Jan 30, 2008

Happiness Is...

Today I read a quote that said "sometimes happiness just happens," and you know, it does. We haven't done anything fancy here in Mesa, but we've had so much fun and been so happy. This time has helped me remember that happiness can happen when...

  • Cuddling my baby when he's passed out on my shoulder after nursing at midnight
  • Listening to my mom pretend to audition for Senior American Idol with "Grandpa's Farm"
  • Chillin' on the couch with my siblings and cousin every night when I know they all have work/school/life to face early the next morning

  • Having FHE with Granny and Gramps (and singing "Families Can Be Together Forever" with them)
  • Hearing Ryan give his first priesthood blessing
  • Seeing Devlin's face light up at my photos of Mater and Lightning McQueen

  • Taking a two-hour nap
  • Getting a kiss on the lips from Eve
  • Buying ice cream at McDonald's for all the cousins and watching them eat it

  • Seeing Mr. Miyagi walk Zachary (instead of vice versa)

  • Sleeping in

  • Scheduling a massage for myself (can't wait!) and knowing my children won't miss me for a second because they'll be at Granny's house

And speaking of happy things, I'd like to give a special shout-out to Gavin, who is officially two months old. His chubby cheeks (and arms and thighs and belly) definitely define happiness.

Ode to Uncles

My boys have grown up with awesome uncles. Who knew that crazy little brothers could grow up to be so cool? I feel lucky to have them in my life and especially in the lives of my children!

David is cool because he's Devlin's Daddy. We were all thrilled when he came to visit in Beaverton when Gavin was born.

Myron is just as good as a brother, even though he's an in-law. He loves to entertain the boys when we are in Arizona. Just today he played ball with the kids in the park, ran around with Mr. Miagi (the dog), and made Zach and Ty a special-order lunch and cookies on the side.

Zachary and Tyler are thrilled that Eric is home from his mission. On Sunday we went to a special fireside Eric hosted about Mongolia. The boys were pretty good considering the meeting was an hour and a half long at the end of a church day. When we got home, Zachary said, "I sure learned a lot about Mongolia!" Zach is also learning that Eric, who works full-time and goes to MCC full-time, is not as available for playing as he used to be. That's why we felt so special when we got to share Eric's lunch break on Tuesday. Taco Bell has never been so cool. Eric even shared his nachos.

Uncle Ryan is still da bomb. He is also super busy with a full-time schedule and a part-time job at ASU, but he still found time this week to build the boys a car ramp, assemble a slot-car race track, play video games, and push the boys on the swings. He is also the preferred guy for bedtime songs and stories. We love Uncle Ryan!

Thanks, guys, for all the sweet memories this week! Love ya!

Jan 27, 2008

What we've been up to

Garry has been holding down the fort in Beaverton (thanks for the great "for sale" post, honey!) and was pleased to vacate the house while it was shown for the first time on Saturday. Woohoo! Meanwhile, the boys and I have enjoyed a few fun days in Mesa with my family.

Zachary has enjoyed hours of Wii and Nintendo entertainment. One of his favorite games is fitness boxing, where he uses the controllers to punch a boxing bag (I won't let him box a person, even if it's pretend). He really gets into the movements and works up a sweat! I caught him sitting up in his sleep last night, punching the air and grunting as if he was playing the game!

Tyler has puttered and played with Granny's many toys (cars, books, trains, blocks...) and also loved spending time in the big backyard (not to mention the sunshine!). He is learning to pump on the swings and especially loved swinging when Gramps took him to the park.

Gavin has charmed everyone with his cuteness and sweet nature. He likes Granny's crib, plus the car seat, bouncy chair, swing, and play mat Granny borrowed from Aunt Angie. We are lucky to have such a great set-up here. Gavin is smiling more and getting stronger on his tummy.

I have enjoyed a couple of naps, a pedicure and lunch date with the girls in the family, and late-night chatting with my siblings and cousin who lives here. I love seeing my little nieces nurture Gavin like they would one of their "beebees." What fun! Here are several pictures that highlight our latest adventures.

Jan 25, 2008

Officially For Sale!

Our house is officially on the market! The following is the text from the flyer-box in our front yard.

Beautiful 4 Bedroom Home on a Cul de Sac!


This home has a wonderful floor plan! Light & bright! Great for a first time home buyer. Quiet location, yet minutes to shopping & restaurants. The new Streets of Tanasbourne is also close by. This home is move in ready & waiting for you!

