Friday, March 30, 2012

Mickey Mouse Party

Drew's birthday cake was finished by about 1pm on Friday. His party wasn't until 6:30pm. Every time Drew questioned, "Can I eat it?" I told him not yet. He was such a champ to wait so patiently.

As soon as "Happy Birthday" was sung and the candles blown out, Drew turned to me and asked, "Can you get me a fork?" Guess the poor kid didn't quite understand that he had to share the cake with everyone.


My Baby is THREE

Dear Drew,

Today you are 3! THREE YEARS OLD!!
I swear it was just yesterday you were born, but nonetheless here we are three years later!

I think moms sort of get neglected on birthdays and really you should be extra thankful for ME rather than the new five pack of Hot Wheels cars today. But this year, it isn't because of the fact that I gave you life, (which of course we are celebrating today) that you should be thinking I'm a big deal today, but because of your birthday present.

You should know me by now, I think birthdays are a really big deal. I think the fact I gave you life is a big deal too. But really, giving you a present like this-

This is a BIG deal!!

Remember when I talked about making a floor mat HERE?

Yeah well, I must have forgotten that it's been a few years since I attempted a craft project and I won't be attempting one again anytime soon. Especially one that I'm trying to do secretly so no child in the family sees it before the special day. Seriously I about had a nervous breakdown over it. I wish I was kidding, but I'm not.
This morning as all of you kids were oohing and aahing and enthusiastically playing with it, I said to Daddy, "I can't believe I almost had a nervous breakdown over it."

Daddy's reply?
"'Almost' have a nervous breakdown over it? No, you did have one."

There you have it. Craft projects make Mama a little mentally unstable, but there are worse qualities a mother could have, right? So what if Daddy was sorta right in his analysis of my state of mind, at least it got him sitting down at the table with me the other night adding and coloring all sorts of features to what will now hopefully be a true Sowby family treasure.

You're welcome Drew.
(for the playmat and your life)

Love,
Mama

P.S.
Oh! And about your cake. Yeah well, I'm finally admitting defeat once and for all--cake making is not my forte, even though your body language, facial expression and voice squealing, "Mickey Mouse" was the perfect response for a non-perfect cake.

P.P.S.
I'm sure you know I have a habit of spontaneously breaking out into birthday songs frequently throughout a family member's birthday. Of course, I do the same on my birthday too. I love that just like me, you aren't afraid to sing "Happy Birthday" to yourself throughout your special day.

Happy Birthday Dewer!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Long Post of a Short Trip

There is a tiny part of me that feels a little selfish that my glorious almost four days in Southern California was all about me and what I wanted to do. But then again, Mike declared before we even left on the trip that as long as I was happy he would be too. After all, when I began planning the trip six weeks ago, I had said, "It's either a little getaway trip, or a trip to the mental hospital, you choose." Obviously he opted for the little getaway trip to Southern California. What a guy!

I'm going to let the pictures tell the stories for the most part.

I wish I had more pictures of how much I enjoyed my little niece Lucy. I absolutely LOVED spending time with her without my children there. Otherwise she would have been drawn to my children, but instead I was the novelty and she loved me! (I loved her too.)

(Yes we still have "just woke up eyes" but it was our morning walk!)

