Sunday, November 1, 2015

Determined, Sure, Confident, Loving, Stern


Roslyn and I attended a baby shower over the summer. We sat next to this little old lady. We really enjoyed her company. She and Roslyn had some great conversations. Then food came out. Roslyn focused on nothing but getting my cookie! The woman made a comment that made me shudder. "She sure does love her food! Well, don't let her get used to that."

At what point did we start talking to BABIES about how to eat to protect their body image? When did it become okay to talk about limiting food for young girls? We have a body image problem in America. Boys and girls feel like they need to look like people who don't really exist -people who have been altered to such a state that it is not humanly possible to sustain life. 

Boys and girls starve their bodies of vital nutrients. They destroy their teeth. Their organs shut down. They die before our very eyes. They are our brothers and sisters, our aunts and uncles, our mothers and fathers.

I will not tell my daughter how beautiful she is, or how her clothes make her pretty. I tell her how great her determination is and how she will need it when she needs to do hard things. I tell her how wonderful it is that she is so sure of herself and what she wants. I tell her how her confidence makes her shine. I tell her how much I love her kisses. I tell her what a great job she does at taking care of her babies. I applaud her ability to stick to her guns, and not let anyone change her mind (even though that part makes it really hard to parent).



Saturday, October 31, 2015

New toilet

This chair was a gift from a friend while I was pregnant with Carter. I love it. It was in the nursery, and has migrated to the living room (It was no longer feasible to seclude myself in the bedroom to nurse, the boys needed supervision).

Last night, Carter got up in a full bladder frenzy. I watched him run, disoriented, out of his room. I knew he was on his way to the bathroom, and didn't think much of it. Until, he didn't come back. I went to check on him. He was crying on the couch that he didn't want me to send him back to bed. I checked his underwear, they were dry. I walked him to the bathroom - crying all the way. His bladder was empty, which I thought was odd.

I got David to try to calm him down, to no avail. I settled on cuddling with him in the living room until he fell asleep, woke up, or just calmed down. I decided I would sit in my glider/rocker. I found this:


His bladder was empty because he peed on the chair. In our attempt to save Carter's tablet, a book, and my Boppy pillow - Carter fell back asleep on the rug. David carried him back to bed while I rinsed the cushions in the tub. When I moved the chair, I found a very large puddle of urine  that had flowed all the way back. What a mess sleepy, disoriented boys can make!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pigtails!!!

Someone has enough hair for pigtails!! During nap, one side came undone (I have to twist the baby bands about 27 times around to get it to hold, and even then, it is not tight enough). About 7 strands came out with it. There was no longer enough hair to make a pigtail. So, we won't be getting more pigtail pictures anytime soon.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A girl has got to have her babies

Roslyn has discovered babies. She has these two dolls that she carries with her EVERYWHERE. I do not let them leave the car when we go out. It would be a tragedy if they were to get lost (as if there was a chance we could pry them out of her arms – but just in case). However, it is like pulling teeth to get those babies out of her arms when we extract her from her car seat. She begs and pleads – signing “please” frantically, over and over again. She HAS to have those babies.




We moved her to her convertible car seat today. I pulled out my camera and said “Let me take a picture real quick.” She instantly looked at me and stuck her tongue out! So much for her avoidance of the camera for the last 16 months!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Boogers

I remember growing up, seeing toddlers with runny noses. Their parents would chase them around with a tissue. There were fears, tears, and smears. It was just gross. I thought that children were beings with a strange attachment to their bodily secretions (why else would they hide and deny the smell coming from their diaper!!). That, and they had super sensitive skin – to be bothered by a harmless wipe of the face.

Although I never wanted to have the boogery kid, I knew that every child was that way and there was no sense in trying to be holier-than-thou about it.

One day as I watched a parent embark on a stealth mission to catch the stream of nastiness from nose to mouth to cheek, I realized why the child reacted as I would had a spider just jumped on my face. The parent pounced on the unsuspecting child with an old napkin. No warning was given, no option to acquiesce. They grabbed the first disposable tissue-like thing, and scraped as hard as they could to fight against the thrashing.

