My Reasons

My Reasons

This Is Where It All Begins

This Is Where It All Begins

Saturday, March 22, 2014

one year

This month marks the one year mark that we have been living in our house!  I can't believe it!  I am so grateful, and am still very much in love with our home, our neighborhood, our ward, our town, and the beauty that surrounds us.  Heber is planted in our hearts, and our family is flourishing and happy here.  What a blessed place to live.

Rarely does a day go by, that I don't stop at some point during the day, look around me, and feel so, so blessed and grateful.  It is so fun to look at all of the décor, and have it be a reality.  I spent years planning the colors, the furniture, the style, and the décor for our home.  I have binders full of my ideas.  I still get butterflies when I look around and see those dreams and ideas coming to life.

As I was doing the usual Saturday deep cleaning today, I noticed some of the marks that are signs of being here for a year.  Some of the walls have some dings in them, a few doors squeak, there are a few small stains on the carpet, some of the cupboards need to be de-cluttered, and I still need to touch up the paint from the kids rooms that I painted when we moved in.

Our first month in the house, I was absolutely terrified of making any kind of mark, dent, stain, or scratch on anything.  I was so paranoid, and almost felt like we couldn't really live life without ruining something.  I was harsh on the kids, for just being kids, and I was worried all the time.

It is funny how today, as I saw these inevitable nicks and dings, that I couldn't help but smile.  Our house is now a home.  It has the stains from a  baby's sticky fingers, hanging on to the railing as they take their first step,  a ding from the boys playing catch and making memories, a scratch from a chair falling from a child trying to reach the crayons to make me a secret special note, fingerprints that will not be tiny for long, and so on.

Our house has character, and Maynard written all over.  It is a house with children in it.  Children who get dirty, wear bare feet outside, and then come inside, make messes, play with toys, spill food, make animal houses for crickets, and keep them inside, drop containers of art supplies, shoot rubber bands into the light fixtures, and are making memories.

I cannot change my personality, I do love a clean, organized home, and I can get extremely irritated by these things at times, but I also love my children and my family, and sometimes, the dirt and the dings, and the memories that come from them, are more important than perfectly clean white walls of boredom.

So, yes it has been a year, and our house will show many more years to come.  It is good to make a house a home..even if the "character traits" may make me cringe every once in a while.  The memories will last a lifetime.

mini waspette's year 2

The High School dance team, the Waspette's, hosts a night each year that showcases their competition routines.  In between performances done by them, they also invite local dance studios to perform, and the spend the week before teaching a dances to the younger girls in our town, and they get to perform as well.

Mary did this last year, and it was really fun for her.  She is not into dance, but she does enjoy it, and it is always fun to do new things.

She did a great job this year, and she even got to tumble in part of the dance her group did.  She did 4 back hand springs, and it was awesome!

It is always fun for me to see my kids try new things, and have fun experiences.

money is not free

Mary and Sam have been asking for ways to earn money lately.  Being the busy, pregnant, tired, mother that I am lately, I have not had it in me to make them the usual fancy, decorated, creative, mark off with stickers, job charts that I usually make them every summer.

Nope, not the time for that, and besides, it's not summer yet. The kids have enough going on with school, sports, and just being a kid, that they really don't have time to be marking off a list of jobs every day either.

I went to a friends house for a fun girls lunch with some good friends from the neighborhood, and this very topic came up.

I am not one that gives my children allowance.  To each their own, and I have no problem with people that do give allowance, I just don't like how it gives the kids the idea that money is my personal opinion.  If we all could get paid for just living, we would miss out on so many lessons, and so much character building.

I got a great idea at this lunch.  I wish I could say it was completely my own, but it is a compilation of some of the thoughts and ideas that came up, mixed with some ideas of my own as well.

I have had a hard time with the idea of paying my kids for doing household chores.  They live here, they are part of a family, and we all pitch in....for free.  To me, it just comes with being a human in a house with a family.

I do want my kids to earn money though, and they definitely aren't old enough to go out and get jobs.

SO...I made a list of jobs, that are above and beyond the normal jobs they are required to do, because they are part of our family.  Jobs that are more difficult, and take a good amount of time.

I wrote those jobs down on our family "command board" we have on the wall, and then wrote down how much each job would earn.

I am HORRIBLE at paying my kids what I owe them.  I just never, ever have change on me.  I am famous for saying, "Remember that I owe you a dollar," and then forgetting about it.

