Feb 27, 2013

New Beginnings (in jeans)

Every year around this time, the Young Women organization at church has a meeting called New Beginnings.  All of the girls turning 12 throughout the year are invited to attend (since they join Young Women at age 12), and the young women and leaders put on a little program highlighting the Personal Progress program and some other feel-good motivational stuff.  Traditionally this is a formal event, but this year, one of our 13-year-old girls was in charge and she decided on a sports theme for our meeting.  It was fantastic.

I should have brought along my nice camera, but alas, I forgot. So, from a cell phone's grainy perspective, I give you GAME DAY.

The main idea, found here, was a tailgate party.  Decorations were simple and sporty.  Our president had a great tent to use for concessions.  My job was all of the printed details: invitations, program, playbook, and a couple little things.

To kick off the meeting, the Young Women leaders performed a cheer about the Young Women values.  It was hilarious, and, to my utter astonishment, I did not die of embarrassment while yelling and waving my arms in front of real live human beings (performing is NOT my thing). Some of the older girls shared spotlights on our "new recruits," or the girls who turn 12 this year. Our speakers (an awesome lady in our ward, and our bishop) shared great messages about teamwork and goal setting and leadership. Part of the bishop's message included this video (grab a tissue).

We also played Personal Progress basketball, which is a game I made up the last time I worked with the young women, back in 2006.  You can find that here.

Concessions included nachos, peanuts, candy, and soda.  

                    (our party planner/MVP)

Fun was had by all.  And, even though my jobs were behind the scenes, I'm really glad it's over.  On to the next mountain: the ward newsletter, which I must publish in about 40 hours.

Cell phone stories PLUS

Here's the latest.

Family Home Evening (that's a chef's hat atop a sleeping Daddy):

A view of the neighbor's yard a few hours before a blizzard:

Grocery shopping with the Littles:

Annoying stuff with pillows and blankets (that's my closet):

Making copies at the church while two young women worked on a bulletin board:

My bed at 10:00 p.m. on laundry day:

BONUS from Gavin...

During Kate's nap:

Gavin: Can you wash this hoodie?
Heidi: Wanna help me with laundry?
Gavin: Yes!  Wait, there's my bike!
Heidi: If you put on a coat and gloves, a bike ride would be fantastic.
Gavin: Nah, doing laundry sounds way more fun than riding a bike in the cold.

Heidi: OK, just close the door and then you can turn on the washer.
Gavin: Like this?
Heidi: Yep, now hit the power button.
Gavin: Don't you mean the play button?

Feb 25, 2013

If ye are prepared...

In January the leaders of our stake (a group of wards, or congregations) asked families to increase their efforts to prepare for an emergency.  There's a certification process for us to follow, which is basically a checklist for creating a plan, sharing the plan with family members, and collecting resources that would be helpful during a natural disaster or another prolonged difficulty, like unemployment.  So, in a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone mentality, I decided to tackle the list as a Personal Progress project.

A few years ago Garry and I used our tax return to buy some food storage and supplies for 72-hour emergency kits.  I didn't entirely complete the project before I burned out, and some things, like our food, were really out of date.  So this week I pulled them out again.  I made a grocery list, Garry went shopping, and I inspected the bags for deficiencies.  I made an effort to collect important documents, make a printed emergency plan, and put all of that in one place.  I also registered for a class to renew my CPR certification.

In the process I got really overwhelmed.  Why is it that the more I prepare for an emergency, the less prepared I feel?  As the kids helped me assemble our food kits, I got pretty stressed and snappish.  How am I supposed to fit everything each person needs into a single backpack that is already impossibly heavy, especially for a child?  As it stands, I have a short list of things we need for each bag, and once I get them, I'll be done with the whole thing for a while.

Interestingly, at church yesterday our bishop asked us to conduct a food storage experiment.  He asked us not to go to the store for a week and rely on what we have in the house to eat.  As I sat in the pew and contemplated his request, I thought that our only real issue would be milk, since we blast through several gallons per week.  Of course I was wrong.  Yesterday afternoon Kate started throwing up.  I thought it was a fluke at first, but by the third time I was convinced.  We've got the stomach bug in our house...and we are out of laundry soap.

So last night I went begging.  A friend graciously offered some of her detergent to get me through the week (or at least through all the barfy laundry).  I'm so grateful. I hope that if I have something that someone needs, like toilet paper or spaghetti sauce or diapers, I can help them.

I guess this is what I've learned: the law of consecration isn't something that appears on a checklist.  Loving my neighbor--and being loved by mine--is a greater commandment, and obeying that should be my ultimate goal.  After all, love will help me survive the trauma of an emergency situation more than anything but water, and I've got 200 gallons of that in the shed.

Feb 21, 2013

French Toast

If you leave Gavin in the kitchen,
He'll probably ask for some French Toast.
If you give him some French Toast, 
He'll want some syrup to go with it. 
Touching the syrup will make him all sticky, 
So he'll take his plate to your bed. 
When he gets to your bed, he'll see his sister. 
Seeing his sister will remind him that he needs a partner in crime,
so he asks for her help. 
Between bites of toast, they spread syrup on the laundry. 
Dirtying the clean clothes isn't fun enough,
so they turn to your sheets. 
Playing in sticky sheets reminds Gavin of a giant napkin,
so he wipes his face on your pillow. 
Then he and his sister have a pillow fight. 
The pillow fight makes enough noise to draw your attention.
Gavin will try to hide. 
After discovering the mess in your bedroom, you confiscate the sticky plate.
Gavin asks for a final lick. 
But chances are, if you give him a lick of syrup,
he'll want French Toast to go with it.