The more incidences I watched, the more I realized that the child was fighting, not to keep the boogers (although that is a real thing that happens in my house), but to keep from being violated. Later incidences were met with the same panic – even if warning was given. It wasn’t about the snot, it was about the lack of control the child had in regards to their body. There became a stigma on the entire act. ANY attempts to wipe their face brought back the trauma and fear they experienced when it was brought on them like the SWAT team invading their home in the middle of the night.

I vowed to always warn my children.

We have a code word. I’ll say “Nosey nosey” or “Nose Nose Nose”, my children stop and wait. I am gentle and quick. They even started blowing for me! Roslyn, prior to the age of 12 months, would blow her nose any time a tissue was placed in front of it – forcefully enough to be productive! Beckett is not as coordinated, but he tries. At two, he can blow his own nose. However, it is not his favorite thing to do. I’ll give him the option for me to wipe or for him to blow, and he will decline my services entirely – choosing instead to go into the bathroom and do it HIS SELF (Did I mention he’s 2?). Sometimes, he is even proactive about it.

Today, I sat down to use the toilet, unrolled the toilet paper, and found this:


He went in, blew or wiped his nose, and left. I have no idea how long this has been here. The important thing is – he was empowered to wipe his nose himself. He knew it was part of life. It wouldn’t hurt. There was no fear.

Parents, remember that our children are going to be adults someday. They have voices that need to be heard. They have likes and dislikes. When they throw a fit, they are trying to express a like or a dislike and don’t have words that fit into your understanding. They yearn to be understood. They long to be heard. Give them the chance. Take the time to sit and listen. They will form a relationship with you built around faith and trust. Isn’t that what you want when they’re teenagers and adults anyway?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Roslyn Updates


Roslyn gave her doctor a good scare with her low weight at a year. She had many things stacked against her when it came to nursing. She has a severe under bight, a level three (out of four) upper frenulum tie, and delayed language. Due to the lack of support I received from the lactation consultants, none of it was caught until a year. By then, the damage had been done. In order to remedy some of the issues, I consulted her doctor, a pediatric dentist, and the lactation specialists. None of them recommended fixing it. They all said that we should just move on and try to make the best of it.


The doctor referred us to multiple specialists to try to fatten her up. I had her evaluated, and it was determined that her weight was not the problem – it was only a symptom of deeper issues. They found Roslyn was significantly delayed in speech and gross motor skills. She has one therapy session and two group sessions every week; in addition, her speech therapist comes every other week. She LOVES it. She loves all the ladies that she sees, and they are so friendly. She loves going to classes.


Roslyn is very strong willed, and her speech therapist has a very strong personality. They did not hit it off at first. Roslyn will not perform for her. The physical therapists have a different rapport. They follow Roslyn around and try to correct her movements to show her that she has more support when she holds her feet a certain way. She gains confidence as she succeeds with their help. However, the speech therapist is more of a leader in the relationship. She prompts Roslyn to make sounds or to hold her spoon a certain way. Roslyn DOES NOT like to be led. She likes to be the leader. At one of her sessions, she was holding her cup upside down (I’m not sure why she does that, but it is common). Her speech therapist tried to turn it. Roslyn lost it. She started crying. She wouldn’t cooperate any more. The appointment was effectively over. They have many run-ins like this. We have found that the dynamic is different when away from home, so we’ve been trying out different places to have her appointments.


This little girl is determined and tenacious. In her evaluation, I was asked to define her personality. I told them she was shy. I quickly learned that she is nowhere close to shy. She just displayed behaviors that mimicked shyness to express her disapproval. When she didn’t want anyone to come near her, she would tilt her head to the side and snuggle into my shoulder. That was her way of saying “No way Jose!” before she had better communication skills. She knows what she wants and she is not afraid to go for it. Now, she will tell you more forcefully to leave her alone or get her something.

