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Aug 30, 2010

Homecoming

I spent the weekend in Mesa with my parents and all five of my siblings.
The occasion: welcoming Ryan home from his two-year mission to Croatia and Slovenia for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The weekend was delightful.
The reason: family.

Here I am with my brothers and sisters:
Ryan (21), Angie (27), David (29), Heidi (31), Eric (23), and Holly (16).
I am especially fond of the tall-short-tall-short-tall-short lineup.
And that I'm the oldest and the shortest.


Being in the temple on Saturday with Ryan, my parents, and cousins was awesome.
We also spent most of Sunday together.
Ryan spoke in sacrament meeting. He did an amazing job.
David and Rachel sang a masterful rendition of "I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked."
Then we had a family dinner and an open house for Ryan.
Eating and hanging out with everyone was the best!






I don't know how I missed taking pictures of my cousins! Amy and Ben and Rachel and Brandon....I'll get you next time! It was so lovely to see you all!

Garry managed the kids and household quite well in my absence,
despite being sick enough to be bed-ridden. I will post soon about all of their adventures.

Welcome home, Ryan!

Aug 26, 2010

Decisions, decisions

Remember my percolating paint plans?
Well, I took a bold step and selected paint swatches.

In my room, we'll paint the wall behind the bed some shade of green
and the other walls white (but which white??).
Garry will re-print our Feng Shui wall art to match.


In Lexi's room, all of the walls will be pink,
and I'll update the flower boxes to match the new decor
(and the fabulous quilt Aunt Heidi made).


Opinions?

Also, what would you do if your out-of-control two-year-old
fell asleep during time-out at 9:30 a.m.?
It was a hard call, but I woke him up. I'm not sure yet if that was wise.


P.S. This is my 700th post!

Aug 24, 2010

Well done, thou good and faithful servant

For the last two years,
Elder Ryan James Dixon
(my little brother)
has been serving a mission for
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
in Serbia, Slovenia, and Croatia.
He has been an amazing missionary.

And tonight he came home.


I wasn't there to greet him in the airport,
but I am so, so proud of him
and want to welcome him back to the United States.

Way to go, little brother.
I really look up to you.

inside edition

If you were a fly on the wall at our house, you might see:
  • Lots and lots of purple tulle. I'm making tutus for Christmas gifts.
  • Green flowing curtains in my new-and-improved bedroom.
  • A giant pile of board books on Lexi's bedroom floor. The Littles and I exercised our literary muscles this morning.
  • Crumbly remnants of "mush muffins" (English muffins), which were Gavin's afternoon snack.
  • The juice of a fat tomato on the office carpet. Gavin opened the fridge, Lexi extracted and dumped the tomatoes, and Gavin juiced one with his knee (on purpose). I was in the shower.
  • The beginnings of a new ironing pile. It's laundry day.
  • A lump of football gear on the floor, just waiting to be used at practice tonight.
  • Zach's school planner, the daily squares filled with his scrawl. His handwriting is messy, but I think he likes being organized. At his request, a copy of his home-responsibility calender is in the front pocket of his school binder.
  • My telephone headset, which was well-used this afternoon.
  • Three days' worth of mail on the counter.
  • An excellent view of the next-door neighbor's front yard For Sale sign (new today).
  • Crayons and "letter B" paraphernalia.
  • A rapidly-dwindling stack of Gavin-sized diapers, which begs the question: Is it time to potty-train?

If you were a fly on the wall of my brain, you might see:
  • A picture of my brother, Ryan, who is currently on the last leg of his journey home from his two-year mission in Croatia. I am devastated to miss his airport homecoming party tonight, but I do get to fly to Arizona and spend the weekend with him.
  • An utter lack of a dinner plan.
  • Musings on how to quash Gavin's fear of random animals; nurture Tyler's troubled soul; and diffuse Zach's explosive attitude.
  • Budding excitement for a scripture study group starting soon -- the chance to get away from real life for an hour a week and learn something, too.
  • Percolating plans to paint Lexi's bedroom and mine before we get new carpet in two weeks.
That's what's up at our house. What's up at yours?

Aug 22, 2010

Renewal

I just returned from 48 hours in Utah, where I traveled to attend the wedding of this lovely couple.


The bride is the daughter of my dear friend, Melanie. I am so grateful I had the chance to witness such a beautiful, joyful event!