  • Built in 2000
  • 1750 Sq Ft
  • Immaculate Condition!
  • Finished 2 Car Garage with Painted, Textured Floor and Great Built-in Storage
  • Forced Air Gas Heat
  • Air Conditioning
  • Spacious Master Suite:
    • Large Walk In Closet
    • Double Sinks
  • Utility is Upstairs
  • Large Kitchen Features:
    • Tile Counters
    • Built In Microwave
    • Refrigerator Included
    • Pantry
    • Opens to Dining & Family Rooms
  • Stereo Surround in Family Room
  • Separate Living Area
  • Fully Fenced Back Yard with Patio
  • All Appliances Included!
  • Taxes $2327.16


  • Tobias
  • Brown
  • Century

Deborah Jackson, PC
Broker, GRI
RE/MAX Equity Group
Cell: 503-880-2000

Please call today for a private showing

Since we don't have access to the photos the realtor took, here are some we took ourselves.

Tyler the tenderhearted

Last week Tyler started having issues with going to school. Oh, he still had issues when he was at school, but begging to stay home was a new, ornery twist to the morning. Until yesterday his protests were manageable. Yesterday morning, however, Tyler shifted into total meltdown mode as soon as we hit the classroom. He begged and pleaded and sobbed and shuddered. He wanted to go home and be with me. I offered to stay awhile to help him transition, sensing that a little one-on-one would soothe his soul. Tyler enjoyed having me make sculptures out of play dough and paint his hands for H-page hand prints, but every few minutes he dissolved into a heap of shuddering tears. Eventually I just decided to leave him in his teachers' hands. As it turned out, he was fine without me.

At home after school, Ty settled into his usual routine -- lunch, a show, then quiet play time in his room. He announced he wanted to take a little nap and set about choosing some books to enjoy in bed. I found him some time later, sitting on the floor surrounded by about two dozen picture books, a favorite propped open in his lap. A music CD played in the background. This is classic Tyler behavior, at least when he's alone. I was glad to see him happy, content, and lost in his little world.

By the time 2:00 hit, I was stressed out. We were due to leave in less than two hours and I couldn't imagine being ready in time. Pressure mounted and I didn't handle it well. But eventually Elvis left the building.

Fast forward three hours. The boys and I were on the plane, headed for Phoenix. We were all a little giddy with anticipation. I was relieved that Gavin nursing during takeoff and didn't cry. I was determined that my little entourage would not turn into a circus side show on this plane. That fantasy lasted until just before the in-flight beverage service, when Tyler burst into tears. He missed his daddy. Quiet cries quickly gave way to the morning's shuddering sobs, and plaintive cries about his beloved father turned into pleas to turn the plane around and go home.

In the midst of Tyler's lengthy outburst, Zachary started asking went the plane would land. We had completed about 30 minutes of a 2 1/2 hour flight. When I explained how much time was left, Zach began to wail. At this point Gavin got a little fussy, too, so I figured now was as good a time as any for me to cry. So I did.

Actually, I was mostly laughing. In some ways the situation was hilarious to me. But as I was shaking with not-so-quiet laughter, I started to cry a little, too. Suddenly the stress and emotion of the last two weeks bubbled to the surface and spilled over. In that moment I felt overwhelmed and incompetent and embarrassed. I felt alone and scared and unsure of the future. The boys eventually noticed the tears streaming down my cheeks and immediately stopped their own tantrums to stare at mine. That was the turning point; we recovered quickly from there.

Seeing Granny and Holly waiting for us at the gate (special passes in hand) was a gift from heaven. A passenger from the plane interrupted our reunion to tell me he thought I was the bravest woman he had seen in a long time and that my kids were just fabulous. Naturally, I cried again.

A good night of rest did all of us wonders. Tyler bounced out of bed this morning with a grin on his face. He ran in to hug Gramps and said, "I always wished that I could be at your house!" He tickled Gavin on the floor and said, "Good morning, Tootlebugs!" He looked around in awe at Aunt Holly's bubblegum-pink bedroom and exclaimed, "Holly's room is sure cute. Are only girls invited in here?" And finally: "I'm so glad we're here." Me, too, Tyler. Me, too.

Jan 23, 2008

Got guilt? Check.

This photo captures the essence of Gavin's life today. He was alive and kickin', but he sort of got lost in the pile of things to do. I realized when I put him to bed that my neighbor held him more than I did today. Wow. Good thing Jennifer is such a great friend and loves to cuddle little ones! And good thing I have a good-natured baby that will put up with being shuffled from car seat to swing to bouncer to stroller to crib. Gavin was a trooper today. And I have a lot of guilt.

The good news is that the house is so close to being ready to put on the market! I still need to sweep out the garage and vacuum all the carpet and dust the kitchen light fixture. Garry has a couple little items on his to-do list, too. I still need to pack for our trip. And obviously, I still need to fold a mountain of laundry. But thanks to some wonderful friends, the huge list of major chores has a lot of satisfying check marks.

Tomorrow the boys and I will fly to Mesa for more than a week of family fun. Aside from catching up on sleep and enjoying the company of my parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews, I am looking forward to reconnecting with my children in a stress-free (not to mention warm and sunny) environment. And knowing my mom, she'll probably even fold my laundry for me.

