Thursday, November 29, 2012

Baptism pics...

We have had a lot of nieces and nephews get baptized this year (how lucky are they to have so many cousins their age!) - we've been busy with pictures! Here is the last one for the year: I love when boys wear suit coats, so handsome - they immediately age 10 years!

Hallie is next in line to be baptized in the family (a year from now) and she's already talking about what we're going to do for her pictures. She's a little excited and watching her cousin take his photos made her even more anxious. 11 months and counting!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lego man...

It's interesting how differently our bodies and minds are wired from one another. What comes easy for one, may be a struggle for another based on how we process things. I see it in my children and their exploratory play. For example, Hallie has mastered the art of make believe play. The play kitchen was one of her favorite toys as she cooked and recooked items for me to sample. We bought her a range of other toys but she they would remain untouched unless it could be encompassed in her make believe world. Then we had Hunter, who enjoyed make believe as well (probably because Hallie made him participate in her play since the time he could walk.)

Over the years we bought countless toys for this birthday or that Christmas and many were used for a good week before they were left untouched in the toy bin just as we had experienced with Hallie. But he recently received a set of legos for his birthday and it has become his "thing". Not every kid enjoys a set of legos, especially at four years old, but Hunter can't get enough of them. At first I thought he might be too young for them. His frustration mounted upon opening the box only to see a bunch of little parts that would create the car. He just wanted the car put together. Steve walked through step by step and helped him create the car. I thought that thing would never be disassembled. But within a day, the car was destroyed and a plane took its place. And then a building. He just kept creating. Every day during his rest time, he has his legos spread across the table. And every day he has a new creation. I sat across the table from him while I ate lunch today and I loved the concentration across his face. He would look over the parts on the table and pick one up, realize it wasn't going to work the way he wanted so he held it in his hand as he looked over the table for a better piece. I'm seeing a creative side to him that I didn't realize existed. This toy, more than any toy he has come across, stimulates his mind and occupies large portions of time...and he enjoys it. It's fascinating to see just how different every kid can be.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Watching paint dry...

Watching these floors be installed is like watching paint dry. It is painful. More than anything I just want my house back so I can roll out the Christmas decorations. But something inside of me says I should wait until all the glue is cleaned off the floor! Speaking of which, I've been spending hours cleaning glue residue off our new floors. Board by board, Hours and hours. My back and arms are ready for that project to be done. I could just wait until the floor guys are done and they could do it, but that could be a week from now - so I started scrubbing. We've got just one last section to be installed this Saturday. Oh happy day. This is the wonderful eye sore that currently greets everyone when they come to our house and the area in which Bennett insists on playing. Go figure. Hallie is ready to have the piano unwrapped so we stop canceling her lessons (as we've done for the past three weeks.) We're getting ready to install the new baseboards and moulding. I decided it would be a good time to paint the hallway since I didn't have to tape around anything. While I was at it, I figured it was time to re-paint the areas that we did some drywall repairs on. And as I got this project in full force at 9:30 this evening, I quickly realized the paints didn't match. I went back to the old can and the new can and sure enough they have the same exact formula. But boy are they different shades. Of course this had to happen on the largest wall of our entire home. Three separate areas had to be touched up. I suppose I will be going back to the paint store tomorrow in hopes that they can color match the older color - if not, it looks like the whole wall will be getting a fresh coat of paint! Did I mention I'm dying to get Christmas decorations out?

Monday, November 26, 2012

November swim...

Steve and I talked of driving to Idaho for Thanksgiving to visit my family. Some days I thought it was a great idea, other days the thought of spending 32 hours in the car in 7 days sounded miserable. Plus there were a couple other factors that played into it; one factor being the weather. We are in our prime for weather, why in the world would we want to leave? July and August however, I'll stay in Idaho as long as I can, but not this time of year. The mornings and nights are cool but it's warm during the day.

In fact it's warm enough that the day after Thanksgiving we had a swim party at Steve's brother's house. The pool was heated and it was a little chilly for some, buy my little fishies were in heaven. My niece works for the famous "J-dawgs" in Provo so she cooked us up some dogs with the special sauce. She's trained in deliciousness and she did not disappoint! I know cooler weather (at least cool weather to us) is just around the corner so to sit and enjoy family in the warmth of the afternoon was relaxing. We'll let the kids enjoy their shorts and flip flops for just a bit longer!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving...

It's funny how traditions morph. While living in Milwaukee we hosted family for a delicious Thanksgiving breakfast - you name it, we probably had it. Afterwards there was some football watching by the men, while I decorated the house for Christmas. My sister-in-law went to her house to finish preparing the feast we would devour for dinner. No need for lunch on a day like this!!

