Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chocolate-covered Gracie

It is unbelievable how much ground one cubic inch of chocolate on a stick can cover in the space of half an hour (the time it takes for us to drive from the mall to our house.) This is what I get for bribing the children to behave while we shopped for maternity clothes.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Amazing Grace

A few of her favorite things right now...

This is where I keep finding Grace - out back on the patio, pants down, sitting in a flower pot. Especially if it's not bath day.

She loves to be outside. "I wanna play ou'side" is a request I hear many times a day.

Occasonially she plays quarterback.

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but she is completely obsessed with books. She won't go to bed without at least a couple, and we can hear her "reading" to herself in the dark long after bedtime. She also refuses to go anywhere in the car without her stash. I've tried to teach her the concept of "one book" because she gets so frustrated trying to carry six or eight at a time. She will repeat the words with enthusiasm - "one book! ONE book!" - but can't seem to apply them.

She also loves piles. Of anything, but especially - you guessed it - books.

She recently learned to take the covers off our heating vents. (They're installed in the floor.) Now she makes piles inside the ducts. A few days ago Marty went to put a cover back on and found the following stuffed inside: five board books, a flashlight, a toy camera, a bag of crayons, two pencils, and two ping pong balls. I'm guessing this lowers our energy efficiency.

We've reached the two-year-old run away stage, where if I'm not holding her hand, she's gone. She can run a solid quarter mile without stopping. (Mommy can't right now, and Grace knows it.)

She definitely has her two-year-old temperamental moments, but overall she's a happy, determined, carefree little girl.

P.S. I just noticed that in half of these photos, Grace is not wearing pants. That's very typical. Yes, I dress my daughter. But taking off her pants (several times a day) seems to be Grace's chosen way of asserting her independence right now. I do insist that she keep them on in public. :)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Graduate

My baby brother graduated from college today. Now he's off to new adventures: law school and fatherhood. Congratulations, David!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's a...


absolutely certain

no question whatsoever (so they tell me)


Monday, May 11, 2009

Speaking of Motherhood

We are expecting a baby in September! We find out tomorrow if it's a boy or girl. Any guesses??

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mom, Thank You For...

...teaching me to read when I was 2.

...making me yogurt-Cheerio-raisin parfaits for breakfast when I was little.

...taking us kids on road trips to California and Utah.

...letting us feed the ducks at the park for family home evening.

...homeschooling me for two and a half years.

...taking us to church every Sunday by yourself.

...letting me help you with family history.

...taking me to the library every single week (or more.)

...buying a piano and paying for ten years of lessons. (And listening to me practice.)

...going on mother-daughter dates - to your office, TCBY, or the Philharmonic.

...teaching me how to cross-stitch.

...not yelling at me for my continually messy room.

...letting me drive your car when I got my license.

...not being mad at me when that car got totalled.

...teaching me to cook spaghetti, chili, cornbread, and chocolate chip cookies.

...driving me (and all my stuff) down to BYU and moving me into my first apartment.

...sending me money when I needed it. Marty and me half your furniture, your TV, your microwave, and your vacuum cleaner when we got married.

...buying me my first sewing machine when I graduated from college.

...coming to help when each of our children were born.

...letting us live with you for ten months while we completed an internship and looked for a house.

...babysitting so Marty and I can go out - for birthdays, anniversaries, Mother's Day lunches, Stake Conference meetings, or just because.

...coming to church with us many, many weeks to take care of Grace while Marty and I taught classes.

...taking Jacob on special dates.

...trick-or-treating with us on Halloween, because we no longer have enough hands to go around.

...lending me stamp sets and scrapbooking supplies for months on end.

...going clothes shopping with me so I can share your Kohl's coupon.

...holding the baby so I can eat a meal.

...reading dozens of books to the boys every time you come over.

...buying lots of cute baby clothes for Grace.

...sharing your Chapstick and lotion with the children.

...staying with our children for several days so we could trek at Martin's Cove.

...joining us (and bringing food!) for every birthday in the family.

...lending me books to read and movies to watch.

...scrubbing my kitchen sink whenever you come over to babysit.

...and a thousand other things.

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Camera Happy

Mom, please stop taking my picture.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Backtracking: Easter

Due to the afore-mentioned modem incident, I didn't get to post about the wonderful Easter we enjoyed. So for posterity's sake, here you go.

The Friday before Easter, we were invited to the Rogers family annual Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt. Wow, do they know how to throw a party! There were glowsticks, all manner of refreshments, bottomless hot cocoa, a bonfire (complete with campfire songs,) and the main event: a scramble for some 1500 candy-filled eggs scattered/hidden across five properties on the block. And because for kids everything is more fun in the dark, they waited until well after sunset to let the children loose with flashlights. I accompanied Grace, who had no trouble whatsoever catching on to the idea. Eggs contain candy. Must get lots of eggs.

