Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Easter Miracle

My cousin’s son, who was just two months younger than Peter, just finished his short trip through mortality yesterday. Perhaps it was the fact that these two boys were so close in age, or that she has two other young kids who were excited to bring home a new baby brother, but it’s really hit home for me. While I have been deeply saddened by their loss, I have also been so blessed by her family’s amazing faith and strength. It has really caused me to pause and reflect on my own testimony of the reality of the resurrection, the eternal nature of the family, and miracles.

Recently, I’ve been trying to teach Benjamin about Easter, and what it means to us. It is beautiful how simple the gospel is, that even a two-and-a-half year old can understand. As I told him that baby Dexter had died, he immediately connected it to Jesus and his resurrection. He has prayed for baby Dexter many times over the past few months, but he knew that he was alright, and that he had gone home to Jesus and Heavenly Father. What faith.

I also know that this special spirit has gone back home. I found great comfort in Isaiah as I was reading last night. It says in verse 8 of chapter 25, “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.” He knows all of our pains, and how to succor each of us. I really began to comprehend that the great Creator of us all, the only perfect man to ever live on this earth, really did rise again on the third day, breaking the bands of death for all of us. He has made it possible for us to receive Eternal life, and that is the greatest miracle.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Day at the Park

We woke up to snow yesterday, but last week we had some really nice weather. So we went to the park with some friends. Benjamin and Saida have been buddies ever since we moved here. He even named his blonde "Little People" girl "Saida" and plays with her all the time. She was his first kiss. I can't believe how much they've both changed in a year!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

This Week

I don't know why I have an impulsive desire to write when I feel like I have nothing to write about, but perhaps I'll appreciate the glimpse of this past week in future years.

On Thursday, I took Benjamin to get a new shirt for our family picture. His clothes (for the most part) are all hand-me-downs, so I wanted him in something decent. The meltdown began in the dressing room when I asked Benjamin to try a shirt on. Since it wasn't going to happen and he was getting more and more worked up about everything, I decided just to leave. He screamed all the way out of the store, and the whole car ride home, and he stayed in the car for about twenty minutes once we were in the driveway. I guess he was sure that if he held his ground, I would change my mind and take him back to get the "cool shirt." Tough luck, kid. So I began my day feeling like a terrible mom (at least in the public eye) with a spoiled kid. Later that day, I discovered my phone was off even though it had been plugged into the wall for two days. I had several messages, and felt like a terrible friend for not calling anyone back or at least noticing it was off. Then that afternoon as I was playing "grocery store" in the basement with Benjamin, I saw two tiny mice crawl under a door. That pretty much set me over the edge. I felt like I must be a terrible housekeeper too to have mice in our house again. I know I'm my own worst critic, but I really felt like a failure that day. Paul was so nice and understanding and helpful that evening. He even did the dirty work and killed the two mice that we caught on the sticky traps. For future reference, sticky traps are not cool.


Saturday was great. After a few tears and meltdowns (mostly Benjamin's), we made it to our portrait session on time and everyone smiled all the way through it. We got some really great ones of both the boys. We had gotten a family portrait back in January while we were in Utah, but I was not impressed with their underwhelming options and inflated pricing. I found out recently that they're going bankrupt. Honestly, I wasn't too surprised. Then that afternoon, we set to work, totally de-cluttering and gutting the basement of all our junk. We even tackled the creepy, dusty, unfinished laundry room. We did some serious spring cleaning, and we came away with 6 black trash bags and a few big cardboard boxes full of stuff to get rid of. It felt so good! Everything down there is finally organized, shelved, and put in totes instead of cardboard boxes. Paul found the spot where he thinks the mice are coming in, and he'll fix it with foam. Hopefully that will take care of the problem. Because I really hate mice. That night we watched a cute movie called "Miss Potter." It's about Beatrix Potter and her "Peter Rabbit" stories. Her illustrations are amazing and I really want to buy her set of books now. Oh, and I want to go to the Lake District in England. Pure magic.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Exhaustion has its' Advantages

I have pretty weak resolve when it comes to "sleep training" my kids. I really like the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Dr. Marc Weissbluth because it makes a lot of sense to me, and it allows for flexibility. And I completely agree with the title. But, actually making a plan of action has always been hard for me. It was awful letting Benjamin cry for a few nights when he was a baby. I almost caved so many times, but I have never regretted that decision since. He sleeps, and is so much better for it.