I ate at one of my all-time favorite restaurants when in California. (Yes, my choice.) I of course had to purchase a slice of their ginormous chocolate cake. (Which of course I shared.)
Of course I absolutely LOVED everything about Chinatown. Especially the fact that Casey, Cindy, Lucy and Mike were so patient with the amount of time I wanted to spend there. No one complained that I went into nearly every store, that I was so excited that even the crosswalk was unique to Chinatown, or that I didn't notice the smell that was drawing everyone else to make a more timely departure than me. Casey didn't even complain when I "treated" him and Mike to some freshly squeezed orange juice, but had to ask Casey for some money because they didn't have change for a $20 bill! I love Chinatown. San Franciso, New York, Pasadena, doesn't matter. I love them all.
I loved the excitement, goings-on, and atmosphere of the Santa Monica beach. I loved watching the performers practicing for the visiting Cirque de Soleil show. I didn't love that Mike wanted to ride a tandem bike together along the boardwalk but then said he thought I'd be too dangerous with the crowds. (Actually I did love that I didn't have to ride the bike, I just didn't love that he doubted my ability to navigate the crowds on the back of a two-wheeler.)
Mike didn't love that a bird pooped on him while ocean watching while I ordered us some french fries and a milkshake. My great-nan always said it was good luck, but Mike didn't buy my theory.
I loved that after usually always being the one with children, I didn't have any with me!
I loved that I totally wiped out Casey and Mike in a Monopoly game.
(Love that the underdog ended up with ALL the properties and a whole wad of cash!)

I loved (and laughed quietly) that the things that make Casey uptight and ornery are the same things that would make me uptight and ornery in a similar situation. It's a horrible Unwin trait that Casey and I inherited from our father!
I loved that Cindy and Lucy can walk or ride a train wherever they need to go.
I loved visiting with some favorite Sowby cousins on Sunday evening.
Even though there were hundreds of more pictures I wish I had, I wanted to just soak in the time there and not feel the need to capture everything on camera. Although I do have some regrets about what I didn't get on camera. I wish I had photos of the walks Mike and I went on. The charming neighborhood homes with flowers in bloom everywhere. I wish I had a photo of Mike and I eating breakfast outside at a charming corner cafe. I wish I had a picture of Mike lost on the streets of Pasadena after he hopped from the car suffering from extreme car sickness. I wish I had a picture of our mexican meal outside on a beautiful balcony, or of Mike and me walking arm in arm.
But at least I've got the memories.
What a trip!

Monday, March 26, 2012

First Class Vacation

After a long morning spent in Terminal 2 of the Salt Lake International Airport last Friday morning, Mike and I finally boarded a plane to Southern California. We were the lucky recipients of the only 2 stand-by seats available.

(Why in the world would we risk flying stand-by you ask, when we were about to embark on a fun, child-free extended weekend? Well, I'll spare you the details. But it had something to do with Mike, his forgotten wallet and ID and 2 very incompetent airline employees.)

Nonetheless, Mike and I were the very last passengers to board the plane. Just as we stepped over the airplane's threshold, the kind Delta employee whispered, "You'll be in first class." I was so desperate to get on the plane at this point that I likely would have considered flying with the cargo. But I graciously smiled and tried not to look too enthusiastic, lest Mike think I had completely forgiven him for spending the first 4 hours of my vacation at the SL airport, rather than in sunny California!

As we stepped onto the plane, Mike kindly let me choose which seat I wanted. (Sitting together was not an option.) In a matter of seconds I had to consider two things--which man looked as though he'd react kindly if I accidentally squeezed his thigh during take-off, and which one would I really want to be standing next to in line if we were to meet our Maker sometime during the flight.

(Have I ever mentioned before that I have severe anxiety when it comes to flying?)

Not wanting to break any first-class etiquette rules, I sat down and acted as though I was a seasoned first-class kind of gal. I politely ignored the man next to me engrossed in his smart phone, although just as the plane began to speed up on the runway, he made conversation with me despite the open book on my lap. The conversation didn't last long, as his bio-chemical degree and 30+ years in the energy profession seemed far above chatting with a mother of five kids, even if she was a fellow FIRST CLASS passenger!

Before we even taxied onto the runway, I was being given drink choices, and as soon as we were safely in flight, I was offered a snack from a basket with all sorts of delicious first-class kind of treats. I had no idea how many was appropriate to take (I really wanted one of each), so I settled by following the lead of a fellow first-classer and only took two.

I loved being treated like I was important. Well I mean, I AM important-I know that, but it sure was nice having someone else think I was too. I could get quite used to a first-class type of life.

