Friday, December 4, 2009

Message from the Elf

As I mentioned a few days ago, Mr. Peeps has come to our house to stay with us until Christmas. Each night, while the children are sleeping, he moves to a new location. Each morning, it is great fun to search the house and find him. The children all love this game.

Well, a couple days ago, Mr. Peeps forgot to move. He showed up this morning with the following note:

Dear Taylor children,

I apologize for sleeping
Its different for an elf
By four-hundrend twelve years old I’m tired
even sitting on a shelf.

But I have this little secret
I thought you’d want to know
I borrowed your Dad’s camera
To get your video.

So if you have been good
Or if you’ve been a goof
I’ll have it here on tape
And show Santa all the proof.

So eat all of your vegetables
And be good and kind
And keep the Christ in Christmas
Always on your mind.

Parley E. Peeps, Elf

{penned by my very clever husband - but don't tell the kids}

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Excuse to Post Baby Pictures

Would you believe it? My baby is three months old today.
And still nowhere near sleeping through the night.

He is something of a night owl. This is him at 10:30 p.m., bright-eyed and ready to play.

This is what he thinks of the camera flash.

Happy birthday, Abram!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

From Our Turkeys to Yours

I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

We sure did. Family, The Farming Game, rest and relaxation (ha!). Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, fruit salad, rolls, lemonade, pie, pie and more pie....

And the next day, Mr. Peeps arrived. Bring on December.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Standing on the Threshold

{portrait by my dear friend Chantal}

Tomorrow I will turn 30. I never thought that would happen. Not that I have a problem with it – it just always seemed so far away. In pondering the last ten years, I find myself quite surprised at the wealth of experiences those years have brought.

I stepped into this decade with a brand-new husband and big ambitions. Graduate from college. Have some children. Raise them in Utopia surrounded by friends and family. Develop my faith, talents, and attributes, all in my well-controlled comfort zone. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated.

Well, that lasted for about five minutes.

I did graduate from college and I did have children, but Utopia and my comfort zone went out the window. Detours and U-turns and stop signs were numerous. Highways became backroads and vice versa. Sometimes I think I accidently picked up the wrong map. But what a ride it has been.

In the last ten years I have been to places I never dreamed I would go. I have walked the beaches in San Francisco and Delaware. I have visited the Sacred Grove in New York, and been through the Nauvoo Temple. I have dined with the Amish in Pennsylvania, and caught catfish off the coast of Florida. I have pulled a handcart in Wyoming and a shopping cart in Baltimore.

In the last ten years, my family has grown. Four children, three sisters-in-law, a niece and a nephew. I have also been blessed to find other “sisters” along the way. Women who have taught, served, befriended, and put up with me. Friends I know I was meant to meet.

In the last ten years, there has been a healthy mix of joy, disappointment, hope, frustration, comfort, loneliness, excitement, sorrow, gratitude, anxiety, and love. Trials I didn’t ask for, and blessings I didn’t imagine. I hope I am a better person for them.

Twenty-nine finds me firmly entrenched in motherhood. Trying to find a balance between selfless and sane. (Not that they should be opposites, but I’m still working on that.) Beginning to accept drastically lower expectations in some areas (like shower frequency or the ability to read more than two sentences of a novel without interruption) and infinitely higher expectations in others (patience, charity, and humility, to name a few.) Searching for hints of fulfillment within the hours of frustration. Waiting for the assurance that it is all worth it.

The transition from college student to stay-at-home mom hasn’t been easy. For a while I mourned the absence of A’s and the lack of measurable accomplishment. Nobody cheers when I load the dishwasher, practice the piano, or de-clutter a closet. Motherhood requires a different grading curve. But I am beginning to understand…. Every meal I cook, every load of laundry, every book I read aloud to a child, every homework sheet I sign, every game of Uno, every thank-you note I write, every lullaby I sing, every scrape I bandage, every kind word, every trip to the park, every lesson I teach, every hug and every kiss count for something. Not in somebody’s grade book, but in somebody’s life book. What I do matters. The last ten years have taught me that.

Going into 30, I’m taking these life lessons with me and hopefully beginning with a bit more perspective. No less ambitious, but perhaps more centered.

Part of me knows that the only difference between 29 and 30 is one second’s time. But another part knows that that second is the difference between two eras. The last ten years are stored up, with all of their experiences and emotions, in the person I have become. The next ten years lay ahead of me like an unexplored scenic highway, full of promise, opportunities, and unexpected side streets.