Stephanie and Kevin were married in the Draper, Utah temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Through the power of the sacred priesthood--the same authority that Christ exercised when he was on the earth--they were married not only for this life, but sealed together for all eternity. As I listened to the words of the sealing ceremony and pondered the covenants and blessings of the temple, I reflected on my union with Garry and the nature of our eternal family. What a magnificent blessing it is to know that I will be with the love of my life forever and ever, and that my children will always be mine. What a sobering, sacred responsibility I have to live my life in accordance with God's will and to raise my children in righteousness.




I spent time in the temple prior to the sealing. During the endowment session, the Holy Ghost was almost palpable. It felt like a warm orb of light had settled into my heart. It grew throughout the session, and then again during the sealing. It continued all day Saturday and lingers today. My joy is full!

Here are some of the reasons.

I thoroughly enjoyed breakfast with my mother's parents and sisters and my cousin and her husband (my hosts!) on Saturday. Cousin Katie and I indulged in shopping and pedicures after we ate. I spent time at my grandparents' house and in their garden. I took home some of their home-grown tomatoes and cucumbers. I am sealed to these fabulous people, too.



Lauriann and I spent a short time over Jamba Juice smoothies before the wedding festivities began. I love that she is such a genuine friend, and that we can talk to each other about real life. I love that we met when Zach threw a book at her head in Sacrament Meeting eight years ago, and that she wanted to be friends anyway!



Seeing Melanie as the lovely, radiant mother of the bride was such a special experience. Being with her dear family on such a joyous occasion made me very happy.



Most of all, I am grateful for the opportunity to receive spiritual nourishment. During the time I was away from home, unencumbered by my normal life, I had time and energy to read, listen, pray, reflect, and serve. My testimony of temples grew. My gratitude for the Savior grew. My knowledge of the gospel grew. My joy for my life grew. Heavenly Father's plan of happiness is the greatest blessing in my life, and it sure makes me happy today.

...

Want to know more? If you haven't already, click the links (in red) above. Watch this video on why Mormons build temples. Take your questions to mormon.org, where you can learn about our values, faith, and doctrine. Or just leave me a comment and I'll be happy to respond!

Aug 19, 2010

Adam & Emily

Last night we enjoyed a fun visit from my cousin, Emily, and her husband, Adam. They are living in Lawrence, Kansas, where Adam attends law school at KU. They drove out to Colorado Springs to check out the area as a place to live after Adam graduates next Spring.



We met Adam and Emily at Red Robin for dinner. We actually had pleasant conversation -- a pretty rare occurrence with children at the table. Then we came to our house for dessert and some back yard play.



Gavin immediately connected with Adam and adopted him as his own. Adam was a most excellent sport, taking Gavin down the slide and even spinning on the tire swing. He played soccer with all the boys but drew the line at climbing the tree. It was a very fun evening!






video

Aug 18, 2010

Twenty teef

Over the years I have decided that an important parenting strategy is to explain, prepare, and introduce transitions very slowly. I should have low expectations in a new situation. Change is hard, especially for kids, and new things can be scary.

Today's new thing: the dentist.

Today's subject: Gavin.

My expectation: hiding, general lack of cooperation, minimal participation in actual dental examination, possible screaming.

Actual experience: general lack of cooperation, stubborn demand for things to proceed in his way, lots of interference from Lexi, some participation in the dental exam.





Conclusion: the visit exceeded expectations....in a good way! Hooray!

And, by the way, Gavin has twenty teef that aren't very clean. I have low expectations for dental hygiene with my two-year-old. Apparently I need to raise the bar.

Aug 17, 2010

Big boy, Little boy



Today was Zach's first football practice in full gear. He was excited and a little nervous. As he ran onto the field, I noticed he was the only kid on the team without a jersey -- but one of Dad's shirts got the job done. Of the 25 or so kids playing for the Rams Rookies, all are returning players except a few. Zach is one of the new kids on the block.

Garry picked him up from practice and had a chance to talk to the coach. Coach Mitch was surprised to learn that Zach has never played football before. Apparently he is the best center on the team! Zach will be the starting center this season; his natural ability makes up for his utter lack of experience. Zach will be at the center of the action, which makes me nervous, but he is so excited about this newly discovered talent. Coach Mitch also said that Zach would be a great running back. Football season just got more exciting for the biggest boy in the house!




Meanwhile, the littlest boy continued his study of the letter A today. Gavin was thrilled for the chance to paint with apples. As you can see, he covered several sheets of paper with apple-stamped paint. What masterpieces!

Notes to self: Buy a vinyl tablecloth. Mom needs a smock, too.