So, right smack on the job board, is an envelope with the money right there in it.  The second the kids do the job, and Ben or I approve their work, they get the money.
 The jobs on the board change often, and Ben and I add to it, or take away from it whenever we think of something new, or find another big job.

For Family Home Evening, we explained the chart to the kids, and then talked to them about tithing, saving, and spending.  We helped them make binders with zipper pages in them.  Each page is labeled, "tithing, saving, and spending."

Each time they make money, they split it into these 3 categories.

I am LOVING how this is working out.

The kids are not required to do any of the money making jobs at any time.  They can pick and choose when they want to do them.

I have noticed that the work ethic in our home has gone up.  When Mary and Sam are bored, they will do a job sometimes, instead of turn to complaining and whining. Ben and I find ourselves teaching our children how to do different things, that normally, we would just do ourselves, and Mary and Sam are learning so much about being responsible with money.

William went out today, and cleared rocks with Ben, Mary and Sam.  It was one of their money making jobs.  William worked HARD and really did his best.  He was following the examples of his older siblings, and he wanted to be a part of it all.  This made me smile.

After William's hard work, I gave him a quarter.  In his mind, a quarter means a ride on the really weird electronic pig thing they have a Walmart.  But hey, he felt rewarded for his hard work, and was proud of it.  A pig ride it is!

I am so glad for the moments of brainstorming with good friends, and for personal revelation.  This has been a great thing in our home!

lizard tales

I posted last week about Sam's lizard, Spike.  The lizard that meant the world to my little boy.

Spike wasn't looking so good, and we were trying everything to help him out. Actually, I was trying everything.  Of course, the family pets are actually mom's responsibility.  Weird how that works out.

Unfortunately, Sam woke up Sunday morning to a very dead Spike. 
Sam literally bawled.  It was so heartbreaking to see Sam so sad, that I even shed some tears myself...for Sam.  Sam was absolutely crushed. 

Sam and Mary took the liberty to show me dead, rubbery, weird colored, Spike as I was standing over the oven cooking meat.  I literally gagged.  It's not everyday you are cooking and then have a dead lizard staring you in the face.  Yes, staring.  His eyes were stuck open. 

Sam and Mary made it a nice little coffin and we planned to bury him that evening.
We didn't get around to it, and Sam so conveniently left the "can" on the counter, where I got to see it pretty much all day long for two days. It was so unnerving!

To top it off, I decided to clean out the lizard cage, because we planned on getting a replacement for Spike ASAP.

When I went up to Sam's room, I lifted the lid off the cage, and about 10 crickets jumped out.  Five of them landed on me.  I think I burned about 200 calories trying to shake them all off.  Oh, the thought makes me itch still.

As I bent down to flick a cricked off my foot, I saw a millworm on the ground.  The millworms were supposed to be in a closed container in the fridge.  As I looked around the carpet, I realized the carpet was moving...or so it seemed.  The entire container or millworms (100 of them) had been dumped on the carpet (thank you Luke) and worms were crawling ALL OVER the room!!!!

I don't think I need to describe the nausea that crept over me at that point.  Worms and crickets.  Lovely.

I eventually gagged my way through cleaning it all up, and vowed that our lizard days were done. 

Until Sam came home, looked at the can with a dead Spike inside of it, and his eyes teared up.  Oh, why do I have such a tender heart!

The next was off to the pet store, where we are now on a first name basis, and I no longer gag at the smell every time I walk in the door.  In order to get a refund for Spike, I had to bring the can with dead Spike in it, to the pet store. They prefer the dead animals frozen, but there is no way in ... I am going to put a dead lizard into the freezer next to the chicken and popsicles.
I gave William the "fun job" of holding the can on the way to the pet store.  He happily complied.  The whole time I was explaining Spike's death to the store clerk, William kept shaking the can and shouting "Spike is alive, he's moving!"  That was awkward, to say the least, and somewhat disgusting.
 The clerk asked to see the lizard.  Bahahahaha! I refused to open the can to prove there was a 3 day old dead lizard inside.  I told the clerk that he could do it, if he didn't believe me.  He thought for a second and then just said he would take my word for it, and put the can in a drawer.  Why a drawer?!?!  Seriously, what on earth do they plan to do with it? Blah.

 The store had to keep the can with the lizard in it, so Spike had no burial, but honestly, Sam is just fine, and I was not at all sad to not have to look at the dead lizard can anymore while preparing food.

