16 August 2014

Movie Night


When I was called as Primary President, I imagined it would be full of hiccups and that it wouldn't be an easy calling, but in all honesty, I had no idea how time consuming and emotionally taxing it could be.  I have only been in for 3 months now, and some days I wonder if I can make it a year, let alone three years (which is how long the previous presidency was in)!  I am so blessed with so many resources at my fingertips. Of course there is all of the wonderful training videos and literature on lds.org, which can be a little daunting with the amount of things there.  Also, I have a sister and sister in law who are both currently primary presidents.  Both my mother and mother in law were primary presidents two years ago, and one of my best friends is currently a counselor in her primary presidency.  I have all my bases covered and the support has been phenomenal and much needed and appreciated. As well as my Stake primary presidency.

For a little more than a week, I have been putting all of my spare time (and even some that wasn't spare) into this calling.  Tonight, I am emotionally exhausted.  There have been some problems that have arrisen that have needed my full attention in trying to work them out.  One was a very simple solution that I am very excited to try out.  The other, well, I have a feeling a solution will be a long time in coming, but through this opportunity, I will have lots of time to grow and learn and stretch and become more than I ever thought I could be.  I have to remind myself of that every day, though.  And I am going to be real here, just for a minute.  I have been trying to find a solution to this problem, and through my stress, seem to have developed hives.  It is all really quite fascinating to me.  The fact that this seems to be the most amount of stress my body has ever dealt with, and the way that it deals with it is by breaking out in hives (which sort of causes more stress, so you would think that it would be smarter than to do something so counter-productive). I am looking forward to being able to let go of some things and unwind a bit so these darn hives can go away. Now that I have that out, though, I can go back to being positive.

I feel bad, because I haven't been doing fun things with the kids.  We had Mimi last week, so we weren't really able to go out and do a lot.  And then this week has been 100% primary, which means this next week we are going to have to party it up! I anticipate park visits, sno-cones, and of course a visit to the mountains. Because that just makes me happy, and really, I could use a little break.

Today I told the kids that if they could get their jobs done, we would have a pizza/movie party.  Ten minutes after that announcement, they were both completely conked out on their beds.  I had to laugh.  Last night they had a sleep over at their grandparent's house, which of course, meant lots of playing and no time for sleep.  As all sleepovers should go!  While watching Faye sleep, it struck me how little she really is.  When she is awake, she is a force to be reckoned with.  She is a whirlwind of activity and nothing slows her down. She talks a mile a minute and craves a lot of attention.  I don't often get to see her lying still, so when I saw her sleeping today, it surprised me and really helped to put her energy into perspective a bit.

Jeffrey and I got most of the cleaning done while they were sleeping, and they were very happy to hear that we would indeed be having a pizza/movie night.  Muppet's Most Wanted, in fact.  Because guys, Ricky Gervais and Tina Fey! And Muppets!  You can't go wrong there, that is for sure.  It was wonderful, all of us snuggled up on the luv sac and futon, Beth walking in circles and playing with all the books and toys.  I was happy she wasn't interested in the TV, because I try to adhere to the rule of no TV before the age of 2.  It just makes it hard when we have a family movie party.  It seemed to work out great tonight, though.

Well, it is late and no amount of procrastinating will make tomorrow any better.  Wish me luck!

13 August 2014

Consequential Reward


Once again we have had the privilege of watching Mimi for a few days.  Last night was our last night watching her.  She is wonderful and fun and worrisome all wrapped up into a neat Mimi burrito. She teaches me a lot about trust and faith and we always love having her come by.  This time around, we got to have her from Friday through Tuesday (today). By Monday, she was very ready for us to be gone and her sister to come home.  She makes me laugh. I could see it was hard for her, so yesterday we spent the majority of the day at her house as I knew she would be happiest there, and she was really having a hard emotional day. Knowing there wouldn't be much for me to do there, I took all my bags and work with me, and was able to get a lot done.  I have been trying to sort out some unique circumstances in our primary, and dealing with that happily took the majority of my attention and time.  Aside from the necessary baby stuff, that is.  I set up camp on the couch, caged by my phone, computer, class lists, and deep thoughts. Beth sat happily hiding my papers from me right when I needed them, and playing keep away with anything she sensed I needed. I really love babies at this age. I consoled myself that I just needed to stick it out until Jeffrey got off work and could help me.  Mimi puttered about in her room, and Keith and Faye I instructed to play nicely with each other so I could sort things out. Jeffrey showed up after work, but wasn't feeling well, so laid down in his parent's bed and promptly fell asleep.  The help watching the children I had hoped for was not to be had from him, so we continued what we had been doing, Beth playing by me, Keith and Faye left to their own devices as long as no screaming or fighting was heard.  I believe my exact words to them were "I have to figure something out for Primary which may take some time, so go play and be nice to each other.  And what is the rule?  Before you can get another toy out, you have to put away the one you were playing with.  Don't forget."