Flying first class was quite the contrast to our return flight home. I was squooshed next to a handsome man who kept reaching into my bag and stealing my chocolate and kept reading my book over my shoulder. Not to mention the part he told me to "be quiet" as the turbulence had me launching into a dialogue about how we were mere seconds away from meeting our Maker.
Fortunately the handsome man was correct, turns out today wasn't our day to meet our Maker, but he still could have been a little nicer about my speculations.

I flew to California on Friday in first class style--I returned to Utah on Monday as far away from first-class as I could get on the second to last row of the airplane. My time spent in California was near perfection (more on that tomorrow), my first couple of hours home Monday evening were not.
One child badly sprained a big toe and subsequently has two toes taped together. Add to the situation--it happened to our most dramatic child.

One child, felt an immediate need to paint their toe nails, and knocked over the nail polish bottle on the carpet.

Another child couldn't wait any longer to go pick up the five chickens he'd been waiting to get for six long days and all sorts of chicken paraphernalia kept finding its way onto my kitchen counter.

One child decided to pee in the toy room rather than in the bathroom.

This all occurred in the first hour home.
No lie.

There was no question that my vacation had ended.
And it truly was a vacation--but that will have to be tomorrow's post!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Behavior at Its Worst

Proof our family is uncouth...

Luke taught Drew to pee standing up-only problem is, now Drew thinks the great outdoors is one giant toilet bowl. I'm mortified at the thought of a sibling grabbing my nearby cell phone to document this event, rather than encourage him to stop and come inside to the bathroom. Please note the underwear that were placed on his head for the duration of the relieving process.

(This photo was obviously cropped to preserve the child's dignity. Excuse the poor quality, but believe me, it is better than the alternative!)
 


As soon as an "Amen" was said in Sacrament Meeting (the main meeting of church) on Sunday, Joshua burped rather loudly. I could hear the grandparent couple behind us laughing quietly. I couldn't quite laugh at the time. In fact I still can't.

We have a rule you can burp at home, made solely for my own benefit. Obviously I need to reinforce that rule that we can burp AT HOME.

Two nights ago while reading together from the Book of Mormon, Luke got into some kind of fancy yoga pose in the middle of it. Turned out it wasn't a fancy yoga pose at all. He was simply assuming a position to give better aim and sound effects for his gas passing needs.

One of our children has to give a warning prior to removing their shoes each day. Some choose to clear the area, some others prefer to pick up the shoes and smell them.

One of our family members is known to drink directly from the orange juice container. But in their defense, they are the one who does the dishes the most, so good for them that they are choosing to dirty one less item.

And to think it is oft repeated at our dinner times, "What if you are invited to eat dinner with the Queen one day?" Although I'm happy to report none of the above examples happened at the dinner table, so perhaps there is still hope for us all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Luke and Three Greats

Last week Luke came home with an assignment to write about a Utah ancestor. It was the same assignment Megan had in 4th grade. Once again, I was sad to admit that I am familiar with very few "stories" of ancestors that have gone before me. I know very little (if anything) of any ancestors on my side of the family. Even though my dad has always been a big family history buff, the names on the papers haven't very often translated into real stories and experiences.

I retrieved my "Family History" file folder that is filled with everything from funeral programs to family reunion write-ups and pulled out a four page typed essay about Luke's great-great-great grandfather, Isaac Sowersby. (Courtesy of a granddaughter of his several decades ago.)

I sat at the kitchen table next to Luke and began reading it to him. Luke, not exactly our academic scholar, was less than enthused to be taking on an essay assignment. He listened with half an ear, until suddenly he began hearing things that perked his interest.

"When they arrived in America, Isaac changed their last name from Sowersby to Sowby"


"Isaac contracted yellow fever and had to ride in a wagon, but his wife and older children walked most of the way from New York City to the Salt Lake Valley."


"Isaac would walk most of the way from Nephi to Salt Lake to work on the tabernacle."


"He walked when necessary and rode when going a distance over 90 miles."