One more step and I will enter that road.

I hope I have the right map this time.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Couch Potato

We've been having a standoff here lately between Mommy and Boy-who-wants-to-play-video-games-24-7. (It should be noted that by "video games," Boy means educational computer games. We do not own a Wii, an X-box 360, a Nintendo Game Sphere or whatever. We don't even own a cell phone.) Every day the conversation goes something like this:

Isaac: "Mom, can I play a video game?"

Mom: "Sure, as soon as you earn it."

Isaac: "Awww, Mooommm!"

End of discussion.

He rarely pursues this argument any further because he knows that to earn the privilege of using the computer, he must a) do his chores and b) get some exercise. (One downside of him being such an avid reader is that he doesn't move much anymore.)

Today's version went like this:

Isaac: "Mom, can I play video games?"

Mom: "No. You've been sitting on your bum all day. I don't think I've seen you move once."

Isaac: "Yes I have. I walked!"

Mom: "Oh yeah? When did you walk?"

Isaac: "I walked to the table to eat some pretzels and walked back here (the couch)."

A total of about 30 feet. I'm not impressed.

But it's okay, because now that brother is home from school, there will be more "exercise" than I can stand.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mommy, Save Me

Oh the joy of having a big sister. :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Signs That It's Monday

It's almost 2:00 in the afternoon and I haven't had an opportunity to shower yet.

I paid the bills this morning, only to discover that I had put a 42-cent stamp on every letter I've sent in the past two weeks. So if you didn't get your thank-you card yet, that is why. Ugh.

Grace's Fisher-Price minivan is stuck repeating "Potty...potty...potty...potty...."

A headline on the front page of today's newspaper reads "Germany celebrates fall of Berlin Wall." Except I read "German celebrities fall off Berlin Wall." Really, I was close.

The kids are fighting over who gets to put stuff away. Yes, gets to.

My afternoon plans consist of making cherry cheesecake for FHE tonight, and trying to come up with a lesson addressing one of the kids' many behavioral problems without making it sound like said lesson is actually aimed at them.

I'm blogging instead of doing the dishes.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Zoo Went Trick-or-Treating

This year we had a panther, a gray wolf, a ladybug, and a baby monkey.

Not the happiest monkey in the world. (I think he wanted the M&Ms.)

Grandma dressed up as Grandma.

The great Sort and Trade. Notice Jacob's serious expression as he contemplates the Skittles.

At first Grace was deathly afraid of her own costume, but as soon as the concept of "wear costume = get candy" sank in, she was totally on board.

Friday, October 30, 2009


On Saturday, October 10th, Jacob was baptized and confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Marty performed the ordinance and gave Jacob a beautiful blessing. We were thankful to have most of my family in town for the occasion. My father and my brother David were able to assist in the confirmation. I can't believe my "baby" boy has reached this important milestone already. We are so proud of you, Jacob!

The next day, Sunday, we blessed our baby Abram in Sacrament meeting. It was truly a special weekend for us as we reflected on the past eight years with Jacob - how much he has grown in both body and spirit - and at the same time, celebrated this brand new life.

What a wonderful time this has been for our family! These are the moments that shine through the monotony and difficulties of everyday life, and make it all worth it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Things I Really Don't Enjoy

{Based on a true story}

Getting up at 1:30 a.m. And 4:30. And 6:30.

Dinosaur Train.

Grocery shopping with three children age 5 and under.

20 mph school zones with a screaming toddler kicking the back of my seat.

The way the kids use a whole bottle of shampoo in a total of three showers.

The words "He kicked/pushed/bit/ran over me first!!"

Mysterious wet spots on the carpet.

The entire hour before dinner every day. Nothing good ever seems to happen during that hour.

Things I Really Do Enjoy:


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Amusing Grace

A few humorous/heartwarming moments brought to you by Grace:

*We very much enjoyed the LDS General Conference earlier this month. The kids behaved very well, and we actually got to watch all four sessions. Grace turned to me after Elder Holland's talk and said, " 'At was a good story, Mom. 'At's a good story." It was the only comment she made during the whole conference. Even a 2-year-old could appreciate the power of that talk.

*During the second session of said Conference, we participated in the sustaining of our Church leaders. Grace wouldn't raise her own hand, but she did raise Tickle-Me-Elmo's.