In Kid Speak, this is interpreted as "Permission to ransack the house and scatter every. single. toy. from room to room as if it were parade confetti. Let the plundering and pillaging commence!"
By the time I got off the phone/computer, my problem was closer to a solution and I blinked in shock as I waded through the sea of toys, papers and books.
Had
to
get
to
the 
kitchen.

Must
feed
the
troops.

Only then, I knew, would they be able to transition from Kid Speak back into English.  I stretched, rubbed my eyes and glanced outside.  It was dusk.  Dinner was late.  2 hours late.  Poor little ones!  I threw together some sweet potatoes, chicken, and garlic bread and summoned everyone to come eat.  They straggled in like middle-aged men, tired from a day of hard "work," barely ate anything, and then crashed in their beds. Asleep in minutes.

Once the house was quiet, I was able to look around and assess the damage.
The mess from last night was first cousins with the mess Faye made in her room last month.  She is quite talented at hiding the floor.
My heart sank.  My inlaws would be home early the next morning, and I couldn't live with myself if I let them see their house turned upside down.  It was 10.  I called the neighbor across the street to see if she could listen over the baby monitor while I ran to the store and got some caffeine as I knew it would be a very late night.  She came over instead.  And she and I chatted for more than an hour!  I really miss her.  We used to visit often when I lived there and it was really good to get caught up.  Although it set me back an hour, I think it was a fair trade.

Finally, after 11 o'clock I began I pulled out my music and began...

... and finished the epic cleaning around 3:30 this morning.  Before I went to bed, I crept around the house, hiding remotes and unplugging televisions because I had tried to get the kids to help me clean up before the went to bed, and when they refused, I told them their consequence would be no screen time today.  They didn't seem all that concerned over their consequence.  If I didn't disable the televisions, Keith would be up with the sun, watching it.  

Finally it was time. My weary bones were so happy to lay down, my eyes exalted in closing.  I think I was asleep in minutes, happy that the whole house was clean and the kids wouldn't be turning their brains to mush in just a few short hours from then.

Really, though, the joke was on me.  Keith, being the smart boy and problem solver that he is, somehow found a way around my preparations and woke me up around 5:30 from the exaggerated sounds of children's cartoons. I was too tired to worry about it.

Not to make this a travel log, we eventually made it home the next morning, and Keith and Faye assisted me in deep cleaning the kitchen.

It felt so good to see them eagerly helping me.  I couldn't believe it.

Best. consequence. ever!

And now, my kitchen looks incredible.  We cleaned out cupboards, removed the baker's rack, scrubbed out the fridge and rearranged dishes and drawers.

Nothing feels as good as finishing a deep cleaning.

Except maybe watching your kids helping.

11 August 2014

Behold The Little Ones


Remember how I was called to be Primary President?  Well, I am learning that there is so much that I have to learn.  I have been re-vamping our Primary, and have lots of things planned to help all the sweet kids in my ward.  I am so excited!  

To help me, and anyone else who is on this wonderful journey, I have begun a blog to record all my thoughts, ideas, lesson plans, etc.  I hope it can help others, as so many wonderful people have been helping me!  

Feel free to stop by and check it out.  Beholdthelittleones.blogspot.com


03 August 2014

Beth's Birthday Part 2

Wednesday morning I was awakened by my favorite cooing sounds coming from Beth's room.  I smiled, and quickly got up to go get her.  As I changed her diaper, I let the Birthday Song play on my phone.  Our family birthday song is Older by They Might Be Giants.  Keith demands it be played all day for every birthday.  So we have adopted it as the official birthday song here at Moon Hollow.

Beth was still acting a little fussy from the night before, so I gave her some Tylenol and really hoped she would not be coming down with anything more serious.  It was her first birthday, for heaven's sake!  No one should be sick on their birthday!

The kids and I straightened up the house, and then we got ready for her birthday party.  Which consisted of making a cake.  We had tons of zucchini, so I reasoned a zucchini cake would be awesome.

It was.

Our friends came over to play/help with the birthday celebrations, and Addie and I made the cake while the kids ran around like crazy superheros.  I was going to do a simple book cake, but my dear friend has got the skillz!  She turned my humble book into a beautiful butterfly.  We had a lot of batter left over, so I whipped out the cupcake liners and after some hunting found my cupcake trays, and we loaded them up.