I could tell Luke was already beginning to kind of like this Isaac guy, but as I continued to read. Luke really decided he liked this great-great-great grandfather of his.

"He had a small nine-acre farm. He had cows, pigs and chickens"

Luke was smitten. Immediately, he sat down at the computer to begin his assignment.

With the exception of Luke's first (and only) complaint when he felt he'd been "typing forever" and had only 37 of the required 200 words, Luke worked on his essay faithfully and diligently for four days. It was shocking, yet touching to see Luke's enthusiasm for this assignment that he never had to be reminded to work on.

While the sun shone on a nice, mild spring day last week, Luke sat inside finishing up his paper. He exceeded the required word count, and was proud of his synopsis of Isaac (Sowersby) Sowby's life.

A couple of hours previous to Luke finishing his assignment, I had been working on my Primary Sharing Time and came across the talk from the last LDS General Conference by Elder David A. Bednar, titled "The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn" in which Elder Bednar said,

"I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah. I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors."

Without meaning to, Luke had done that exact thing counseled to do almost six months ago. As Luke proudly handed me his final copy, we were both touched by the Spirit of Elijah. It seemed that in that moment, standing in the kitchen in the middle of a Thursday afternoon, the veil was thin. With tears in my eyes, and with absolute conviction I told Luke that I knew Isaac was smiling. I knew in that moment, Luke and Isaac were bonded together as a great-great-great-grandfather and great-great-great grandson. 

It was a fleeting, yet eternal moment all wrapped into one. What a joy it will be when one day they meet.
"To forget one's ancestors is to be a brook without a source, a tree without a root."

Monday, March 19, 2012

Saturday Clothing, A Non-Holiday and Leftover Cake

Two Saturday's ago the temperatures were mild. At that point on the calendar, I think it was declared the "warmest" day so far. It was by no means WARM, but very pleasant. Yet the hoards of people at Walmart wearing shorts and tank tops made me crazy. It was not short and tank top weather-and I became irritated at myself for allowing myself to be bugged by the fashions of those around me.

This last Saturday, St. Patrick's Day, I found myself at Walmart again. It wasn't shorts and tank tops that were making me absolutely crazy, it was the the green everywhere I looked. Everyone (but me!) was wearing green! Guess I should consider myself lucky nobody pinched me, because as a result of everyone else's green clothing, I was in less than a pleasant mood.

 I'm not sure what I can deduce from either of these scenarios--either the fact I think St. Patrick's Day is a silly holiday or the fact I really should avoid Walmart on Saturday afternoons.

Even though leprechauns don't come to our house, we don't wake up to any pots of gold, and Lucky Charms (the sugar cereal) are par for the course around here, my mother does a "Green Dinner" every March 17th. After the year she colored the fettucine alfredo green, that few of us could stomach (even Mike turned his nose up at it) she switched the menu to hamburgers with green buns (thank you local bakery) and a pretty fancy rainbow colored jello.

My BFF Melanie, greeted me at the "Green Dinner" as though I'd committed a personal attack on her for showing up wearing absolutely nothing green. It turned into a brief, yet heated discussion about St. Patrick's Day. She argued for it, I argued against it. (Growing up in England my best friend growing up was Irish, and all I ever remember is a St. Patrick's Day greeting card or two sitting on their television set.) Our argument ended about as quick as it began and we both shut up and turned to the business of eating.

Had Ellie been listening in on my and Melanie's discussion she would clearly have sided with Melanie. After all, it was Ellie that said to me on Friday night when I reminded her I was working at the temple the next morning, "On St. Patrick's Day? You are going to the temple on St. Patrick's Day." I reminded her it wasn't a "real" holiday. I wish I had a camera to have recorded the disgusted look on her face when I told her I would be arriving home sometime during Saturday Cleaning Hour. What?? "You mean we have to do chores on St. Patrick's Day?" "Yes Ellie, St. Patrick's Day is a regular day," I reminded her.