I came away with a bearded dragon...yes, that is a lizard.  A BIG lizard!  And yes, it looks like a "bearded dragon." It can grow up to 2-3 feet long, and they even sell leashes for these things.  We will deal with that when we get to that point.  For now, it is about as long as my hand.

Sam is in love with Drew (his bearded dragon), and this is actually the lizard he has been begging for all along, but the thought of a 3 foot lizard in our house was something that I needed a lot of time to get used to.  It is very cool, and very active. He plays with it daily, and I let Sam feed it the crickets now.  We are done with the millworms, I refuse.  We give it vegies instead, along with the crickets.  Vegies don't crawl around on the floor and creep out mom. Vegies are nice.

Drew looks healthy and happy, and Sam's heart is mended.  I think this lizard may just be here for a while.  And hey, with a name like Drew, who wouldn't want to stick around.


Mary has had some hard friend issues going on at school lately, and finally, after phone calls to parents, and the teacher getting involved, things seem to be getting back to normal.

Girls can be so mean!

There is a group of 3 that plays together at school.  Mary, and 2 other girls.  One girl in that group was causing the problems, and once we got them sorted out, we decided to let Mary host a little girls night at our house over the weekend.

She invited her 2 friends from school.

I had no idea that 3 girls could be so loud, silly, crazy, and nuts!

They painted nails, danced to music, had a candy eating contest, watched a movie, and laughed their heads off at who knows what.

These pictures are taken in the basement.  I literally had to send them down there, because of the noise.  Luke and William were asleep.

The girls kept on teasing Sam in a cute way, but he had had enough.  I found him hiding in the corner with the Kindle.  He is a good sport!  When I asked him what he thought of the craziness these girls were creating, he just shook his head.
I am glad that I have a very forgiving daughter and one who can tough out a lot of mean treatment.  It really says a lot about a person that can be treated so cruelly, but once the apologies are said, can forgive, move on, and have a blast with that same person just days later.

I have a lot to learn from her.

the worst, worst, worst

Luke came down with hand, foot and mouth this week.

It was the absolute worst!

William and Sam got it once, years ago, and I remember thinking at the time, that it was the worst thing my kids had experienced up to that point.  Horrible.

It was no different with Luke.

His poor little mouth (inside and out)broke out with nasty, painful blisters all over.  His fingers, palms, feet, legs, and toes also had red, pussy, swollen blisters all over them as well.

It was a good, solid week of Luke up all night, crying all day, having to be carried everywhere (because the blisters on his feet were so painful), and pretty much misery for all involved.

I hate that stuff like the plague, and seriously hope we never, ever see it in our house again.

Luke is doing better now, and his blisters are scabbing over.  We are all definitely worn down, and exhausted from it all though.


cold hard truth

The day finally came.  A day I have been dreading, but knew was coming quickly.

Mary asked me about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and so on.

And this time, I told her the truth.  The cold, hard, truth.

I hated doing it.  I felt like I was sucking the childhood, the magic, and the naïve little sparkle out of child.

Overdramatic, oh yeah, but that is how it felt to me.

I have LOVED having all of my children believing, experiencing the magic, and thrill, and the joy of magical people doing wonderful things. 

I tenderly explained to Mary that even though she now knew, the magic wouldn't die unless she let it.  She could now help take part in, and create the magic for others.  She was an official Elf.

She thought that was really cool, and actually took it all very well and maturely. She has already figured it out and pretty much known for a while now anyway.

I know that a lot of parents out there are growing more and more against "lying to our children by telling them there is a Santa," but honestly, I have zero regrets, and I don't feel it is lying at all.

I love letting my children experience the full magic and wonder of the holidays.  I don't care that I don't get all of the credit at Christmas, because they believe in Santa.  I think that is a very selfish way to look at it actually.  Does it really matter who gets the credit.  Isn't it all about giving and loving anyway?

I think it is a fun and wonderful thing, that children can only truly believe in for such a short time.  Why take that magical part of childhood away from them?

Yes, it was so hard to tell Mary.  No, she did not think I was a lair, and feel like she had been deceived and ruined.  She actually thanked me for letting her believe and have those wonderful memories, and she is so excited to help make that joy for her siblings now.

Oh, but how Mary is growing up too fast these days!

did you eat a baby?

As I am sitting here blogging, I am in my gym clothes, which really show my baby pooch that poked out this week.