On Sunday, Roslyn and Beckett were both going for the same toy. Beckett got their first and threw his double-Roslyn-sized body over the toy so she couldn’t get it. She crawled up on top of him, weaved her fingers in his hair, and began to pull. She pulled his head right up off the floor. He cried “uncle” for sure! She is not afraid to be pummeled by her older brothers.


This little girl sure is giving us a run for our money!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Endurance and Obstacles

Carter's school starts early to raise money for 6th grade camp. Each year they do a fundraiser and the money goes towards making 6th grade camp cheaper for all students in your grade. This year, the fundraiser was an obstacle course.


There was running:


Hurdles:






Tire Runs through hula hoops:


and tires:


They ran through sprinklers and these wet cloths - 
They called it the Rinse Cycle:



Dodge Ball with hanging balls being pushed at them:



And thrown at them:



Then they had to army crawl under three tarps this long:



Each lap was about .2 miles. Carter completed 24 laps in one hour - just shy of 5 miles. He didn't give up. He never even asked to quit. He completed more laps than anyone in his grade and there was only one kid who completed more laps than him in the Kindergarten through 2nd grade group. I believe he was in the top 10 laps completed altogether (Kindergarten through 6th grade).

Sunday, September 27, 2015

"I know this church is true"


This boy, still three months away from his third birthday, decided he wanted to get up in front of the entire congregation at church and tell them how he felt. David went up with him and Carter. Carter was super excited “Is this the Sunday we get to go up and talk?” he asked in the very beginning. When it was his turn, David helped him climb the stool. “Brothers and sisters,” he began. Then he turned to David, gave him a little shove and said “I do it mine self!” He turned back and said “Brothers and sisters, I know this church is true. Name of Jesus Christ. Amen” and he got down. So confident. He may very well be the youngest member of our congregation to get up and bear his testimony.
In our church, we get the opportunity to express our belief in Jesus Christ every month. For me, it really helps us all to see that we are not perfect. We all struggle with things. Sometimes we forget that. We look at everyone around us, dressed in nice clean clothes, with their hair and makeup done, and we think we’re the only one whose kid chose to wear mismatched socks and backwards pants. We think our son is the only one who snuck a marker into church and colored a mustache on his face. We think our kids are fighting talking the loudest. We do not realize that everyone around us is feeling the same. Everyone is feeling inadequate. We are all in need of the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
“The Church is not an automobile showroom—a place to put ourselves on display so that others can admire our spirituality, capacity, or prosperity. It is more like a service center, where vehicles in need of repair come for maintenance and rehabilitation.
“And are we not, all of us, in need of repair, maintenance, and rehabilitation? We come to church not to hide our problems but to heal them.”
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Saturday, September 26, 2015

101

Flashcards aren’t my thing. I want to encourage learning through experience, not memorization. Now that Carter is in school, I realize a lot of things we know – we know because of memorization. Like “Sight Words”, those are words he needs to have memorized.

Someone gave us a pack of flashcards a while back. They are sight words, shapes, and colors. They are pretty cool. Carter lays them all out and pretends they are playing football. They each represent a person in the game or in the stands. Today, I picked them up off the floor and decided to see what he knew. 101 out of 108! I was not prepared for that, since we have not really talked about sight words yet.


As usual, I am realizing he is ready for things, after he is already there. I guess that just means we won’t frustrate each other by trying things he’s not ready for.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Happy Birthday

We didn’t do an official birthday party for Roslyn. She has some friends from church about her age, but we couldn’t get together with them in June or July because of all the craziness with older siblings and school. Carter thought it was a mortal sin not to have a birthday party for your birthday. So, even though it was a month and a half late, he took it upon himself to make her a cake and plan her a party.

I was getting her up for the morning, and when I came out to the kitchen, he had pulled out: 8 packages of Rice Krispy Treats (his favorite number), blue raspberry frosting, some green candles, and a knife. He had already arranged it and started frosting.

 


 After dinner, he sprinkled it with green sprinkles, and we settled on two candles – one for him to show her how to blow, and the other for her to do herself.