{If you haven't read this delightful children's book series, you should.}

Snowy Superstitions

Last night Zach wore his pajamas inside out, flushed ice cubes down the toilet, and did a snow dance in the family room.  He wanted a snow day, and he got one.  (It helped that snow was falling steadily by 6:00 p.m., and that 6-12 inches were forecast.)  Today the schools are closed, presumably because the city of Colorado Springs doesn't plow its roads so its citizens must be stuck at home.

The first order of business was shoveling the driveway.  Garry took care of ours, and Zach and Gavin shoveled our next door neighbor's drive.  Another neighbor has hired Zach to shovel hers every time it snows, and after he had a hot breakfast in his belly, that job kept him busy for a long time.  Gavin and Lexi had fun making snow angels for a while, too.

Garry went to work, of course, but for the rest of us, our snow day was very lazy.  Sweats and movies and hot cocoa made for a lovely day.

Kate: 18 months

Kate is eighteen months old.  A year and a half!  I kind of can't believe that so much time has passed since this happy day.  I'm so glad our delightful little not-so-much-of-a-baby is in our family.

I love Kate's stage right now.  She's darling and happy and capable and relatively independent.  She laughs and babbles and putters.  She gives yummy hugs and sweet kisses and soothing snuggles.  Kate has another side, too.  She throws amazing tantrums and whines a lot and gets into everything.  Fortunately her charming side wins.

Some of Kate's favorites:

Chocolate milk
The Backyardigans
Lexi's doll house
Dipping food into sauce
Piggy bank toy
The pantry
Having her hair done
Saying "no"
Footie jammies
The great outdoors
Going places other than home
YMCA child watch

Some of Kate's not-favorites:

Her car seat
Having her hair done
Diaper changes
Being left behind
Being confined
Being quiet
Sitting still

To celebrate Kate's 18-month milestone, she went to the doctor for a check-up and shots.  The most traumatic part of the visit turned out to be our walk up the building's stairs.  I tripped and nearly dropped Kate and injured my hand.  Once we were in the office, however, Kate cooperated beautifully and had a great time (except for the immunization part).  Later that day, we all enjoyed an afternoon snack of Oreos and milk.  Turns out Kate's a fan of those, too.

Kate isn't much of a talker yet.  I'm slightly concerned, but hope that the next six months will bring a larger vocabulary.  Part of the problem is that I have relied on Kate's pacifier far too much, so I finally ditched that this week.  I cut tiny holes in all the binkies, rendering them useless.  When Kate sticks one in her mouth, she makes a funny face, like it tastes sour or something.  I tell her the binky is broken and encourage her to throw it away.  That hasn't happened yet, but hopefully Kate will decide on her own to officially get rid of the binky.  Waaaaa....I'll miss it.

Since Kate is our last child, every milestone she reaches is bittersweet.  I want her to stay little so I can savor every sweet moment of each stage.  I also enjoy the excitement and liberation that come as she grows.  Here's to the next 18 months, Miss Kate!
Post-edit: 18 months stats
Weight: 24.3lbs (72%), Height: 32in (58%), Head: 18.9in (90%), BMI: 16.6

Afternoon success story

I don't know how things are at your house, but we call the hours between 3:30 and 6:00 The Witching Hours.  Is that because I fly around on a broom?  Maybe.  That time period is mostly chaos, with hungry and tired children needing help from a weary mother, plus homework and piano practice and basketball and ten little eyes that want nothing but to stare blankly at a glowing screen.  It's not my favorite time of day.

Yesterday I decided to start The Witching Hours on a happier note.  Enter Double Stuf Oreos...and five happy kids.  And one happy mama.

The bonus at the end of this story is that I didn't eat the entire package of Oreos by myself.  Don't laugh.  On days when The Witching Hours don't go so well, it's a real problem.

Feb 19, 2013

I had a dream (by Rachel Rogers)

i had a dream
 that my husband was pregnant 
i had a dream 
 i couldn't handle another child
i had a dream  
 we didn't have any more baby stuff
i had a dream
 we gave it up for adoption
i had a dream
 then i woke up....
and that child was... my dearest Gavin!
(Except it only looked like Gavin, in the dream HER name was Rebecca Jayne)


Feb 18, 2013


Tyler turned nine this week.  He's been excited about this day since Christmas, when he started a paper chain to count down the days.  In January he posted a wish list on the fridge.  He added to it occasionally, using large lettering and arrows to indicate his most preferred presents.  On his wish list were an i-Pod Touch, Minecraft (an online computer game), tools, a hot breakfast, a family party, and the game Power Grid.  We did our best to accommodate his desires, but also to fulfill some needs and wants he didn't realize he had.

On the morning of his birthday, Tyler woke up Garry and I pretty early.  "Mom and Dad, would 6:15 be a good time to open my presents?"  "What time is it?"  "6:15."  "OK...."

So we started the day early.  And Tyler was thrilled.

When the gift opening ended, he was $60 richer, had a warm jacket and new clothes, and was the happy owner of sculpting clay and tools, an electricity experiments kit, a fun game, a cartooning sketch book, and an activation code for Minecraft.  Thanks to the generous family members who contributed to Tyler's haul.

Tyler had a great day at school.  He took donuts to share with his classmates, who yelled, "Happy Birthday, Tyler!" at 1:00, the minute he was born.  At home, he played with his electricity kit, ate a dinner of his favorite foods, and blew out candles on a donut cake.  At the end of it, Tyler said he'd had a terrific birthday and gave me a big hug.  When a birthday boy goes to bed happy on his special day, I consider the birthday a success.

Since then, Tyler has used his new tools to dismantle a broken CD player and a broken microwave.  He has also sculpted a mask out of clay and experimented with electricity. Tyler also wears his jacket all the time.

Tyler enjoys being nine already.

pass it on!

Bookmark and Share