William asked about it earlier in the day, and I told him that the baby was in there.

This afternoon, William came a sat by me.  He was just looking at my stomach very seriously.  I looked up at him, and he asked, "Mom, why did you eat a baby?"

I literally made all sorts of snorts and noises trying to hard not to burst out laughing hysterically, and I found a way to calmly tell William that I did not eat a baby.

He replied, "yes you did, I saw you last night."

I ate pizza last night, and he must be referring to the tomato sauce or something. What a horrible image!

I promised him that I did not eat a baby, over and over again.  I tried to explain to him that the baby just got in there, and is growing. I told him that when the baby gets big enough, the doctor will take it out, and he will have a new brother or sister.

He then asked how the doctor will get the baby out. 

Before I could answer he said, "Oh, the doctor will reach down your throat (he then shoved his chubby hand down his throat until he gagged), like that, and then pull the baby that you ate back out."

I simply explained to him that the doctor will not pull the baby out my mouth, and that I really didn't eat a baby.  I told him that the doctor will help pull the baby out of my tummy when it is time.

William then sat silent for a minute or two.  I figured he was thinking about something else, or just watching me type.

Then, he leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Mom, are you going to eat me?"

little green mischevious thing

St. Patrick's Day has been the first holiday I have felt good enough to actually plan for, get excited about, and have fun with.  I normally LOVE holidays, and have a blast making them fun for my family, but lately, I just have been trying to survive.

This pregnancy, and the other two that I miscarried, have been tiring, and I have been sick a lot.  That takes away a lot of my drive to do anything but keep my children alive, and keep the house from burning down.

I had fun with the holiday this year.

Our leprechaun was very silly and slightly mischievous this year.

The kids made a very cute and clever trap, and set it out the night before.

The silly leprechaun found a way out of it, but he left some gold coins.

The next morning, we woke up to some St. Patricks silliness.

The leprechaun messed up the house a little.  He also put a diaper, a bowtie, and a hat on Ironman,
he put a hat on William's dinosaur
he turned the milk green,
he put backpacks in the microwave, shoes in the fridge, and ottomons on the couch.

He also left some silly gag gifts and toys for the kids.

William thought the whole thing was absolutely hilarious.  When he woke up, he just walked through the house laughing and shrieking at everything.  I wish I had the video camera out.

It was a fun day for everyone!

orange belt promotion

Last weekend was a highly anticipated weekend for Sam.

It was the orange belt promotion for Karate!

He has improved so much, just in the last few months from the last promotion.  It is so fun to see him enjoying karate and learning the discipline aspect of all of it as well.  He is great at obeying, being serious when he needs to, and remembering all of the series of moves.

I didn't get the best pictures, but I tried.  The room was so crowded, and I was smashed by the front door in a little corner.

Kneeling at attention

Doing a series of moves

Sam helping a younger karate buddy

getting ready to show the judges his kicks

Flying side kick

Getting his certificate and bowing to his sense

Little Ninjas

Sam is now an official proud Orange Belt!!! Go Sam Go!

salt palace excitement

Sorry I have been MIA for a while.  You see, when I am pregnant, my joints get all slippery and loose and my grip is terrible.  I am constantly dropping stuff.  I dropped the keys 4 times in a row the other day.  I would pick them up, and then drop them again before I had even stood completely up from picking them up.  I think I literally growled out of frustration at one point.  The computer became a victim of this, and it took a good week to get it repaired and back home again.  The screen was shattered. Yeah, not good.

Anyway, it is all good now, and I am extremely careful when carrying the laptop anywhere now.

Mary had a tumbling meet last weekend at the Salt Palace.

It was a HUGE meet, with over 1,000 athletes coming from Canada, Texas, California, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, and several other states.  It was a 2 day long event, but we lucked out, and Mary did all of her events on Saturday.

The meet was set up so professionally that it was extremely intimidating when we first walked in.  The events were up on podiums and the judges were all in black suits.  It was awesome, and pretty scary for Mary.

There were about 40 girls in Mary's age group for each event.  Some had a few less, and some had a few more.

Mary did great!  I tried to get pictures, but it was so hard being far away, and with her moving so fast. 
Meeting the judges.  Mary is in her group to compete in the double mini.


They split Mary's age group into groups of 10, called Flights.  That way it was easier to score them and the events didn't take as long.  She was given her place out of the 10 girls, and her overall place out of the 40 girls in her age group.
Double mini

Mary placed 9th out of her Flight, and 16th overall on Double Mini.


