Apr 28, 2013


I never understood why moms got all sentimental about paper cards from their children, but now I get it. Seeing my kids express their love and appreciation was quite touching today.  Each card was special in its own way.

It appears that Lexi wrote down every letter she knows how to write.  She translated: "Happy birthday, Mom!"  I could die of a melted heart.

Gavin made two cards and his enthusiasm grew with each stroke of the pencil.  He was SO excited to give me his cards.  I love reading his writing because words aren't always linear.  You have to be well-versed in Gavin-speak to get the gist.  But I think his messages are fantastic.

Tyler is 100% tender.  He's a hugger and tells me he loves me more than all the other kids combined, so I wasn't surprised when he wrote such a sweet note.  Ahhhh....

And Zach (or Zackie Chan, as he calls himself) calling me a SuperMom is just about the best thing I have ever heard.  Really?  To see him write something so nice about me was quite amazing.  I'll save that one for a rainy day.

Kate didn't write a note, but she babbled away all day long and completely charmed me with her expressions and her wearing of purple sunglasses.  What a doll.

Can you feel the love?

Derby #2

Tyler participated in his second Pinewood Derby on Saturday.  He built and decorated his car all by himself this year and was very proud of how it turned out.  Tyler was bummed that his car wasn't faster, though.  It's hard not to win!  But at least he had a great time. We are proud of our little Bear!

This is bliss

I'm glad I was born

It's my birthday.

I haven't been a huge fan of birthdays in the recent years, but I tried to change my attitude this time.  Luckily I have inspiring friends who, without knowing it, helped me along.  Last year one said that on her birthday she tried to make people glad she was born.  Another did 39 acts of kindness for her 39th birthday.  Don't I have cool friends?  I decided to copy them, and the plan made for a great week.

Last Monday I set out to do 34 random acts of kindness for my 34th birthday.  Some were super simple, like holding open a door or offering a compliment or writing love notes on the bathroom mirrors. Others were a little more involved, like writing letters to a teacher and a friend, and mailing a care package to a dear one far away.  I donated to the Young Women garage sale, left a big tip at a restaurant, took the kids to McDonald's, and contributed a little more than usual to my church.  My kids loved the day they came home to neatly made beds and no chores to do.  My favorite acts of kindness were the most random: taping a $5 gift card on a gas pump, leaving encouraging notes on windshields of cars at the Y at 6:00 a.m., and tucking $1 bills in bins in the dollar spot at Target.  I hope that at least 34 people walked away smiling after receiving a random act of kindness.  I know I sure did.  I think I'll celebrate this way every year.

I was truly touched by friends who remembered and celebrated my birthday with me.  A temple trip, a dinner out, and dessert and shopping with friends were all delightful.  My family spoiled me, and I got awesome cards from my kids.  I am definitely glad I was born.  I'm a lucky girl.

Apr 21, 2013

Little moments

Our life isn't full of grand adventures, but moments here and there are worth recording.

Like the day I took Gavin, Lexi, and Kate to IKEA.  We were there for one thing: a wall-mounted shelf.  I decided we'd all just zip through and then enjoy lunch together.  That's just what we did.  I went home with the shelf I needed, and the kids were delighted to enjoy French Toast sticks and fruit for brunch while watching Ratatouille on TV.

Late one night I found Tyler like this.  There are so many things to love about this picture.

I've been behind on the dishes a time or two lately, and we are chronically out of spoons anyway, so one day Gavin resorted to using a giant bowl and a giant spoon for his cereal.

We shall now have a moment of silence for the happiest news to hit the frozen foods section since 2008: Tillamook ice cream is here!  Yeeeeehaw!  (Many thanks to Colleen, my fellow Northwest transplant, who discovered the magic.)  Once upon a time we lived within 90 minutes of the Oregon coast and the Tillamook Cheese Factory, which makes the yummiest, creamiest ice cream on the planet.  We have sadly missed it since leaving Oregon.  Our lives are more complete now that Tillamook is here. How many sentences can I devote to its deliciousness?

I love my young women!  We are playing volleyball for our mid-week activities right now.

Someone is always hanging upside down around here.

Soccer season is going well for some and not for others.


And finally, a few mini-stories from our life:

  • The kids and I watched a full mating ritual between squirrels in our back yard
  • Lexi threw her beloved winter hat out the van window and I dodged traffic on foot to retrieve it
  • I stood up to a lady at a restaurant who questioned my judgment
  • I installed stick-on tile on the bottom of the cabinet under the kitchen sink and it looks fantastic
  • The latest ice storm killed my tulips that were 4" tall
  • I introduced my Beehives to the wonders of the "Ice Ice Baby" musical era
  • Gavin said: "I want a parachute so I can go to high places and jump off and use the parachute to be safe."
As Robert Brault has said: "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." The end.

Apr 20, 2013

20 months

She's 20 months on the 20th.  Is this like a mini golden birthday?

Kate is...busy.  And darling.  And funny.  And persistent.  And loud.  And crazy.  And we love her.