Adding to my St. Patrick's Day disdain, Megan made this beauty of a cake for the "Green Dinner". She MADE the cake 100% by herself. Unfortunately I can't say she put that same effort into the clean-up.
Sunday evening I went down into the kitchen to this:
Yes, that would be three forks, a spoon, a sharp steak knife, and a chair surrounding the left-over cake.  I was horrified to admit I lived with a bunch of ill-mannered pigs, until I remembered it was me who left the first fork there after a quick after-church snack, and obviously set the tone for the others to follow suit.

Actually now all this is said and done, I'm not sure what I am more disgusted about. The fact we each piggishly picked at the cake all Sunday afternoon or the fact I just did a whole blog post about a "holiday" I can't stand.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Last Two

It's a somewhat drawn out story, and it is all nicely recorded in my journal-but for background sake. I will say, after Ellie was born, Mike and I felt as though we could be "finished" with the three kids that we had. We weren't in a rush really either way to make any final decisions.

I (and I'm sure Mike too) will never forget the Saturday night in January of 2006 when I said to Mike, "We need to have two more children. They are boys." I remember Mike was laying in bed reading, and he looked up at me and said, "Okay."

(This is a public blog and my parents and grandmother read this--so I'll decline writing the next part of his response...)

Of course the rest of the story is history.

Although I will add that throughout both of my pregnancies with Joshua and Drew, I doubted my own declaration. As with my pregnancy with Ellie, I opted not to "find out" what sex they were at my routine ultrasounds. I wanted two little boys so badly. I wanted my "spiritual experience" to be right. I had always wanted more boys than girls. I wanted two more boys.

I told my "spiritual experience" to my friend Lesley before I ever got pregnant with either. She is one of the most faith-filled people I know. She never doubted I would have boys and during each pregnancy she assured me she was sewing the "right color" blanket. (Although she never said which sex she was so sure about.) In a funny way, it was the thoughts of her sewing (hopefully boy) blankets that kept me going some days--especially during my labor with Joshua when the nurse told me she had read on my chart I was having a girl! (Long story...)

Lesley visited me in the hospital after each birth-proudly bringing me a boy blanket each time.

It has been over six years since my declaration of having two boys. Yet I think about it almost daily. Parenting Joshua and Drew, especially as they are the only ones home together all day is a different experience than I've had before. I've never had two of the same sex in a row-and it is a whole new experience. They are now at prime ages to really play together. They can play the same thing for much longer than any of  my other two children together would last playing. (There was only so much Tonka truck playing Megan tolerated with Luke, and not too much baby doll playing Luke would tolerate with Ellie, and only so much Hot Wheel playing Ellie would tolerate with Joshua...)

I love these two little boys.

Even though when together they think they have free reign over the kitchen pantry. And they dig dirt from the flowerbeds instead of from the sandbox. They leave Hot Wheels in all the wrong places. They favor pajamas more than clothes and they make more noise than the other three kids combined. Drew teases Joshua mercilessly and Joshua threatens Drew he's going to get a spank. They fight each other physically and they kiss each other to make-up. They each pick a thigh to sit on while reading a book on my lap. They sit next to each other on the couch and they hold hands in a parking lot.

I love Joshua and Drew.


Monday, March 12, 2012

My Windows are Dirty

While spending time with some dear girlfriends the other night, we had an epiphany of sorts. Though we all joked about it at the time, I have been left thinking about it for a couple more days.

One of my friends launched into a detailed story about her daughter's competition soccer team and the decision making process it took about whether or not to play in a tournament on a Sunday. It was all a fairly common scenario faced by many, especially in Utah within our LDS culture. We all surmised that in the same situation as my friend, we would have made the same decision and chosen to take a stand and not play.

Later on, our conversation steered to different topics. I can't even remember what (or who!) we were talking about, but suddenly we all had a 'light bulb' moment when we realized that "We won't allow our children to play soccer on a Sunday but we'll do 'this or that' instead..."