Jan 22, 2008

Before I became a parent

I've spent many solitary hours packing, cleaning, and thinking during the last several days. I have tended to wax nostalgic, which has often left me amazed at how much my life has changed in the last six years. In some ways, life is very much the same as it was six years ago: I had a new baby and I was moving to a new state. Back then life was simpler, though, because that baby was my only one and the move was something we'd been anticipating for a long time. Back then, I was one of those people who looked at women towing a pile of unruly children through the store/campus/church and rolled my eyes in disgust at her obvious incompetence. My, how the years have changed my perspective. Today I got an eye roll from a Fred Meyer cashier. Believe me, it was well deserved.

As I sat in Dairy Queen tonight with my family, I chuckled at how the evening had been a series of "I'll never do that" activities. Back when I was childless or even when I only had one very mellow baby in diapers, I knew I'd never be the kind of mom who bribed her children with ice cream. I knew I'd never let the television become a babysitter. I'd never order pizza as a cop-out for dinner preparation. And I'd never let my kids leave the house with scraggly clothes and/or hair. Did I do one of those things tonight? Nope. I did them ALL. Maybe that makes me a bad mom/wife/homemaker, but I don't really care.

Back in the days of sleeping in, doing whatever I wanted on the weekends, and having a beautifully flat and wrinkle-free stomach, I was naive about more than the nuances of raising rowdy boys. I didn't understand the flip side, either. I never knew how a gummy grin could melt my heart, or how the words, "You're a professional mom" would make me feel like I'd won a gold medal. I never knew the joy that would come when my three-year-old asked me to tell him scripture stories or when he sang, "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission" at the top of his lungs on the way home from church. I know that years from now I'll definitely remember the rough grocery runs with three kids in tow, but I hope I also remember the sweet and happy moments, too. People often tell me to enjoy these early years with my kids -- that they are quickly gone, never to return. I find myself rolling my eyes at these comments because on most days I can't imagine parenting getting much harder than it is right now. At the same time, though, I know that those seasoned moms are probably right. In six more years I'll be older and wiser and dealing with issues of far greater importance than out-of-control roughhousing or wearing holey jeans to kindergarten. When I look back at this day will I smile because I miss this stage or because I'm so glad I don't have to go back? Probably a mixture of both.

Jan 21, 2008

Today I've learned...

  • That multitasking moving and motherhood is quite a challenge
  • That fresh paint makes me happy
  • That boring beige really does make my kitchen look bigger
  • That even the most unsavory of tasks, like cleaning out the fridge, is made more pleasant if done while chatting with a good friend
  • That being a good neighbor pays off
  • That it's OK to receive service once in a while
  • That little babies should not have to endure ear infections

So most of my "aha" moments today related to ongoing house-selling preparations, but that last bullet came yesterday when I took Gavin to Urgent Care for the second time in his short little life. The poor kid was in obvious distress during the night, with a low-grade fever (taking an infant rectal temp was a first for me) and hours and hours of crying. He wasn't eating well, refused a pacifier, and kicked and screamed when ever we laid him down. At 4:00 a.m. I started connecting the dots and called an advice nurse. She suspected an ear infection, and later an Urgent Care doctor confirmed the diagnosis and ordered antibiotics. Gavin's flavor palette has suddenly expanded to include bubblegum-flavored amoxicillin and grape-flavored Tylenol. He seems so surprised every time we administer the medicine! Hopefully the little guy feels better soon. I'm ready to learn what a good night's rest feels like.

Jan 20, 2008

A season of change

Right now my life is all about change. We're preparing to sell our beloved first home. We're moving a few states across the map to a place I've never been. We'll be starting fresh. Everything will be new.

Doing new stuff can be scary, but I think that's mostly about leaving behind the familiar and the comfortable. There is plenty of that in Beaverton -- so many fabulous friends, happy memories, and wonderful traditions. My heart hurts when I think about waking up without all of them around the corner. Faces are swimming through my mind in a sea of memories. I hope I always have them.

Having said that, I'm kind of excited about the move.

I have an adventurous streak that just isn't afraid of diving in and seeing what happens. Someone told me recently that her family motto was "I can do hard things." I like that. I've started chanting it to myself when I'm faced with an awkward phone call or a frightening closet that doesn't want to be packed. I look forward to saying it when I can't find my way home from the grocery store in Colorado Springs or when I walk into our new ward and instead of knowing every name and every face I'm the new girl again. I can do hard things. And sometimes I like it.

In the spirit of change, I'm stepping out of the family newsletter box I've been so comfortable in for six years. I don't categorize this in my list of "hard things" by any means, but rather in the list of "new things" in my life. So here's to the new things, and the hard ones, that make life interesting!

pass it on!

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