*Grace LOVES to pray. She often says the blessing over dinner. (Yes, Grace says grace. Ha ha.) Every time it was her turn, she would look at me and say solemnly, "A chocolate cheeses, Mom." What? I couldn't figure it out, and finally concluded that she was voicing her wish for the dinner menu.

This went on for weeks. Every time: "A chocolate cheeses, Mom." Yesterday it dawned on me.

"I talk to Jesus, Mom."

*Grace is very concerned/perplexed by the baby monitor we keep on our kitchen counter. She thinks the baby is IN the monitor. Whenever he cries, she runs to the speaker and yells desperately, "Uh-oh, a baby, Mom!!" as if she expects me to rescue him from the depths of the appliance.

Yesterday, Grace discovered the other half of the monitor in my bedroom where Abram sleeps. "Another baby, Mom!" she exclaimed. I taught her the word "speaker" and tried to explain the concept on her level. ("See, there's the baby, and there's the speaker.")

A little later... "Look, Mom - it's the spirit! Spirit upstairs, spirit downstairs!" Feel free to come up with your own Sunday School analogy.

*Grace continues to learn new Primary songs, and sings them continuously. The boys think this is very entertaining because she makes a few predictable "alterations":

from I Am a Child of God: "...and so my needs are grapes."

from I Love to See the Temple: "I'll prepare myself while I am yum..."

*I took Grace to the doctor last week for a flu shot. The nurse put a little round bandaid on her thigh, with the customary princess sticker on top. All day long, Grace admired that sticker-bandaid. She was very upset when we finally had to take it off. Yesterday she found her Thomas the Train sticker book, peeled off a dozen large round stickers...and stuffed them down her pants.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Profile of a Newborn

...or my favorite things about this stage:

Big yawns.

Superman stretches.

The wide-eyed look he gives me when he wakes up, which seems to say "Where am I, and how did I get here?"

The way he just drapes himself on me and falls asleep.

Fuzzy baby hair that smells like vanilla after a bath.

Tiny baby feet.

That pursed-lip, wrinkled-forehead face he makes when he stretches.

Fleeting, sleepy smiles.

Snuggles with Mommy.

And of course, the sounds: tiny squeaks, coos, and grunts.

Now that is perfection. Quite a payoff for a few lost hours of sleep.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Big Sister

Grace has adjusted really well to being pushed out of the baby spot in our family. She is completely fascinated with the new addition. When we brought him home, she hovered close to examine him.

"He has a mouth too, Mom!" (shocked, as if this was the strangest thing in the world)

"He has eyes too, Mom!"

"He has a nose too, Mom!"

And her favorite, "He has belly butt too, Mom!"

She has taken upon herself the job of chief diaper-fetcher. And she is the first to notice when he needs one. "A stinky ba-by, Mom!!" she announces several times a day.

She also loves to hold him. "I hold it," she demands. Then she stares into his face and says, "Look, he smile, Mom. (giggle) Baby loves Grace."

Perhaps the most telling sign that she is happily settled into her new position as the girl surrounded by male siblings: She now calls everyone simply "Boy." Even Grandma.

To Daddy, she calls "Come here, Boy!" "Eat y'dinner, Boy!" "Sit down, Boy!" To get the full effect, you really must read that with an accent, like "Boy-eee" with a question mark on the end. It is hysterical.

Birthday Mayhem

{I know this is a little late. We've been very busy not sleeping around here.}

In our family, we do "real" birthday parties - meaning the birthday child can invite friends - at ages 8 and 12 (and maybe 16 - we haven't thought that far ahead yet.) So Jacob has been looking forward to this for years.

I don't have time to write a novel (and you don't want to read one,) so in summary: 4 friends, pizza, balloon swordfight, presents, kiddie go-karts, bumper boats - LOTS of times, miniature golf, arcade games, tickets = prizes = candy.

There you have it.

Jacob and Ashlynn in the bumper boats.

The aftermath of the bumper boats. You can't really tell from the photos, but Marty and I are soaking wet. I have to say, Lara, this was mostly Ashlynn's doing. :) She led the others in chanting "Get the grownups! Get the grownups!" And she has really good aim.

Grandma came along to celebrate with Jacob and to help wrangle our youngest two. She made it possible for Marty and me to have fun too. Grace had a wonderful time with her.

Well, that had better last him for the next 4 years!