Peter was in our bed for the first two months of his life until finally I worked up enough drive to make him sleep in his crib. I now sleep better, he sleeps better, and I still don't know what took me so long. Something about walking on cold wood floors in the middle of the night....

So Peter never slept through the night on his own like some newborns supposedly learn to do. On good nights, he'd wake up at 11 p.m., 3 a.m., and then 6 a.m. Recently I started using some Luvs diapers (they were given to us) and his nights got even worse. He got up probably 5 times a night, and about 3 of those times, he had completely wet through his pajamas and several blankets (the diaper of course was barely wet). I was so mad at those diapers. I am now a very loyal Huggies customer.

As soon as I put him back in the regular diapers, we were back to the normal wake up times, but I was exhausted. So exhausted in fact, that I completely slept through the 11 p.m. wake up time (Paul didn't, which is how I know) and Peter slept until 3 a.m. It happened again last night, and he slept until 4 a.m.! I know, I know, exciting. So he's close to sleeping through the night, and I didn't even have to deal with the emotional turmoil that goes along with it. Hooray for sleep!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

OK, so they don't have a bit 'o Irish in them, but these little Leprechauns want to wish you a happy St. Pattie's day!We always celebrated St. Patrick's Day growing up because my Dad's birthday fell on it. Green pancakes, green bread, you name it. We went all out every year. Here's a picture from 1986 with my Dad and Grandpa. Happy Birthday, Dad!
*3/17/09* Come on, you can't tell me these green crepes don't look appetizing! At least I made the smoothies pink.

Four More Days...

...until the official start of Spring! Can you tell we're excited?



Benjamin was telling me to "put the camera down and play soccer" with him. OK, so I'm a little fanatical with the thing. Benjamin was building a brick house "his size" today.


Oh, and have I mentioned how happy we all are that DADDY'S HOME!?!?

We're pretty happy!
I realized I have no pictures of me lately. Here's proof that I hold Peter (about 90% of his waking hours).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Latest Craze

I'm sure it's a common two-year-old trait to be obsessive about certain things, but I think Benjamin is somewhat of an extreme case. Don't get me wrong. I think his determination and persistence is admirable. He's a sponge. But it can also be a little tiring for me, the one who is usually required to participate in whatever the latest craze may be.

Lately, it's been his games. He would play "Candy Land" all day every day if I let him. He's good about taking turns, and I think he gets the concept of the game, but the way he likes to play goes on forever. It's not so much a linear game for him as it is an eliptical one. He loves to pick up the special candy cards, and especially "Lolly," so while I play the normal way, inching my way to the top, he's going from Grandma Nut to the Gumdrop Monster to the Gingerbread tree, all with equal enthusiasm. And I always "win," not that he cares. Paul's a lot better than I am about making him follow the rules.

Benjamin also loves to play "Memory" with me, and he always wins. It's sad, but I really don't have the memory I used to. He has a new cute Cranium game that we just got out (thanks, Grandma!) called "Hullabaloo." I like it because it makes you move, crawl, spin, stomp, etc. to each space, and teaches kids colors, shapes and animal/instrument/food categories. Oh, and if you're on the winning piece at the end, you get to do a "funky monkey dance." So I really like playing that one with him.

This week, we got "Hi Ho, Cherry-O" and he's a lot more cooperative about following the rules with this one. It teaches counting. I have no idea how many times I've played it in the last two days, but it's not "Candy Land," so I don't care. I'm just enjoying this special time that I have with just me and him, before he's off to school and has no time left for Mommy.