Mary placed 6th in her Flight on trampoline, and we never found out her overall placement.


And on floor, Mary got...

1st in her Flight and overall!!!!

This meet was a fundraiser for a World Class Gold Medal tumbler who broke his neck and was paralyzed from the chest down, just 8 months ago.  In honor of him, several Olympic Gymnasts, including Nastia Leukin, Missy Marlow, and numerous other Gold Medalists came and signed autographs.  They signed a shirt Mary has, and you better believe it is a big keepsake!

It was a great meet for Mary, and more than her placement, I am so proud of the way she handled it all.  She acted the same when she placed 16th and when she placed 1st.  Just happy she did her best and glad to be there.  After seeing athletes bawling, throwing fits, and even upset parents, I realized that, to me, her good attitude no matter her placement, is truly what matters.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

pregnancy update

OK, here's the deal.  I am pregnant.  That really should be enough to say, right?

But, because this is the last pregnancy, and someday I may actually miss this (?), I am going to update the blog about it.  So, enjoy... or something.

This week marks the end of the first trimester!

 I always have a hard first trimester, but this one, well, this one takes the cake.  I cannot even begin to describe the emotion and energy that has gone into the past 14 weeks, as  we have seen scary test results, ultrasounds, been told to prepare for the worst, but hope for the best, prayed for miracles to keep our baby alive, waited weeks to see if our baby had made it, cried, prayed, hoped, rejoiced, and broken out in cold sores, all the while still experiencing all the crazy hormone changes, almost debilitating fatigue and evil nasty nausea that just come with it.

I personally feel like the heavens should break open and angels should be belting the hallelujah chorus, while showers of glitter and confetti pour down on my head, and my nausea magically disappears, a giant pizza is thrown down from the sky for all to enjoy, and we all dance around in delirious jubilation and relief that it is over and we survived it.

I guess I will settle for a little yippe from me and a high five to Ben, and maybe a nap, if I get lucky.

Last week, I went in for some genetic testing to be done on the baby.  With my history of miscarriages, the drops in progesterone this pregnancy, and a period of 2 weeks where the baby did not grow at all, my doctor thought it would be beneficial to have some genetic testing done.

Anyway, I went in for the genetic testing ultrasound and blood test.  That same morning, I also had an appointment with my OB.  She had a really hard time finding the heartbeat, but she finally did.  She mentioned something about my placenta being in an abnormal place that can muffle the heartbeat, but that all was well. That was a blessing, because going in to the genetic ultrasound, I didn't have to worry that they would find my baby no longer living.  It was so nice to have that assurance this time.

The specialty clinic was in Salt Lake, and I must say, their equipment is amazing!  The clinic I went to is the place where women  come if they, or their baby, have either a genetic problem, heart problem, brain problem, or any other complication that is pretty severe.  Because of this, they have top notch ultrasound equipment, and it was so cool!

The images of my little baby in utero were so clear and detailed, I almost forgot what I was there for, and that I was nervous.  Some of the ultrasound was even in 3D.  I got to see my baby sucking his/her thumb.  It was so clear that I could literally see each curled finger and the thumb moving back and forth with the mouth as the baby was sucking.  I could see the cute little profile of my baby, the little hands and feet, and even blood vessels and organs.  For being so early on in the pregnancy, and for all we have been through, it was really neat and special for me to see these things.

The tech measured and typed things in, changed screens and angles, and chatted to me happily.  Once it was done, another tech came in.  She was one that oversees everything and makes sure the ultrasound was clear and provided the info they needed.  She asked me some odd questions about previous C-sections, D & C's, or surgeries on my uterus.  I answered them, and a feeling of unease came over me.

She then left, and said she was going to talk with someone that was over her, and come back.  In the main time, my blood was drawn.

When she came back she told me that my baby looked great!  She said that from what the ultrasound showed, the test was good news.  The ultrasound results account for 75% of the testing. The other 10% would come from the blood test. The overall test is 95% accurate.  I was so relieved and so happy!  My baby is probably just fine, as far as genetic abnormalities are concerned!  No serious defects were detected from what they could see at this time.  I got a call the other day, and the blood test was great too!  They told me that no other genetic testing would be necessary.  I grinned for a long time after that, and said many prayers of thanks.