"I see egg! I see egg!" she cried again and again, scooping them up while I "helped" by spotlighting the next egg in our path with my flashlight. Each time she picked one up, she shook it to make sure there was something inside. Occasionally, she found one that didn't make a sound because the candy was packed too tightly. Then she would put it back and say "It doesn't work." Not one to waste time on mute eggs, that girl.

On Saturday, we hid Easter baskets sent by Grandpa and GranMary around the house for the children to find. It took Jacob quite a while to find his in our laundry hamper. Marty and I were glad to see the hunt last longer than 2 minutes.

Sunday morning, the children discovered that the Easter bunny (disguised as our fantastic neighbor Thelma) had visited our front porch and left gifts. Candy, dyed eggs, cookies, and even little toys. Grace was especially taken with the tiny orange chick. We have the best neighbors!

On Sunday evening, I served our traditional Easter dinner. We ate our simple meal of lamb, homemade matzah, haroset, roasted eggs, bitter herbs, karpas, and harosset on the floor with no utensils. Each item served has symbolic meaning (some dating back thousands of years to the first Passover meal,) and as we ate each food, we talked about what it represents. Then we watched a video about the Savior's crucifixion and resurrection. The children asked many insightful questions and I think they felt the peaceful, joyous spirit of this special day.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cumin Toast

Another surprise breakfast made by the boys! Everything looked delicious. The only problem is that to a first grade reader, "cumin" looks an awful lot like "cinnamon." Lesson learned.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Filling the Void

Last Sunday I was released from my calling in the Primary presidency.* I have been serving in the Primary, in one capacity or another, for almost four years now. And I've enjoyed (nearly) every minute of it. So this change night require a bit of adjustment.

Suddenly I find myself with no sharing time presentations to prepare. No Cub Scout calls to make. No pack meetings to attend. No last-minute substitutes to find at 7:30 on Sunday morning. No 3-year-olds to quickly usher to the restroom. No trying to come up with original ideas for birthday / Christmas / Mother's Day / Father's Day gifts. No more worrying over a hundred little details every Sunday. No amusing comments from the little ones during Church lessons. No observation of joy and wonder in the childrens' eyes as they listen to stories of Jesus and talk of how He loves them so much. No singing verses of "I am a Child of God" with 60 beautiful little voices. My Tuesday afternoons are now oddly vacant. (Anyone want to come over for cookies and milk?) I will dearly miss working with the amazing women I've gotten to know closely over the last two years. Nothing can bond women together like a calling in Primary.
While I will miss it, change is good. I'm quite happy to let someone else fill this position now and grow and learn as I have. Heavenly Father's timing is always correct. And it is time.

So last Sunday I came home from church at noon with a completely blank afternoon staring at me. What to do? So many options! So much energy, freed from assignments and worry! It was blissful. I baked brownies for a sister I visit-teach. I read Friend magazine stories to my children. I did some Family Search indexing online. I sat in the sunlight pouring in our living room windows and watched my daughter play on the couch cushions. And took photos, of course.

All week long, I discovered pockets of newly available time. I worked in our garden, organized our family photos, gave my dad a ride home from the hospital, took on a new piano student, reorganized our bathroom and a closet, attended a class on cooking with powdered milk, scrapbooked, read Harry Potter to the boys, wrote thank-you notes, chatted with my neighbor in the driveway, watched my children ride their bikes, and even went clothes shopping - by myself. I can hardly wait to see what this week brings! (That Tuesday cookie offer is still open....)

I am determined to put this "extra" time to worthwhile use - take long walks, read to the children more, volunteer for assignments at church and Jacob's school, do more family history work, take up drawing again, organize the pantry, practice the piano a little more, take a road trip to Utah.... The possibilities are endless.

P.S. Today I received a new calling. I am now officially the ward choir accompanist, which I have been unofficially for about two years now. :) And now I'll have the time to practice!

*In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. the Mormon Church,) the members are given "callings" - unpaid positions or assignments - to serve in their congregations. (We have no paid clergy.) We neither seek for certain positions nor refuse the callings that are extended to us. Callings are given by inspiration; we consider them to be from the Lord Himself. We believe that fulfilling our callings is one way we actively serve the Lord and build His kingdom. Our calling is a "stewardship" for which we are accountable to God. One might be called to be the bishop of a ward, teach a Sunday School class, help people with family history work, direct service projects, lead music, etc. Callings change from time to time. This gives every member the opportunity to serve in many different capacities, with different groups of people, and to develop many different talents and abilities. It is a wonderful thing to be part of the work and organization of the Church, not just passive observers. As we do our best, the Lord magnifies our efforts and makes great things come out of the humble service of ordinary people.