walk.

They seem so old when they start using two instead of four limbs to get around.

Way to go Sanders!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Disneyland April 25 -29, 2010

Now that I am finally getting around to posting about Disneyland a whole MONTH and a HALF late you will just have to be happy with what you get. I still don't like how Blogger wants me to upload pictures. Yeah it's great that you can upload a picture where your cursor is, but I still have to click each. individual. picture....and now I have to do it twice. Sigh. 
Anyway, basically what I am saying is I will write about Disneyland and I am just going to let the pictures speak for themselves. Good? Ok on we go.  

We opted to drive to Disneyland because we wanted to have money to actually, you know, eat once we got there. We left Sunday, April 25. I personally adore long car rides. Long car rides with child are not ideal, but given enough preparation it really doesn't have to be torture.

I packed each kid their very own travel basket. I wrapped half of the goodies in wrapping paper and left the other half as is. This turned out to be wonderful. The kids had fun stuff right away to play with, but they also had the anticipation of not knowing everything in the baskets.

The rule was you could only open one present an hour. There where 10 wrapped items which just about made them last the whole trip down. Or it would have had there not been two accidents just after Prim that added two hours to our trip.

The only other snafu of the ride down is we discovered that Tennyson gets car sick on long car rides. Thankfully he is a master vomiter and managed to vomit only in his lap on both occasions. Leaving clean up less than it could have been .

Also a bonus, weird, but a bonus none the less, is that his vomit had no smell. I can't tell you why, but we were super grateful when we realized it.

After arriving at our hotel, The Anaheim Fairfield Inn, we told the kids that grandpa Jim and grandma Candace were staying in the hotel room right next to ours. Karaia must not have been paying very close attention when we were planning the trip because she got HUGE eyes and said, "You mean, Grandpa and Grandma are going WITH us to Disneyland?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!!"

It was the best! Might as well have been a second Christmas for her.

(proof positive Jim and I belong in the same family! ~Check out my crazy eyes

Kevin and I were SO grateful Jim and Candace were able to join us. They made the whole vacation run very smoothly. Every kid had a special someone to ride the rides with. When the parents kids needed a change of pace they had a friendly, loving face to go to. Thank you so much!!!!!You two really added to the magic!!

We left Sanders home with Meghan & Alex, Emily & Ryan, and Mom. Thank you so much for watching him for us! We knew he was well cared for and it allowed us to just have fun. There are no amount of words to properly thank you enough!!

On a side note, I have done Disney with a 4 month old (with 3 kids) and a 19 month old (with 2 kids), different times, as the youngest member with us. If you can help it, leave anyone under 2 years at home. They are not going to remember it and their attention spans, nap schedules, and over all inability to go on rides makes it more's do-able, but we have found it is more enjoyable with the youngest being at least two. If you still want to bring all your kiddos, give me a call and I have some tips for you that will make it easier.

Kevin surprised Tennyson with his first set of Mickey ears while we were in line for Dumbo. There were one size too big, but you wouldn't know it from the smile on Tennyson's face when he put them on. He fixed the size problem himself, kind of, by wearing the strap across his chin instead of under it.
(Tennyson is completely adverse to actually LOOKING into the camera. It's not from lack of trying on our part)
It kept slipping off his head or over his eyes. Undaunted he would straighten it out and be on his way.

We were on the Jungle Cruse when I pointed out the Parana to Tennyson who leaned slightly over to get a better view. Immediately his hat fell off his head into the mechanical fish. I tried to grab it, but the boat was moving too quickly. Oh. My. Goodness. I have never heard a sadder sound come out of a child's mouth. It wasn't the give-it-to-me-now cry, it was a my-heart-was-attached-to-those-ears-and-now-it-too-is-fish-food cry. It was so sad.

We told the cast members what had happened. They immediately jumped into an empty boat, passed the line of waiting people, and headed around the ride. It was all too much for Tennyson and he cried himself to sleep on Kevin's shoulders as we waited for their return.

In the mean time, unsurprisingly, Beckham began chatting up the cast member who was waiting with us. I was just far enough away that I couldn't hear the dialog. If the cast members laughter is to be trusted I can only imagine that Beckham was being his friendly, non-censored, hilarious self. That kid made more friends with Disney employees than most people do in their whole life time. That's just who he is.

They were unable to locate the hat. Another victory for the vicious metal Parana. They were kind enough to give us a voucher for a free hat! Hooray for exemplary customer service! We were able to get a new, smaller size while Tennyson slept hoping he would forget about the whole thing. Nope. That kid has the best memory. He was grateful to have Mickey ears again, but kept asking for his "real" hat.

We ate every breakfast at the McDonalds in the hotel parking lot.

On Monday we went to Disneyland.

Tuesday, California Adventure

Wednesday, Disneyland again.

We had plenty of time to do everything we wanted plus double and triple up on the ones we loved the best. As well as take it slow Tuesday evening and spend some time in the hotel pool instead of heading back to the parks after dinner.

The kids really did great on this trip. Very little whining........unless you count Beckham loudly insisting, every ride, that, "I do not want to go on this ride. I am getting out of line right now!" He is our cautious adventurer and would psych himself out that the ride would be unpleasant before he'd even entered the line.

Not wanting him to miss out on any fun opportunities we insisted that he try every, reasonable, ride at least once. Also, he was no longer allowed to say, "I do not!" which he obliged us by changing it to, "I'd rather not" Most of the time he would finish a ride with a big smile on his face. The only one we should NOT have pushed was the Tower of Terror. But our 4 year old niece had just gotten back from a trip to Disney and loved and gone on that ride 3 times.

It was too much for our Beckham.

He banned us from even saying, "Tower of Terror" for the rest of the day because it made him feel scared.

Meanwhile, Karaia got off the ride and ran right back in line.

I'm always amazed at how different children are.

Tennyson did awesome the whole time. He fell asleep every afternoon in the stroller and really was mostly good waiting in line. It helped there were four adults to bounce between, but for a 2 1/2 year old he did really well.

Bobble head Beckahm

Beckham's Yoda back pack...isn't it awesome?!

Karaia and I waited in line for an hour to see Belle, Jasmine, and Sleeping Beauty. Grandma hopped in line toward the end with Tennyson...he just HAD to see the princesses too. Karaia was perfectly content to wait for that long. We kept our selves busy in line taking blackmail funny pictures.

(Starting sweet...we are waiting to see princesses afterall...)
 Tennyson was smitten with Belle. When we moved onto Jasmine, just across the isle, he couldn't take his eyes off of Belle. Then, of course, at the end you walk right into a store selling all things princess. Tennyson immediately found a Belle barbie doll and really, really, REALLY wanted to take it home with him.

Our favorite rides this year were:

Dad: Pirates of the Caribbean
Mom: Toy Story Mania & Pirates of the Caribbean
Karaia: Tower of Terror
Beckham: Jungle Cruise
Tennyson: Buzz lightyear

 The ride home was awesome. We pumped Tennyson full of Ginger Ale and ginger snap cookies hoping to keep all of his food inside his tummy. They did the trick! Meaning there is nothing eventful to report about the trip home.

We love Disney and can't wait to go again when Sanders is 3 years old and will come with us!