Get what I'm saying?

There are all sorts of rationalizations and justifications we give to ourselves!

After we all gave ourselves a proverbial pat on the back for deciding our children wouldn't play soccer on the Sabbath, we continued on with all sorts of stories and discussions in a typical women-getting-together-way.

You know the kind of stories.
We shared experiences and frustrations we'd had lately at school, or with church callings, or with family members, or with neighbors. Someone talked about the lady down the street, somebody talked about a naughty child at their kids' school, someone talked about the dysfunctional family across town.

Don't get me wrong. It was not an all-out gossip session. It was four friends, who have very few acquaintances-in-common, that were simply sharing frustrations, learning experiences and wanting advice on some everyday scenarios. Of course it was interspersed with plenty of hilarious and not-so-hilarious happenings within our own lives too.

But each time we kept coming back to the soccer thing... and one of us would say, "There's no way we'd allow our kids to play soccer on a Sunday but..." Though we were laughing at ourselves, I was reminded (more than once) that it isn't that our neighbors necessarily have dirty laundry--it's that our own windows are a little dirty...

Take a two minutes to watch this and see what I'm talking I'm about. I promise it will be well worth your time.

This week I am determined to clean my windows and keep them clean for longer than usual.
I assure you-FOR ME it will be easier said than done.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Nothings

Recently I read a journal entry of mine, that reminded me of something Luke used to do that I had completely forgotten. This post is an effort to record all those tiny little things that would never be worthy of a blog post or journal entry on their own.

Each morning Ellie brushes her teeth in the bathroom downstairs at the very last minute, while I stand at the door and wait for the school bus to approach. I can see the roof of the bus from my front porch and she has enough time to spit, turn off the water and run to get on the bus in time. It is less than ideal really, but for Ellie's personality, and my teeth brushing uptightness it works for now.
Drew is a nightmare. He moves the bar stools constantly to climb the pantry, search cupboards, or get into the fridge. I try to relax. I try to tell myself I will one day wish for bar stools being used to search the pantry than an arguing teenage boy. But more often than not I lock the bar stools away in the office while stomping and complaining loudly.

Megan always has the messiest bedroom. Ellie never hangs up her towel. Luke leaves dirty socks scattered everywhere. Drew thinks he can make chocolate milk himself. I'm not sure Joshua knows we have a basket for shoes.

Joshua runs out of preschool with the same big grin he had on the very first day. It isn't that he loved preschool so much, it is that he is so happy to see me. I know it won't last forever, and every single time I can't help but smile too.

Some mornings we wake up to the sounds of Megan practicing the harp downstairs. The other mornings we listen for a good 30 minutes to her "snooze" alarm going off every five minutes.

Luke's excitement and enthusiasm about Mike being picked as a chaperone for a recent field trip was certainly something to remember. Mike's enthusiasm about accompanying 27 ten year-olds to a sewer plant didn't quite match up to Luke's.

Ellie still patiently leaves notes for fairies at bedtime. Her note-leaving is somewhat random, and the fairies don't ever seem to answer them in a timely manner. Although, I happened to notice last night that the fairy finally replied. Maybe Ellie has given up on checking. I have a feeling the fairy was a little disappointed this morning that the twirly handwritten response wasn't recognized!

Luke is a dream boy nearly every morning. He dresses, packs his lunch and goes about doing his stuff while the girls (and toddler) add too much drama, noise and wasted energy to the morning routine. Although Luke is constantly talking while doing said tasks-his attitude is more often than not a breath of fresh air each morning. Although Luke claims to never have "enough time" to fit in piano practicing in the morning, he usually always has time to work on a project.
Drew absolutely loves to sit on my lap and have me play Primary songs on the piano. I tire of the same old songs, but I absolutely love the way he links his legs around mine while he snuggles back against my chest.