 She was not so sure of it, but when we tried to take her piece away, she freaked out. Eventually, she had her fill, and threw what was left on the floor.



I am so grateful for boys who love their sister, and a little sister who is willing to put up with them.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Speaking In Church and the Post Pregnancy Brain

Last week I was approached by a guy at church. He is in charge of assigning talks to the congregation, amongst other things. 

He handed me a talk:




The talk is titled "Choose to Believe" by Elder L. Whitney Clayton. I was supposed to speak on how we choose to believe  in Christ, rather than being forced into belief. I could take any quotes from the talk, insights I had, scriptures, or stories that followed my theme.

I told him "No Problem" and stuck it in my bag. It was a crazy day. Carter gave a talk to all the children, I lead the music to the congregation, and I taught a class.

Today, another man at church came over and said "I noticed you are speaking today." What? Me? You're talking to me? He shows me the program. I thought it was a joke. He mentioned that the man who asked me was out of town (which I knew ahead of time) and they thought he asked everyone ahead of time. I reached into my bag and pulled out the untouched talk. Yes, he did ask me. I will have something ready. 

On the top of the talk, there was a hand written time frame: "8 - 10 minutes". I was hoping to make it to 5! 5 minutes of my rambling on and on would suffice right? They would be tapping me on the shoulder and asking me to sit down before I ever got to 8 minutes right?

My first instinct was to run out of the chapel, find a quiet classroom and plan something in the 15 minutes I had. However, I lead the music. I was able to read ONE paragraph and up on the stand I went (Thank goodness we were there early!!). After I led two songs, I ran back to sit with David so he didn't have to keep the kids quiet on his own the entire time. Also, I didn't want to miss Beckett's first time taking the Sacrament. 

There was a 13 year old young man who gave a talk, 6 or 7 minutes long, then it was my turn. I completely winged it. I have never done that. I used two quotes from the paragraph that I had read, some stories from my life that applied, and I sat down. I spoke for 7 minutes and 55 seconds. . Whew. I did it.

I walked from the podium, to the organ. I grabbed my book, and led another song. I sat down with my family. I listened to the last speaker fill the rest of the time nicely - even cut some out of what he had originally intended to say - then I got up and led the last song. I went from there to teach my class.

What a crazy whirlwind of a day!!

My brain just does not work like it used to! Babies really sucked the brain cells out of me. 

After I have had time to think, I realized something. I was super stressed out for about 20 minutes today. However, had I remembered, I would have been stressed out for 7 days. I stressed out over Carter's talk, and I wasn't even able to be there!! This would have put my stomach in knots all week! What a blessing!


Sacrament


As my long time readers know, I feel partaking of the Sacrament is a sacred ordinance that should not be so robotic that it has no meaning. I feel like we forget the importance of it. I mentioned before that we started to practice the Sacrament with Beckett and it didn’t go well. This week, Beckett started to introduce it to us. I would act up, and he would tell me “No, you need to be reverent” or “No play with toys, read your scriptures.” He asked me to read him the Sacrament prayer so he could memorize it. He had a pretty good handle on it before I even started. This video is him before I read him the prayer. You can find it highlighted here near the bottom, and follow along with him (Since he can be rather unintelligible sometimes.). This version is completely from listening to the boys pray on Sundays. We have not practiced at all since our last attempt.


video



So today, on his first day partaking the Sacrament he was so proud of himself. He was so reverent. I could tell it really meant something special. It may not have meant the same to me or someone else who needed the gift of the atonement. However, it was special to him just the same.




Everest: Conquering Challenges with God's Mighty Power

This week Carter learned about how to do hard things, knowing that God is there to help. When we do all that we can, He provides the rest. When we are sad, feeling that we cannot go any further, He will comfort us. He will heal our heart and even our bodies. When we make mistakes, he has the power to forgive. He loves us.