On another note, they did talk to me a little about another concern they had, while I was in the ultrasound room.  Something with my placenta didn't look right.  They were concerned about 2 possible things it could be.  She explained each thing to me.  Neither one is at all harmful to the baby, which is good news. 

One of the things, is not harmful to me or the baby, and can be taken care of sometime after the baby is born.

The other scenario is very different.   It is scary, freaks me out, and would greatly complicate this pregnancy, especially for the last trimester, and months following the delivery. It is the most severe complication a pregnant woman can have.  Again, it is not harmful to the baby, but this scenario is very dangerous for me.

She then told me that they were not completely sure with either one though, and to try not to worry. ha! She told me to schedule my 19 week ultrasound with them, instead of my regular OB, so they can re-look at my placenta and know for sure what is going on, if anything, as well as get a very high tech anatomy ultrasound of the baby...which will be VERY cool! 

Here's the deal.  I spent the last week researching, having nightmares about, and worrying myself almost sick over something she said I may, or may not have. 

I finally have come to this conclusion. 

I have spent 14 weeks, ping ponging back and forth from test results, ultrasounds, and OB visits, being stressed, scared, worried, and constantly researching and wondering with each declaration of bad news and potential bad news.  It has been extremely taxing and hard.

Now I finally have some good news about my baby from the genetic testing. I got to see my sweet baby in fine detail.  I am out of the first trimester and serious danger zone, although the whole pregnancy is fragile, the most fragile part is over.  We fought and we won a battle. My nausea is still here, but is lessening.  I am slowly getting some energy.  I am finally entering into the only trimester of pregnancy that is kind to me.

I am going to enjoy it! 

I have been through a lot the first trimester, and potentially could have some tough things ahead.

I need this time to charge my batteries, enjoy my last pregnancy, enjoy spring, get back to the gym, feel the sunshine, enjoy my family, my amazing friends, and the joys and hardships of motherhood.  I need to have hope in this pregnancy, with no news of despair or possible gloom. 

I am not going to worry about what my body could potentially have, and stress over something that I will not have answers for, for another 6 weeks. 

I really need this next month and a half of joy, happiness, sunshine, and life.  I am throwing my worries about this pregnancy to God for now, where he can hold them for me until, if or when, it is necessary that I face them again.

So, that's what I am going to do.

Welcome second trimester!


It's only been a week and a half since we have been back from Disneyland, but I have been really busy and haven't really had time or energy to blog. 

I slept in today, the sun is shining, and I have some rare down time, so here is my catch up post of our happenings lately.

I found this picture from Disneyland.  My kids weren't really into the characters, but I did get two of the kids to pose with Pluto.  William was scared of him and just scowled at him with his arms straight down and hands balled into fists.  It only egged Pluto on and he continued to follow William around and tease him.  The more he teased, the more defiant William got.  It was hilarious!  Oh, good times.

Sam is absolutely in love with his lizard.  It is the most loved, held, played with, and shown off lizard I know.  It is so fun to see Sam so incredibly into something.  He named it Spike.  Spike is tropical, so we have to keep the cage wet and humid.  He was getting pretty thin and lethargic, and we found out that he will only eat what he can hunt.  So, instead of millworms, we feed him crickets, and he loves them.  William spent almost 1/2 an hour just watching Spike hunt and eat crickets the other day.  William is very in to the lizard too, and is asking for one of his own.
I got the "pleasure" of bringing Spike in for show and tell.  Sam was so proud and just grinned the whole time.  Spike was a huge hit.  I am so glad we got the lizard.  It has been great so far. (and really easy to take care of)

show and tell

William decided that he is strong, and loves to show off his ribs...I mean muscles...every chance he gets.  He is still very cuddly and is a huge home body.  He is approaching my favorite age...4.  He is hilarious, fun, easier to reason with, eager to please, sensitive, and is big enough to play with his siblings and his friends well.  Aahhh, he is at a great age.  Love my William!

Mary has a really big tumbling meet coming up this weekend. It is in the Salt Palace in Salt Lake and there will be over 1000 athletes competing.  She is excited for it.

She is also caught in 2 different groups of friends.  One group in the cul de sac, and one at school. Both groups are a group of 3 girls.  3 girls is a recipe for disaster.  She is the least drama oriented of them all, but still gets tangled in the fights sometimes.  I have had to pray a lot and stress a lot about how to tell Mary to handle things and how to teach her to be a good friend.  It has been a big learning time for us as parents, and for her.