One of our children clogs the toilet every time they go. One child can throw a tantrum of all tantrums. One child asks to eat every half hour without fail. One child throws things or tips things over when they don't get their way. One child can blow us away with their brief episodes of absolute disrespect.

Megan behavior borders on obnoxiousness more often than not. Too frequently Mike and I are telling her to "be quiet and stop." I've tried lately "to let the good times roll" because the alternative-a moody teenager is not exactly that wonderful either.
We are faithfully trying to read a Book of Mormon chapter each night. It is a nightmare nearly every time. We've slacked big time lately and grab a chapter here or there in the car instead. Each time the Book of Mormon CD's are pulled out in the car, there is much grumbling and murmuring from the back. Not sure what that says about our efforts. Yet we keep persisting.

Joshua is a homebody. If we go somewhere, he asks when we're going home. It's endearing and frustrating all mixed together.

When Drew is throwing a typical-toddler-temper-tantrum he removes the one item of clothing he is wearing. Yes, that would be his underwear. I never know whether to laugh or cry myself at the sight of my two year old laying on the floor kicking, screaming and wailing whilst stark naked.

This is our life.
Some days I want to cry from the sheer exhaustion of it all. Other times, I try my hardest to soak it all in and remember how quickly it is passing.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Nose Storage

Oh boy! I had really hoped to get on the ball with this "Photo Memory Project", but it just hasn't been happening. Doesn't help that I spent all day laying on my bed yesterday with some kind of cold/cough/sinus infection. And for me, who rarely ever gets sick, this sickness is kicking my butt. I dread playing catch-up after a couple of days of near-nothing, but such is life.

But yesterday while Joshua watched "Little Mermaid" for about the 43rd time in the past three days, (My younger kids RARELY make it all the way through movies, but Little Mermaid somehow has Joshua smitten.) I couldn't help but remember my now 26 year old brother who loved "Little Mermaid" when it first came out 20+ years ago. Which memory was then of course followed with those familiar anxieties I get of "Oh my word will I remember this?"

And with that-I'm pulling out a photo and doing a photo memory like I committed to.

True to what I said when introducing this project-this photo has absolutely no "photographic value" as far as a good photograph goes. Yet it captures a story that though was nothing more than a fleeting twenty minute period in Luke's life, I can't bear the thought of one day looking at this photo and forgetting what had happened.
(Nana, Luke and Mimi-April 2005)

Luke was 31/2 in this photo. Yes, even though it was the middle of a weekday afternoon playing at Nana and Grandpa's house, he was wearing his pajamas. (That's all he wore-well that or just underwear. Sound familiar?)

Luke went through a phase where he was constantly playing with trucks, trailers, tractors, etc. He favored the smaller ones. For whatever reason,  no matter how much Mike and I tried to tell him no, Luke loved to take the tires off of his little toys. We were forever finding vehicles with missing tires and/or miscellaneous tires lying around the house.

One day though he must have determined in his little 3 year old mind that he didn't want the tire he had just removed from his white John Deere truck to get lost. So he put it where he thought it would be best for safe-keeping.
???
His nose.

See that orange box to the left of my mother's head? That would be the first-aid kid which housed the necessary tweezers to begin the extraction necessary following the insertion of a rubber tire up a nostril.

I'm not sure exactly who retrieved the tire from his nose. In fact, if I remember correctly at the time of extraction none of us even knew exactly what it was we were attempting to extract.

Yet out came a little black tire.

All's well that ends well.
A package of candy must have been the reward for such bravery. Meaning Luke's bravery, not my mother's bravery for performing said surgery, despite her holding the candy in this photo.

I'd like to say he learned his lesson-but he stuck something up his nose one more time a few months later. A magnetic marble. And just as I inserted the tweezers to begin the marble extraction-voila!! I'm not sure who was more surprised, me or Luke at the speed in which it came out. I hadn't even considered that the metal-on-magnet would work so swiftly and instantly.