So good, did I mention?  Zucchini cake may be replacing carrot cake on my list of favorites.  Maybe.  Besides, it has to be healthy.  It is made with a vegetable.  Right?  Right?

Our friends left right when Jeffrey's family began to arrive for the birthday party.  It was wonderful.  Beth wasn't quite sure what to do with all the prettily wrapped things we were giving her.  Mostly, she just wanted to eat it.  We had to help her get started, and oh boy!  I worry we may have created a tearing monster.  Keep your books and papers up high and out of her reach, because she now loves to tear!  Oops.



We got her the typical baby gifts.  Mostly books.  Stuffed animals, etc.  But when she was through unwrapping all her gifts, Jeffrey brought out the big one.

A little car that she can put things in the seat, it plays all kinds of music, and she can push it to help her walk.

All other gifts and cake were promptly forgotten when she saw it.  She spent the rest of the night playing with that toy, and is rather possessive of it.  Which, funny enough, is necessary as I can't count the number of times I have had to tell her brother and sister to leave it alone and let her play with it.

I feel so blessed to have such a sweet and delicious little girl in our family.  My goodness, we are lucky!  I am so glad she didn't get any sicker than the little cold that is bothering her, and I am happy that she had such a lovely birthday.

Too bad she won't remember it.

Beth's Birthday Part 1


We have had so much fun through the month of July, but I have to admit, I am glad that we can take things down a notch or two.

Beth's birthday celebration was awesome.  On Tuesday night my family and the kids and I planned to go up into the mountains for a celebration.  It rained all day casting doubt over our plans.  The sky was an angry billowy grey and the wind was vindictive.  I kept crossing my fingers, hoping against all odds we would be able to go.  I stalked weather.com for the forecast, which was dire, but true to Utah weather fashion, it did change hourly, so the hour to hour predictions were frequently obsolete by the next hour.  With hope and faith high in my heart, we set off amidst a particularly viscous downpour.  Twenty minutes into the drive, lo and behold, the sky was clear and we had driven right out of the storm.  The weather was gorgeous after that.

We drove up the mountains and my soul felt like it could breathe again.  I have been longing for the freedom and peace I always get from the mountains and had been trying to plan a trip, but just hadn't gotten around to it yet.  Thank heavens my brother took the initiative on this one.

We speed walked through the trail, my mom and I lagging behind.  I forgot that is how my brother hikes.  He hurries through, anxious to get to the destination.  I prefer to stop and enjoy the beauty as I walk around.



It takes much longer my way, but I enjoy it more.


We hurried around the lake, and then drove to a sweet little picnic spot for a campfire dinner.

Because everything tastes better cooked over a campfire!

Oh my goodness, we had so much fun!  My kids were delirious with excitement, cousin time and sugar.



We sang Happy Birthday to Beth and let her attempt to blow out her candle.


She tried to grab it and eat the flame.  Good thing Mom hands are much quicker than baby hands.  That could have been disastrous.  Beth did enjoy sticking her fingers in the frosting and eating, much to my niece's consternation.  It made me laugh.  It was her birthday.  Her first birthday.  That gave her the right, I explained.  My niece didn't buy it and requested a piece of cake untouched by baby fingers.


When it was getting too dark to see, we packed everything up and left the canyon.

On the way home, all three of the kids promptly fell asleep.

And then Beth woke up just long enough to throw up.

Typical baby.

I debated finding a spot to pull over, but reasoned that cleaning the baby off would only wake her and make her scream, so I just drove as fast as I dared, and when I got home, I gave her a bath while Jeffrey cleaned off the car seat.  It was gross.  I am so glad that he will take care of throw up for me because I only add to the problem if I have to clean it up.

We carried the kids to their beds, plopped them in as they were still asleep from the drive, and we all went to bed, happy, and smelling of campfire.

We would all have baths tomorrow, I promised myself.  It was a lush day.

31 July 2014

One in a Million


My dearest Beth,

I saw a video recently that made me laugh.

It was a little girl, she was probably about 4 years old, and she was sitting next to her baby brother, sobbing. When her mom asked her why she was crying, she said it was because she didn't want her little brother to grow up.  It was so sad!  She wanted him to stay a little baby forever.  Oh. my. goodness.  Cutest thing ever.

I had to laugh, because I know exactly how she feels.

Yesterday marked the day you have been in our lives for a year.  It was your first birthday.