Day One: Mom's version

Several people have asked why Monday, the first day of school, was so crazy for me. It's quite an interesting story (ha!), so here you go:

We are getting new carpet. Garry and I had a 90-minute meeting starting at 9:00 with a guy from Carpet Direct. Before he came I showered and swept and mopped and did the breakfast dishes – and of course got the kids out the door for the first day of school. Then Gavin and Lexi were wild and crazy during the carpet meeting. The guy kept going on and on and on. The presentation was very informative, but about twice as long as it should have been (in my humble opinion).

After he left, I spent an hour doing letters and coloring and whatnot with Gavin while Lexi climbed up and over and under and on the table. Then I made lunch for the kids and started making the traditional back-to-school chocolate chip cookies. I made the sad discovery that we didn’t have brown sugar. So I packed up the kids and we went to the store. The trip was pure insanity with Gavin and Lexi in one cart.

We got home and I made the cookies while the kids ate lunch. I put Lexi down for her nap and was walking down the stairs with Gavin to put him down when a dear friend in Virginia called. I haven’t talked to her for a year (a difficult one in her life), so I knew I had to pick up. Gavin was up for another half an hour while we talked. He just watched TV.

A different carpet guy was supposed to come during this time but he didn’t show. I wrote him a note for the front door saying “come back later!” but he knocked as I opened the door to hang up the note. He stayed for almost an hour trying to convince me I should use him.

Gavin didn’t go to bed until 2:15. Then I had to wake him up at 3:05 to pick up kids from school. Because it was the first day, there were hiccups in the get-to-the-van process. Zach, Tyler, and their friend took 15 minutes to come out of the building. By then Gavin and Lexi were hysterical in their car seats.

Back at home we settled in with cookies and milk, homework, piles of paper for me to sign, after-school jobs, etc. I called the boys’ teachers to change their literacy testing times (they were scheduled in the middle of nap time on Friday). At this point I realized I forgot to put the roast in the oven at noon. Special dinner: fail.

The boys went out to play, the Littles and I went out back, and I called my friend Melanie. While we were talking, both of the boys’ teachers left messages. I went inside to listen to the messages and call them back. Gavin and Lexi followed me inside, screaming hysterically (they have major separation issues thanks to our upside down summer). I locked them out of my bedroom and hid in my closet while I called back the teachers. I missed both teachers at school, but we continued to play phone tag and exchange emails until new literacy times were established. It took 20 minutes for Gavin and Lexi to calm down from their hysteria.

Then Gavin went out with the boys and I put Lexi in the Exersaucer to contain her while I made dinner (tacos). She screamed. Then the neighbor kid ran over Tyler with the garbage can (who knows how that happened) and he was screaming outside. Then Garry texted to say he’d be coming home late. Tyler and Zach came in at 6:00 to start on their dishwasher and kitchen responsibilities while I finished up dinner. Tyler punched Zach because he wasn’t unloading the dishwasher right. I gave Zach a pass on dishes and told Tyler to finish up. He screamed and refused. I sent the big boys to put on pajamas and then come back to dinner.

Gavin and Lexi ate (I lost my appetite). Zach and Ty never came back. At 6:55 I told them they had five minutes to eat. They gulped tacos while I changed Gavin and Lexi for bed and brushed their teeth (I have to sit on Gavin to do this). We all went downstairs and watched a cartoon about Moses from BYU-TV for Family Home Evening. Garry’s mom called to talk to the boys about their first day of school. I told her we’d call back later. I read the first chapter of 2 Nephi to the kids. Just as we were kneeling for prayers, Garry walked in the door. He put all the boys to bed, and I clocked out.

See? Cuh-ra-zy.

Aug 16, 2010

Day One

The first day of school has come and gone.

The boys thought it was awesome. Woohoo!!

Before school, we took our traditional shots outside.
The boys were pretty giddy with excitement. This is the best photo.



Here's my third grader whose feet and hands are the same size as mine,
and my first-grader whose smile resembles a jack-o-lantern.
Cute kids.



The Littles had to be included in the photo-op, bed-head, pajamas, attitude, and all.



The boys both got lunches sealed with a kiss in their new boxes.



And then they were off. Carpool only lasted one day, but hey -- it was fun for a bit.



Back at home, Gavin and I spent some time with paper, crayons, and the letter A.



This is how Lexi spent that time.



Although the rest of my day was completely c.r.a.z.y, this particular chunk was great.



It should be a good year.

Aug 15, 2010

treehugger

See Gavin.

See Gavin hug a tree.

See Gavin hug a tree he has climbed.

See Gavin be silly in the branches.

See Gavin in a tall, tall tree.
See Mommy have a heart attack.
See Gavin laugh.

Oh, Gavin.....

pass it on!

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