Upon moving, we tried to keep the breakfast tradition alive and we failed miserably. No one wanted to eat breakfast with us! You see Arizona has such great weather for Thanksgiving, that everyone wants to be outside doing something active, usually playing football or turkey trots. So as much as it killed me to lose our breakfast smorgasbord, we clearly had to adjust. We decided one day a year it wouldn't hurt us to act like we were athletic while we participated in a turkey trot. I suppose I should clarify, by participating I mean we showed up, took pictures with numbered bibs and then hopped on our bikes and rode the 5K instead of running. I claim it's because we have young kids, but in just a few years when those kids are old enough to run and I still choose to ride my bike, they're going to realize I'm a fraud! Hopefully by then I can work myself to running a mile. Yes, a mile, as in singular. Steve's parents graciously hosted the family just as they do every year and we are more than grateful, especially considering the current condition of our own home. (here)

We were assigned a couple of things to contribute, one of which was place cards. We did some killer place cards two years ago (here) as a fun craft for Hallie so we were excited to have another "craft session". We went with pilgrim boats with sails. (I have a feeling this might become our task every year!) We also brought a "turkey" vegetable platter. Hallie thought this was the funniest thing ever. No Thanksgiving is complete with out a little football: playing or watching. There was plenty of fun to go around. I brought a backdrop to set up a photo booth for all the cousins - this provided endless amounts of fun. Never a dull moment and not one of them is the least bit camera shy. If it wasn't for the sun going down this would've gone on much longer! There were plenty of shots that I wish I could post but I have nephews threatening to kill me if they see it on the blog! Steve and his brother also got in on the action - they seemed a little too comfortable with the camera! By the third round of pie (and completely exhausted children) we decided it was time to put the day behind us with gratitude in our hearts. It was a lovely day.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day of thanks...floor progress...

The flooring guy was at our house on Wednesday evening (thank heavens) and he asked if we were hosting Thanksgiving dinner. I laughed because I thought he was joking. He thought I didn't hear him so he asked again. I told him no, I couldn't think of any guests that would like concrete dust mixed with mashed potatoes!

Does this look like a house ready to host Thanksgiving?? No it does not. We are a long ways from hosting anything. But I am so grateful that we're making progress. Steve and I sit at the top of the stairs each night and marvel at the progress and then we talk of how excited we are that the mauve carpet is gone. We are full of gratitude.

Today we were reminded once again just how much we have to be grateful for. It was a good day. We spent it with family and good food; all things to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Skin advice...

You always want to pass your best genes on to your children, and when they inherit your not so glamorous genes you just apologize.

I have two children in which I offer an apology: I'm sorry you received my sensitive skin (in regards to the body, not in being easily offended). Not to divulge too much detail but I've lived a life of rashes and dryness and bumps and itching and it is no fun. I am all too familiar with the sound of scratching your skin until it bleeds while sleeping. I can hear my kids doing it and in the morning a neck will be raw, the back of legs will be bloody, it is so painful. Not to diminish the value of doctors but they've been less that helpful in this department. "Use this lotion" "Bathe them less" "Put this cream on them before bed" yet none of its working.

This poor guy has it the worst. His skin feels like sandpaper and he constantly scratches. No amount of lotion/cream seems to be helping. In fact his skin is so dry he still has cradle cap from his newborn days. His hair does a great job of covering it up but it's still there.

So I ask, What am I missing? Is there a "magic" lotion/cream that we haven't tried. (hydrocortisone was the most highly recommended/suggested that we've used) Even when we took our oldest to the dermatologist they told us to use over the counter stuff. It's bad enough and gone on long enough that I start to question whether a change of diet might help some. Anyone else have any experience with this??

Monday, November 19, 2012

Be You...

I'm realizing more and more as I work with the youth in our church, building strong confident men and women is not an easy task and I worry as to how I can build that confidence in my own children. They are pushed and pulled in every direction and being happy with who you are is no small task. I taught a lesson on Sunday titled, "The ability to succeed" in which the lesson focused on seeing the good in ourselves, and with a strong conviction of who we are, it will enable us to be more successful.

We started out by talking about the things within us we don't like. For example, my feet are large, I'm overly sarcastic, my hair is naturally a lion mane and I lack patience. Some things on my list will never change, some can be changed with money, and some I can really work at and over time possibly change. Through our discussion we came to understand we're often most discouraged when we compare ourselves to other people which is an on-going battle for many. We are always trying to keep up - but with who? There will always be someone smarter and richer and prettier and funnier...by comparing ourselves to them we will always be left discouraged and disappointed in ourselves and our abilities.

Each girl took a turn standing in front of the chalkboard as we wrote many of the attributes we love about them around the board. And even as we did this exercise, several girls started to disagree with things written and were even uncomfortable. It is so hard to hear good things about ourselves. It is our nature (some might claim it as humility) to degrade ourselves, our talents and achievements. But we each have so many good things to offer and are so much better than we give ourselves credit for. Too often we view ourselves as the ugly duckling instead of our true potential as a swan. It is clear, I will have my work cut out for me as a mother as I help my children to see their reflection as a swan. (Who am I kidding, I have to work on this just as much for myself!) In order to believe in yourself, you have to be you.
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