We had a rough run at the beginning.  You didn't seem to want to sleep ever, and you woke up frequently in the night, making my days very difficult.  After about 8 months, though, we figured things out and now you sleep like a champ.  Instead of screaming from your bed for an hour or more, like you used to do, I now sing to you, kiss your forehead, and then put you down in your bed and you go to sleep without a fuss.  It is like magic, and everyone in the family thanks you for how cooperative you now are.  None more than me, though.  Now, I can barely tell when you are tired.  I have to guess because you are so happy all of the time. I sit on the floor near you, hum your lullaby and hold your blanket open.  If you are tired, you come running into my arms and we cuddle for a bit before I put you down.  If you aren't tired, you will smile slyly at me, nod your head (in the greatly exaggerated way you do), raise your eyebrows and continue to play.

In the past two weeks you have begun to walk.  You have completely given up on crawling and we all find great joy in the way you lurch around, your arms out in front of you, zombie walking through the house.  I love that you are tenacious and you have reminded me in a way only you could how important it is to never give up and keep trying no matter how hard something is.  I have watched you struggle with those first steps, constantly falling down again, but always getting back up to try again.  You walk around the wall that separates the living room and kitchen over and over again, as if in a great exercising competition, always grinning and laughing at your success.

Your favorite person right now is your dad.  You love him more than anyone else, and I love to see the light in your eyes when he walks into a room.  You give him your toothiest grin with a little scrunch of your nose, and a squeal as you reach for him and lurch your way across the room to be with him.  Part of me thinks I should be jealous but I can't bring myself to be, because it is too precious.  The bond you and your father share is strong and treasured.  Best of all is the way you squeal "Dada!" when you first catch sight of him, melting his tired and work weary heart.  You help ease him into a better state of mind at the end of a long day.

You have got some serious rhythm going on.  Whenever you hear music, you begin your squat dance.  You stand with your legs apart, and then you bounce, doing squats with the music while shimmying your shoulders, the scrunched nose, squinty eyed smile shining out with pure joy.  It makes everyone laugh, which only encourages you more.  You love music so much, though.  If ever I am playing the piano, you come rushing from whichever part of the house you are in, eager to interrupt my playing with your infantile plunking symphony. You will stand on your tippy-toes, arms stretched high over your head, so you can reach the keys, and there you do your best to play, although you cannot see what you are playing. I can't resist your little fingers covering the keys my fingers are seeking and quite often give up on my piece to hold you while you excitedly take over playing.  You don't fist slam the keys like most babies do, though.  You delicately play one or two notes at a time with individual fingers, like you see me doing, and then look back at me, a huge smile plastered on your face, eyes seeking my approval.  Which I always give, because you show a true talent for understanding music at such a young age, which amazes me.

You are not ticklish for other people and when people try to tickle you, you smile faintly as if humoring them, and then look away with a slightly peeved expression on your face.  It cracks me up every time.  You are ticklish, but only on your legs in just the right spot, and I think I am the only person who knows that tickle spot.  You squeal with delight when I tickle you right after a bath or after I change your diaper, your little hands pushing mine away.  When I stop, you put my hands back, showing me you want me to tickle you some more.

Your favorite games right now are peek-a-boo and climbing up and down the steps.  You love to play peek-a-boo when we go for long car rides, and I always laugh at your scrunched tight eyes and your dimply fingers covering them.  Especially when I can see that cerulean blue of your eyes peeking through.  You say "Boo!" and then squeal with excitement at our little game.  The stairs seem to have some sort of magnetic pull for you.  You somehow always know when we forgot to close the baby gate and you rush over to them.  Mostly I don't mind.  But when I see you attempting to go down the stairs like a big person, facing forward and walking down, my heart stops and I move faster than I ever thought possible to help you turn around and try going down that way.  You love to be pulled around on the ground by your feet.  You will lay down, arms to your sides, and then you will look at me and say "Ah!" which translates to "Mom, I need a ride.  Drag me, please!"  The Jack in the Box is your favorite toy, hands down.  You will sit on my lap turning the handle, anticipating the Jack to burst through the top and when he does, you always say "Hiiiiiii!" to him. You give him a kiss, and then shove him back into the box and do it all over again, humming snatches of the "Pop goes the Weasel" song as you turn the handle.

Beth, you charm the socks off of everyone you encounter.  You have become such a happy little girl. You are so mellow and content to be held on my lap or in my arms when we are around many people.  We have been playing with your cousin, one month older than you, and she is a whirlwind of activity and motion, always on the move, trying to get into things and keeping her parents on their toes.  You watch her running around, and you are so content to sit in my arms, just watching.  I think you may be an old soul, like your brother.  You are the kindest most considerate baby I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  When you are eating something you particularly like, you always offer some of it to those around you.  Most smile, shake their heads and tell you to eat it, but as your mother, I am always happy to share in your baby slimed food that you more often than not have retrieved from your mouth in an effort to share it with me.  You share your toys with your brother and sister, and are so good with playing with them.