Her baby vocabulary is exploding.  She's not speaking in sentences or anything, but has clear words for body parts, articles of clothing, directions (up, down, etc.), animals, and lots of things in the kitchen.  She shakes her head for "no" and nods for "yes," and also says "uh-uh" and "uh-huh."  She repeats (or tries to repeat) everything we say.  I was pretty concerned about Kate's lack of words two months ago.  I'm not worried any more.

Kate is Gavin reincarnated.  She never, ever, ever sits still.  She climbs and takes apart and rips and dumps and jumps.  I find her on the counter all the time.  Today she was sitting in my bathroom sink, water on full blast, wet up to her knees--and grinning, of course.  She was furious when I interrupted her fun.  She can open doors now, so we have super annoying knob covers all over the house.  The trick is keeping the doors closed!  Sometimes we refer to her as a bull in a china shop.  It seems she's often on a seek-and-destroy mission.  But she's just so cute....

Kate has entered the "do it myself" stage, which is handy when I need her to do something.  I'll ask her if she can do it herself or if she needs my help.  That will get her out of the car, up the stairs, etc.  Notable exceptions include anything that might restrict her movement, like the car seat or the high chair or the crib.  She hates those things and refuses to be involved without screaming and writhing first.

She loves to watch TV--or at least the idea of it.  Only a few shows capture her interest for more than a few minutes, but she likes to sit on the couch with Gavin and Lexi and pretend to be a big kid.  Last week Garry turned on a "movie" that looked like an aquarium.  The swimming fishies captivated her for a long time.  She especially liked a yellow one and would shriek every time it came into view.

Because Kate is constantly moving, it's hard to get a picture of her infectious grin, her adorable dimples, her thick, golden hair, and her gorgeous blue eyes.  I wish I could capture her giggle and the way she snuggles and the way she says "Mommy!" when she wants me to get her out of bed.  Instead I have blurs and whirls and the back of her head.  I guess I'll take what I can get.

monkey see, monkey do

I made a yarn wreath yesterday.  I started it at a church thing with friends in the morning, and then spent nap time trying to finish.  Gavin and Lexi were so enamored with rolled fabric flowers that they wanted to try some themselves.  They were incredibly persistent, so before bed I let them try.  They were thrilled.

Then Gavin and Lexi begged to make their own wreaths.  I must have been feeling ambitious (or slightly crazy) when I agreed to this plan.  This morning while I manned the Littles' soccer games, Garry took the other kids to Michael's and rounded up supplies.  And thus today's nap time was devoted to another wreath project.

As it turned out, these kids had amazing attention spans and dexterity.  I operated the hot glue gun while Gavin and Lexi cut and rolled flowers and wound yarn around their wreath forms.  I was quite impressed!

The finished wreaths make me smile.

I kind of like mine, too, but I think it's still a work in progress.

Apr 17, 2013

It's like learning to ride a bike

He learned to tie them after I showed him once.

He is so incredibly proud of himself...
...and so am I.

I shouldn't be surprised.
He taught himself to ride a bike, after all.

Apr 16, 2013

Got wheels?

We do.

7 bicycles
1 ride-behind bicycle
1 tricycle
6 scooters
1 skateboard
2 Ripstiks
1 wagon
3 strollers
1 bike trailer
1 unicycle

Oh, the places we go...

Apr 11, 2013

Angels among us

Lexi: Mom, what are you doing?
Me: I'm hemming my new temple skirt.
Lexi: Why is it white?
Me: In the temple everyone wears white.  It's so beautiful.
Lexi: Do angels look that way?
Me: I'd like to think so.
Lexi: I saw an angel sitting in a tree once.
Me: Really?  What did it look like?
Lexi: It was white and so pretty and it had wings and flew around.
Me: Do you see angels a lot?
Lexi: No, just that one time.
Me: What was the angel doing in the tree?
Lexi: She was laying Easter eggs.
Me: What?
Lexi: She was laying eggs, maybe for the Easter bunny or maybe for a chicken.

Apr 10, 2013

Exceeds Expectations

Last Monday Tyler sheepishly approached me with a big assignment that was due in two days.  He had to speak to his class about any topic he wished--a speech that had to be 2-5 minutes long, given from scant note cards, and include visual aids--and he hadn't started!  I was super frustrated, but after a rocky start on research and planning, Tyler finally settled on a topic and worked diligently to prepare.  He planned a speech about our Dixon family reunion last year.  His poster resembled a family tree, complete with pictures of some of his favorite activities.

I attended the speech, which is out of the norm for me.  I had to deliver a visual aid (a marshmallow shooter) right before his speech and collect it immediately afterward to avoid any controversy over taking a gun to school. Because I was there, I shot a video of Tyler's speech.  Kate's interference prevented me from capturing the whole thing, although he finished about ten seconds after I walked out the door.

I'm very impressed with Tyler.  He put a lot of effort into his project in the short time available, and it paid off!  Tyler received an "exceeds expectations" grade from his teacher. He is very proud of himself, as am I!

pass it on!

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