It's a pretty good rule of thumb to teach children-if you insert something in your nose-please make sure it is magnetic-it removes so much easier than a rubber John Deere truck tire.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

US History according to Joshua

Joshua came out from pre-school two weeks ago proudly carrying an individual size pie each student made. A few minutes later, while eating lunch with one hand, Joshua proudly held his small cherry pie in the other. With his big trademark smile Joshua asked me,


 "Do you know why we made pies today?" Why? I asked. 
Joshua's reply: "Because Obama cut a tree down today."

It took me a few seconds, but I finally figured out what they really learned about today was George Washington and the cherry tree story. (Which yes, I know is a made-up story used only to illustrate Washington's honesty.)

A few days later while eating lunch together, Joshua asked, "You know last week when we learned about George Washington? Today we learned about Abraham Lincoln."

Dutifully, I asked, "Can you tell me something that Abraham Lincoln did?"

Joshua's reply? "He gave the gold plates to somebody." Assuming he must have Abraham Lincoln confused with some Mormon events I asked again, "He did what?" 

"Abraham Lincoln gave a gold diamond to someone."

I've made a mental note to work with Joshua on his US history studies, and at the same time will work on my own too. Because though I have never claimed to be a US history buff, I have no idea what Joshua thinks and/or learned about Abraham Lincoln.

One more thing for my proverbial to-do list.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Another Great Date Night

Mike and I had the opportunity on Friday to participate in another Power of Moms Couples Workshop. I just can't say enough about what a wonderful experience it is to mingle with so many like-minded parents. There was so much enthusiasm, optimism and energy in our group Friday night.

Between all the attendees, we had 78 children represented!! Those are some lucky 78 children! One couple who is expecting their first came, on up to a couple with their oldest child being 19. It was fabulous to see and hear about the range of experiences.

(the attendees were filling out a paper-they weren't all taking notes at the exact same time!)

No matter how much I present this stuff-I am always amazed at how much I learn from others. This time I came away committed to work better with my two youngest rather than gear most systems to the older ones. And borrowing an idea from another attendee, I may or may not add a wooden spoon to my church bag.

Oh! And good news for Megan--I am going to relax on my "clean room" expectations of her during the week, and not allow a clean room to become more important than our relationship. (Easier said than done-I may be using my "new friend" Kristen as a support group when I'm ready to "lose it.")

Speaking of Kristen--she was our gracious host at her home in Orem. She attended the November workshop at my house and afterwards, kindly opened her home for a Power of Moms event. I wish I could have visited with her more.
One of my very favorite things about Power of Moms is the friendships I have gained with women scattered around the country. Two of my favorite POM ladies were there last night, Lindsay and Koni. Love them.
I wish I had a photo of another one of our Power of Moms trainers, Danielle. Who I obviously didn't make a great impression on the first time we met two years ago, because she said in an email the other day she was "excited to meet me." Oh well. I think we evened out after she and her husband did a fabulous job singing their "family jingle" on Friday night, and I followed it by a poor choice of words that  "insulted" their performance. Everyone laughed. I could feel the heat as my face grew redder and redder by the second.

I also wish I had a photo of me and Mike. He is such a good sport with these events. He even voluntarily sang our family rule song. Not to mention he repeated it again with a private performance afterwards for someone who wanted to write it down. I love hearing his comments, ideas and support. He's a great guy to be navigating through this parenting journey with.

I am thrilled to be a part of The Power of Moms. Truly, a wonderful organization.

If you're in the Provo area--check out the workshop that will be held this next Saturday HERE.
If you're anywhere close to Las Vegas (or want a mini-vacation) in April--check out the Retreat that will be happening there, HERE.

As for how our children did home alone under Megan's charge for 4+ hours Friday night?
Put it this way-cleaning hour lasted longer than an hour on Saturday morning. Not to mention I made Luke stop mid-way through his story when telling me about tying rope to a door to lock a particular sibling in their bedroom because no one wanted them to be around.

Mike and I only go to these workshops to facilitate the discussions.
We are no experts.

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