Beckett didn't get to participate. He was too young. However, he still learned the songs. I am pretty sure this song was one he learned last year at Vacation Bible School. They just made a new video to make it apply to the new theme.


video

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Service

This summer, we have a long list of parts of the yard and house to reclaim. One day, I was feeling very overwhelmed at the task. These two young men approached me and asked if they could do any service for me. I brushed them off because they are 18 or 19 year old boys wearing nice clothes. I told them that I didn't want to see them get their nice clothes dirty. They said it was no trouble at all, but I didn't really believe them. Finally, after a couple months - I told them we really did need help and I would love to take them up on their offer. They showed up in work clothes, brought a couple friends, and really took care of things. I feel so much better about the list because we made so much progress today.






This has happened once before - last summer. I was pregnant and trying to get the blackberry vines out of our bushes by myself. These two young men in white shirts and ties walk by and ask if they could help. No thank you, I only have one pair of gloves, and you are not dressed for the work. "Not a problem" they say and they get to work - pulling vines with their bare hands. I went to the garage and dug out two more pairs of gloves. They got all of those vines out of the bushes on our hill. I was so grateful. 



Service really is amazing.

4th of July


Friday, July 3, 2015

To the Edge: Encounter the God of the Universe

Carter LOVES Vacation Bible School. I told him it was summer camp, where you got to sleep at home each night. This week, he wore the astronaut costume my mother bought him, and shot off into space. They learned about how God is over all, that He cares about each of them, knows them personally, offers forgiveness of sins, wants to lead us in the right direction, and wants us to serve others to show our love and devotion for Him.




They memorized Bible verses, learned scripture stories, and made friends of other churches and cultures. Carter had a blast (pun intended). 

The church he went to sponsors missionaries in Africa. On the last day, the kids all got to Skype with the missionary dad himself and see what it is like in Africa. Although we did not agree on all of the theology, the message we left with was "It is never too early to commit yourself to serving a mission for God."

The church offers points to kids who bring their Bible, friends, and pennies to support the missionaries. They also get points for the Bible verses they memorize. On the second day of school, Carter won the most points in his age group - 110,000. His age group consisted of 19 -23 boys between the ages of 4 to just completed Kindergarten. I asked the pastor about his points. He told me that he memorized a lot of verses in order to get that many. He got to pick a box of candy. 


On the last day, they awarded the student with the most points in their age group. To my surprise, Cater won. He had earned 441,000 points. I talked to his teacher. She said that out of all her students (19 - 23 boys ages 4 to 7), he was the best behaved and the most eager to learn. He was very disappointed that they didn't do the Bible story worksheet on the last day. The teacher said she could not reign the class in - they were too unruly. She said Carter was the only student who had asked for it, and he was the only one who seemed to be looking forward to learning the scriptures. I have to admit, I was a little stunned. He had been so out of control at home, I couldn't believe he was well behaved for them.  

I had a friend of another faith also attending the same program ask me why I choose to send my children to other churches when we believe different things. I explained to her that we all worship Jesus, we just do it differently. Some people worship in a foreign tongue and say the same routing prayers over and over again. Some worship with vibrant music that urges you to stand up and shout. Some show their devotion to God by keeping their heads covered, or wearing skirts. Some show their faith by wearing sacred clothing outside, or underneath their clothes. We are all showing our reverence for our Father in Heaven and His son. I want my son to see that we express our worship differently, but we are all children of the same heavenly parents. 

Bad Hair Day

What's a girl to do when you have a bad hair day??


Smile, of course!




Monday, June 22, 2015

Till Death Do Us Part

The morning after the joyous wedding, Carter came in to breakfast and said: "[Groom's Name] won't be married any more after he dies." 

I was a little taken aback because I didn't know where this came from. I asked him for clarification, and he explained that they are married, but when they are dead, they are single.

But after I thought about it, I realized he was right. He made a promise to his wife to love her and cherish her, to help her do the dirty dishes and wipe messy faces. He promised that he would stand by her side in sickness and in health - as long as they both lived on this earth.

Carter, even at 5 picked up on that. Why did they have to set an end date on their relationship?