This week, for the first time, I had to call a parent and talk to her about her daughters horrible, and cruel treatment toward Mary for almost 2 months.  It was turning into bullying and causing Mary to dislike school, and become very quiet, down on herself, and withdrawn. It was heartbreaking to watch.
I HATE confrontation when it comes to talking to a parent about their child, it is probably one of the most sensitive subjects out there, but this was necessary.  I stressed over it and prayed about it for a week before I made the phone call, and I tried really hard to be understanding and non confrontational, but still get my point across. 
The mother was kind, understanding, and wonderful.  The teacher got involved, and the bullying has stopped so far, and Mary has one of her best friends back.  Oh wow...pretty intense!  I am glad that Mary is really good at brushing most things off, and just waiting out the storm while doing other things she likes. Sometimes though, things can just go too far. 

I am so grateful for this mother, and for people in general, that are willing to kindly and rationally talk things out, be respectful, confront the problem in a mature way, and then let things go.  I have learned throughout my life, that this is vital when it comes to dealing with people and keeping friendships and relationships.  I am pretty sure that this is why I am loving my 30's so far, and all my my friends in their 30's. Our relationships are real, close, and based on something deep, understanding, and mature. Crap does not matter to us as much.  It seems to be the age where we all finally figure this out.

Mary is signed up to play soccer for the first time, and is extremely excited.  She is growing into a really good friend of mine, and has her head on straight.  She is fun, creative, active, responsible, and a great daughter to have.

Luke turned into a 2 year old overnight.  He is talking up a storm (thank you tubes!), has the energy of a wild monkey on steroids, and LOVES to get into everything.  His absolute favorite thing to do is pretend to cook with real dishes.  He unloads our cupboards and dishwasher numerous times a day and "cooks" all day.  He also loves to play with the vacuum and anything that plugs into an outlet. (that isn't scary at all..bahahahaha) He finds a great thrill in going through the pantry, dumping over the trash can, trashing Mary's room, and running very, very far away when we go outside. He is adorable and full of life, but oh, so, so, so, exhausting for this pregnant body of mine.  I literally let out a HUGE sigh and collapse on our bed when he finally falls asleep each night.  Then I smell his sweet smell, kiss his cheeks, and soak him all in, before zonking.

Ben has taken the kids skiing a few times, and is trying to squeeze in a few more before the season is over.  He is working hard and doing well with Cintas.  He is working through a sore back at the moment, which we hope will be short term. He is my anchor and has been a good sport through the fun first trimester hormones, fatigue and grumpies.  I am blessed to have him.

As for me, well, I am pregnant.  All I really have energy to care about at the moment, aside from my family, is sleep and any food with a good solid base of tomato or pizza sauce.

Life is good.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

the happiest place on earth

Last week we took our first family vacation to Disneyland.  Luke stayed with my mom in Pocatello.  As much as we love him, a 12 hour car ride and 3 days walking all over Disneyland and the Ocean didn't really seem like a good idea with our busy and restless 21 month old. 

He ended up having a blast with grandma and Bop.  He got new shoes, ate like a king,
ate at Texas Roadhouse,
did lab work with Bop,
played with toys,
snuggled with grandma, got rid of the bottle (yippee!), and played with the dog, Champ.

He came hope happy, eating more, and smelling like grandmas yummy perfume.  Grandma rocks!

We drove all day Wednesday and had a brief stop in Vegas to eat dinner at a buffet in one of the Casinos.  I felt like I was taking my pure, innocent children into a rats nest.  They felt it too.  Mary mentioned to me that her heart didn't feel good there.  I guess the thick smoke, gambling, empty glossy eyed people, and the pictures of naked women didn't exactly give us the warm fuzzies.   We ate and left, and decided that Vegas wasn't for us.

We got to our hotel, crashed and woke up excited to head to Disneyland!  We ate breakfast at our hotel and took off.  It was fun to see my kids so wide eyed at how huge the place really is.  The weather was predicted to be really bad all 3 days we planned to be there.  Flash flood warnings and everything. It poured all night, but we woke up to sunny skies and were very relieved!

For being in a place with all things Disney, my kids were all about the rides.  We saw tons of characters walking around, and I would get all excited.  My kids would just shrug and ask where the next ride was.  As a Disney person, I was shocked at first, but it was pretty funny, and it actually saved us hours of waiting in line to see characters.