I love how much you love books.  When you find the one you want to be read to you, you give the book to the chosen reader, and then you slowly back up until you are sitting on their lap.  Then you become a bit of a tyrant, turning the pages before the current one is finished being read, skipping pages, insisting the book be read upside down, and sometimes having to taste it before we can go on.  I laugh, and try to humor you. Your favorite books are the ones that make noise, or books with texture.  You don't seem to like the smooth textures, instead you focus your exploratory powers on the bumpy, rough, and sticky sensations. Oh how you love to cuddle and read, though!

I am a much better person for knowing you, loving you.  You make it so easy to be a mom, brightening every morning with the sound of you jumping in your crib.  The way you throw your binki out of your mouth when I get you out of your bed.  You are so precious and such an important and loved part of our family.  This past year has flown so quickly, it seems just yesterday you joined our family, and yet, at the same time, it feels as if you have always belonged with us.

I love you so much, my sweet little Bethy.  I can't wait to see what kind of girl you grow into, and what kind of person you will become.

Love you forever and ever,

Mommy

23 July 2014

Intruder

It was late.  Everyone in the house was asleep but me.  I was happily folding laundry while watching mindless TV and laughing because King of the Hill is just funny.  I finished, carried my basket upstairs, and smiled.  It was nice having all the laundry folded.  Now to put it away.

I climbed the stairs, making certain to turn off all the lights.  When I got to the top, I noticed the kitchen door was unlocked, so I locked up for the night.  I stealthily entered Beth's room, putting her basket of clothes just inside the door because that baby sleeps like a cat.  I then went into my room and began hanging my clothes up.

I was going rather slowly and daydreaming while I did it, lazily looking forward to sleeping in my bed.  Faye had begged Jeffrey to sleep with her because she couldn't sleep, and so I would get to sprawl to my heart's content.

Suddenly, I heard the doorknob to the kitchen door rattle.  Then I heard the unmistakable sound of a shoulder heaving against the door.  Then silence.

I froze, clutching the shirt I was about to hang up and listened.  I didn't hear anything else, so crept into Faye's room and touched Jeffrey's shoulder.

"Someone just tried to come into the house." I whispered, my eyes wide.

I will forever love Jeffrey for how quickly he flung the covers off of him, jumped out of the bed and rushed to the door to investigate.  I didn't know he could move so fast from a state of sleep to a state of awake.

Before he went outside, he grabbed a flashlight, and his shoes, and then went out to see what was going on.

Silence.

Blackness and nauseating heat greeted us at the door.

Nothing.

No one was there.

Jeffrey walked around the house.  He met a neighbor who had just gone out to water his plants.  The neighbor hadn't seen anyone, but he had walked out of his house seconds before Jeffrey.

And so Jeffrey came back inside.  I called the police and told them what had happened.  I requested increased police surveillance in our area.  And then Jeffrey and I discussed.

I had been petitioning for a dog ever since 2 summers ago when there were 3 separate news stories about people breaking into homes in the night and kidnapping little girls.  I couldn't bear it if something like that happened to us!  Even owning a gun would hold no guarantees as they broke in while everyone in the house was asleep and didn't wake up.  A dog would wake up and either scare the person off or alert the people in the house of an intruder.  And, if all goes well, attack the intruder, thus preventing them to intrude.

Jeffrey didn't want a dog.  He didn't want any pets.  He remembered the devastation of losing his dog when he was a child and he didn't want our kids to have to suffer like that.  But after last night, he is leaning more towards my school of thought.

After talking for a long time, I was eventually calmed down enough to go to sleep, but it wasn't a restful sleep at all.  I dreamed all night long about people breaking into my house.  I woke up with a headache.

All day today, I couldn't figure out why I had such a bad headache.  I drank lots of water.  I took some medicine and it didn't even touch it.  So, I gritted my teeth and went about my day.

Finally, late in the afternoon I figured out why my head was hurting so much.

I had been walking around all day with shoulders up to my ears from tenseness. I had been gritting my teeth all day long.  Subconsciously.  Apparently that one occurrence which spanned no more than 5 seconds has been haunting me all day long.

We are now hyper sensitive to unlocked doors and windows.  As much as I love sleeping with the windows open in the spring and fall, that is not something we can do anymore.

Unless, of course, we have dog.