I know that our Heavenly Father gave the sealing power to his prophets in the Bible. What they sealed on earth was sealed in heaven - Matthew 16:19, Matthew 18:18, Ephesians 1:13. And I know that we have a prophet on the earth today who has been given the sealing power.

Russell M. Nelson - a modern day apostle of the Lord said this:


At twelve years old, he knew that his family was eternal. He knew his father was waiting for him. He never doubted. I want my children to know that they will always have a loving family, even when we are apart.

My husband and I were sealed for time and all eternity, and we can be a family together after we die. It gives us comfort that this is not the end.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Weddings


 We attended a wedding last night. It was amazing. The groom is a student of my husband. He delivered our mail for a while too. Our normal mailman - Chuck - was injured and out on leave for quite a while. We went out to meet the substitute driver, and he knew exactly who we were because he had seen my husband's car in the driveway. Over the last year, we got to know him from our visits to the school and the field trip to the International Auto Show.

His wedding was really spectacular. They attend a church in the Four Square denomination. They are very devoted to the Lord and to each other. Their pastor spoke about their commitment and determination. It was very obvious that their church is very bonded. They have a close knit community, and many of them were there last night. He spoke of the pair's commitment to live the law of Chastity and keep themselves pure for each other. I was very impressed at their decision to follow the Lord in that respect. So often, that is looked down upon. 

We are sending our kids the message that sex before marriage is okay and normal. Through television and music, Satan whispers that it's okay, everyone is doing it. Lyrics that we find fun and catchy are really about sinful and devilish things. We laugh at shows and say "Oh, that is just on TV, it isn't real" and expect our kids will know that we follow a different standard.

Here is a couple who made a commitment to each other long before they knew each other. Who were nurtured in the community of their church. And who stuck to their beliefs through the storms of life.

Good for you guys!

As I was sitting amongst their friends, family, and fellow church members - a talk by a member of my church Elder Bruce C. Hafen came to mind. It is called "How We Lost The Plot". In it he says:

"The changes in recent decades have portrayed marriage as an individual adult choice, rather than as a crucial knot in the very fabric that holds society together. We have increasingly lost sight of how much every marriage, and every divorce, affects other people—especially children. 

American writer Wendell Berry once described why relatives and friends come so gladly to wedding receptions. These happy gatherings have the feel of a community event—because that’s what they are: “Marriage [is] not just a bond between two people but a bond between those two people and their forebears, their children, and their neighbors.” Therefore, Berry continues: “Lovers must not . . . live for themselves alone. . . . They say their vows to the community as much as to one another, and the community gathers around them to hear and to wish them well, on their behalf and on its own. It gathers around them because it understands how necessary, how joyful, and how fearful this joining is. These lovers . . . are giving themselves away, and they are joined by this as no law or contract could ever join them. Lovers, then, ‘die’ into their union with one another as a soul ‘dies’ into its union with God. . . . If the community cannot protect this giving, it can protect nothing. . . . It is the fundamental connection without which nothing holds, and trust is its necessity.” 

Picture the community silently saying to the new couple, “We need your marriage to succeed - for our sake!” And picture the new couple silently saying to the community, “We need your support to help us succeed - for our sake!”"

The pastor asked us to pray for them and their union over the next few weeks and months. I feel like he knew that they needed their community to succeed, and the community needed them to succeed as well. 


And now, on to cute pictures of my kids.

Roslyn is really liking the music. She has stared to dance:


video

Beckett was riding the crochet  mallet like a horse:


Roslyn really wanted the ball:


 She got it, and didn't want to give it back:


Father's Day

Happy Father's Day

Our church does a Father/Son campout every year the weekend before Father's Day. David has taken Carter the last three years. It has been a great bonding time for them. Last year I had JUST had Roslyn and was sad to lose my biggest helper (and I'm not talking about Carter) for a night. 

This year was Beckett's first time. He did great. I don't have the pictures from David's camera to prove it, but I was told that both boys were well behaved and had a lot of fun.



This poor little girl did not want to let her Daddy go for the night:


He does so much for our family. We are so grateful to have him.