Oh, and Paul sent this to me today. Doesn't he look like he's missing a certain signifigant other? If only...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Some Much Needed Energy Expenditure

Since Paul took the camera with him, all I have is my phone. I took some cute pictures of the boys though today at our children's museum. I use my year pass all the time since it's so close. Benjamin had a blast, running around for a few hours, and Peter patiently went along for the ride.
Peter playing in the water works area before he settled down in his stroller for a nap.
Brothers in the water works area.
Benjamin by the enclosed spray guns. You can aim the water at people here without getting wet.
One of Benjamin's favorite spots is this ball ramp. The tennis balls ring the bells along their way.
Benjamin playing at the sand tables.
A new feature is this pipe organ that releases bubbles when you hit the keys.
And another ball ramp that hits the pans, ringing different tones.
This ball ramp is pretty cool. It plays "Ode to Joy" on chimes as the the ball slides down the ramp. And there's Benjamin, hurrying off to show us the next thing!
Oh wait, no more room on the phone for pictures! But here's a cute one of Peter that I caught after his nap. You can see how bad his eczema is today. Poor guy!

Benjamin also went down the slide, crawled through tunnels, peeked in a mouse's house, went fishing, did some grocery shopping, rang us up at the cash register, fixed a car, served us up at a pizza kitchen, played the entire percussion section of a symphonic orchestra, went for a ride in Cinderella's pumpkin coach, hammered some nails into some shoes, and sat down to feast at Beauty and the Beast's table. It was a busy morning! Little boy energy officially expended. Sleep deprived Moms are so not good for that kind of thing.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Wish you were here!

I just dropped Paul off at the airport this morning for a business trip he'll be on all week. Oh, and he's going to Hawaii. It's a rough job, I tell you!
Yeah, so before you all throw a pity party for me that I'm not there with him, consider this; yesterday, we had temperatures in the mid-80's. Our house was actually hot. And today, it's been in the upper-70's. So I'm not feeling too bad about life right now! Just husband-less is all. We miss you already, Paul!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Rankings

I'm kind of a sucker for the dumb stories that pop up when I check my email. I like reading various rankings, even though I'm not sure I believe whoever is conducting the surveys and their biases. A few years ago, I found an article that ranked my home town in Virginia as the fourth best place to live in America. That was of course a few years after I had moved away from home, but I still thought it was pretty cool.
Then a few months ago, I found an article that ranked the five best and worst housing markets in the U.S., and was shocked to find Provo among the worst, up there with Las Vegas, and a bunch places in Florida...Huh?!
Then yesterday, I got curious to know which of America's cities were the unhappiest, and St. Louis was ranked #2. Interesting...I mean I already knew the crime rate here was the worst in the country when we moved here, but still. That surprised me. I'm pretty sure we're still happy!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Our Little Performing Monkey

Disclaimer: This is intended to be a "grandma post," so I don't expect all of you to sit through Benjamin's little performances. I think they're pretty cute.

This is Benjamin's current favorite library book. He memorizes books after he has me read them to him several times. You might not be able to follow the story line if you're not familiar with it, but it's pretty accurate. This story also captures his budding sense of humor.

video

And a little "Hot Cross Buns" on the piano. Paul taught it to him, and now he loves to perform it even for strangers. Sometimes he'll open the music book to a specific page so he can "read" the music while he plays.

video

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Happy Days

Peter holds his head up really well now on his tummy. It is crazy how fast time flies. I swear Peter is growing up at least triple the rate as Benjamin did. I was trying to remember when Benjamin finally tolerated tummy time, and I think it was around seven months when he also started to scoot. I was looking through some old pictures of him tonight and found evidence to prove me wrong. He was doing this at four months, too. It was all a blur to me. Here's a little blast from the past. Benjamin was SO fat.
And here he is with his little clone. Although they seem to be diverging more and more into their own little persons. Oh, and I weighed Peter this week. He's a whopping 16.5 lbs. He's definitely outgrown the size one diapers I've been mistakenly squeezing him into for the past few weeks.We had some nice weather this week and got to play outside more than usual. Benjamin enjoyed pushing Peter around in the stroller.
And of course working on the compost pile.
So here is my little triumph of the week. I finished TWO projects! I finished stitching together this rug for Peter's room and made the fabric shade.
I like how it turned out. It was really easy, so now I'm confident that I can tackle the five windows in our room and make it look decent.