We learned that my cousin and old roommate Gina and her husband Sam, who is good friends with Ben, were at Disneyland also.  We ran into them and had a good time talking for a little bit.

We played hard all day, and walked and rode rides until we dropped.  I only did 2 rides, but I truly didn't mind. I was really happy just to watch my family have fun.  I wanted to be very careful with the baby inside me,  and the rides didn't exactly mix well with the morning sickness that seems to be lingering. We walked and rode all day. We left the park to go to dinner that evening, and my pregnant self had had enough.  William was sound asleep in the stroller as well.  We decided that William and I would walk back to the hotel, and Ben, Mary and Sam would go back to the park and check out California Adventure.  It turned out great!

I put William to bed and flopped down on my bed, turned on HGTV and didn't move a muscle.  William snored next to me. I was happy as a clam.

When they returned, Mary and Sam were beaming and bouncing all over and talking about a million miles a minute about the rides.  Ben collapsed on the bed, and fell asleep mid sentence. 
It was a day well spent, and I loved seeing my family have fun.
Williams neck muscles aren't strong enough to hold his head up on the fast wild rides, but he loves them, so Ben is holding his head up for him.  This cracks me up!
Ben took pictures of the pictures they take of you on some of the rides.  Ha! Smart man of mine.

The next day we woke up to rain pouring so hard it was unbelievable.  It was the day we planned to go to the beach, and I was so sad and frustrated!  Sam prayed for us to have good weather at the beach, we ate breakfast, and headed out.

When we got to the beach, the sun was out!  I was thrilled, we all were. Something about the ocean made all of us come alive.  The kids LOVED running from the waves, collecting clams and shells and building sand castles.  I couldn't believe how much they loved it.  Ben and I found ourselves basking in it too, and Ben was able to feel childhood feelings of playing in the ocean come flooding back.

Sam loved running from the tide going in and out.

Mary found a bunch of live clams.  She also found a HUGE shell...bigger than her hand, that was not broken.  It looks perfect in her under the sea bedroom. 

William's sand rockets

The kids ended up getting wet and cold after a couple hours, so we decided to go get lunch.  Right when we sat down in the restaurant, it started pouring and didn't stop the rest of the day.  Perfect timing. God listened to Sam's prayer.

After the beach, we headed to the California museum of Science.  Sam had come down with a fever and an ear ache, and the kids were wet and cold, but the museum was so cool!

The space shuttle Endeavour was there, yeah, the real thing.  I am a space nut, and always have been, and I was in heaven!  It was amazing!  The whole museum was awesome and had so many displays to look at and things to do.  The kids liked the ones about the human body and the marine life. If Sam weren't so sick...poor kid, we could have stayed for hours. He did his best though.

We had a good time there , and I was so excited to be able to actually stand next to a space shuttle that had been to space 25 times!!!   The kids felt the wonder of it too, and realized how special it was to see something like that.

After the museum we drove around LA and looked at some of the mansions in Beverly Hills.  I was surprised with how much more I liked LA than I thought I would.  Ben was amazing at navigating such a huge city in the pouring rain.

The next day we woke up to pouring rain again.  Sam was also still sick.  Ben gave him a blessing, we loaded him up on medicine, and we took a leap of faith, and headed to Disneyland anyway.  It wasn't raining when we got there, and somehow it didn't rain until later in the evening.  It was cloudy all day and looked like it could pour any second, but it held out, and we were more than grateful!  Sam also perked up and was fine until the evening.  Another blessing!

We spent most of the day at California Adventures.  It was awesome!  We waited in line for an hour for the Cars ride, but it was worth it.  It was the only really long line we waited in. It was by far the favorite ride for most of us...right up there with  Tower of Terror and Space Mountain.
William was freaked out with the life size Mater that moved and talked, so he isn't in the picture.

He did love the Mater ride though.

We went back to Disneyland for a few more rides on the favorites.  I had to laugh when Ben had to smash into this little rocket with the 2 boys.  It was funny watching them all try to squish in.  Sam was cold and wore my pink jacket all was hilarious how many people called him "princess."

We played hard all day again, and finally left after we were soaked and frozen.  We ate dinner (well Ben and I did, the kids slept right through it), and crashed.

It was back home the next day, and the drive was long, but went well.

We had a great vacation, and I hope it is one the kids remember forever.  We plan on going back when the youngest ones are old enough to ride the rides and remember it as well.  Probably in 3 years.

Until next time....