Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Little Preston!

So I want to know how it is possible that my baby just turned two?

Blowing out the candles is always a favorite. We recreated the moment until Preston noticed the ice cream on the table waiting to be dished out... suddenly candles didn't hold the same appeal!

The finished cake product.

Preston loves to cook. When ever he sees me preparing food in the kitchen he comes to me and says, with arms stretched upwards, "cook? cook?" It means he wants me to lift him up to the counter, so he can help me create.

Making a cake was no exception. Doug and Preston ended up making the cake together. Sophia, Preston and I ended up decorating the cake together... Thus the toddler appeal, but he liked it!

Opening presents.

Reading books. Both grandmas sent great books. Thank you! He LOVES them!

Porter and Sophia showing him how it's done.

Getting the hang of ripping off the paper.

When we opened on package that had been shipped to Preston, he gasped with delight as his hand passed past the brightly wrapped present straight to the packing peanuts.

What birthday is complete without a swim and a trip to Wendy's for the all time favorite french fries... Yes, he ordered chicken nuggets, but all my kids choke down the main dish just so they can feast on french fries.
Preston loves to say the word... hamburger, it's his first three syllable word.
We let the kids stay up past their bedtime as we enjoyed a rare humidity and mosquito free evening swinging on the swing set, lounging in the hammock, and hitting the badminton birdie back and forth. Preston even managed to play in the sprinkler, and at one point picked the whole thing up and aimed it at the family. That brought some laughs. I wish every evening could be so peaceful!

self portrait by Preston... most of the pictures he took when commandeered my camera were of his shorts. in this one you can at least see his cute lips!

I reminisced about the day Preston was born. He is such a delightful little boy. He is sweet and patient. He is a good sleeper (hallelujah!). He loves to read books, he loves his quack quack (stuffed duck), he loves to eat ice cream, Popsicles, suckers, and gum. His language has exploded ever since we returned from our cruise. It's so fun to hear the new words that keep coming out of his mouth. He loves his daddy. He can hold his own with his siblings. He can be a very independent player. He loves to play chase and to go on walks and plasma car rides. He makes me happy with his huge smile and sweet kisses. I am so lucky to be his mama! Happy birthday sweet boy!


Larissa introduced me to my new favorite accessory... I just spent way too long pouring over the web sites of bumbles watches and which watch design on etsy... just trying to figure out which bands and which watch faces I want. Aren't they cool? I knew I needed to save some birthday money for something, now I know what!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pet Day

Porter always has lots of great ideas and he's always full of great ideas on how to make those things happen. He also has no fear in implementing his ideas. He is going to go far in life

His latest idea? Borrow Maggie for pet day. I told him he was welcome to ask Ruth if we could borrow Maggie. In my mind, I thought there was no way she would allow me to take her precious baby to public school where there would be an untold number of children and other dogs of various shapes and sizes. I assumed we would end up taking the hermit crabs.

Hmmm... I was wrong. Porter returned moments later jubilant yelling, "She said yes mom, she said yes!" Silly me, I had already dismissed the idea and had to ask who said yes to what

So, Sophia, Preston and I returned home from running errands early Friday morning, to receive Maggie at home. We coaxed her into the van, led her into the school, coaxed her out of her comfort in the shade of the picnic table to allow Porter to proudly parade her around so all of the first graders could get a better look. Sophia and I then returned home with her.

Ruth picked her up after work, and Porter crossed the street later that evening after swim team to borrow her again, so he could play with her more and take her for a walk. Maggie got a lot of lovin on pet day!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

fish and crabs

Preston loves our pets. The other day I discovered that he'd pushed the chair over to the fish tank, retrieved the food from the cabinet and was feeding the fish. He doesn't miss a thing!

He's recently discovered our hermit crabs, and he loves them. He will grab onto my hand and pull me to their location, saying, "Crab? Crab? Crab?" meaning, he wants to play with the crab.

After one afternoon of playing with them, one of them didn't get put back in his cage, and disappeared. One week later, Preston discovered him hiding in the toys I try to discreetly stash behind a chair. He was delighted, picked up the crab and yelled to his dad in the kitchen "Crab! Crab! Crab!" The crab, was not as delighted to be found, and pinched Preston's finger so hard he drew blood. Preston threw the crab on the tile (not good for the crab's health, if they get dropped they can die, but this one seems to have survived the fall).

For two weeks afterwards, Preston would come to me during the day, hold out his pointer finger (not always the right one) and say to me "Crab... crab... crab..." Meaning, look what the crab did to me.

last day at Kids of the Kingdom...

How is it possible that Sophia's first year of pre-school has already come to an end???
The onset of school has truly accelerated the passage of time in my life.

Gator of the Week

Sophia was selected as the girl "Gator of the Week" for her age group.
The award goes to someone who works hard and swims hard and has a great attitude. Someone who is always at practice, who doesn't complain, and who is improving.
Sophia was thrilled! Although, I think she was more thrilled with her goody bag that came along with the title... a dolphin necklace, a fish tattoo, and bubble gum.

The Gators vs The Otters

We spent the greater part of Saturday cheering our kids on at another swim meet. I am torn. I love watching them swim, but wonder if it's worth so many hours in our weekend. At this point, we're just letting the kids decide if they want to swim or not.

They both swam so well. Porter won his heat in free style again. He took three seconds off his time from last week. He look strong and fast and did side breathing perfectly! He grumpily agreed to swim in two relays, but came out with a big smile.

He also swam the back stroke. Last week he hit his head really hard coming in, so he didn't want to swim it again, but we told him if he agreed to come to the meet, he had to swim all the races his coach put him in.

The exception to that was the breast stroke. I want him to swim it, even though he's still learning it, but last week they had an incorrect time for him(25 sec), so he was in the fastest heat, which means, everyone else was finished and he was still half way across the pool (it took him 49 sec). They still hadn't fixed the error this week, so we didn't make him repeat last week's experience.

preparing to depart for back stroke

waiting for his turn to race

freestyle-doesn't he look good?

Sophia, preparing to jump off the block (I love watching her half belly flop, half dive into the water!)

preparing to mount the block

watching and waiting for her turn in the relay

Sophia also swam so well. She swam in three races, the freestyle relay, freestyle, and backstroke.

However, she had such a sad start to her morning. As she was waiting for her turn in the relay, I heard her coach yell, "Go Sophie, Go!" Sophia, never having swam a relay before, looked at her, and jumped in... a false start... She had to get out, and wait for the girl to get to the end. As she waited, I watched her, my heart breaking for her, she had a grimace on her face, with the saddest expression as she just tried to hold back the tears. She felt so terrible that she'd messed up.

She still swam, last week, she swam without taking any breaks, but this time she held onto the rope a couple of times, I think she was just shaken and her confidence was down. I ran down to the other end of the pool and when she got out she ran into my arms and wouldn't let go. Later on, another girl false started, and I pointed it out to Sophia, explaining that it happens to everyone, and it's not a big deal. But in her little world, it was so sad.

It was hard to watch, and harder still to think, this isn't the first time I'm going to watch my kids deal with disappointment, I can't protect them from it, all I can do is try to help them be resilient and be there for them, have a good enough relationship with them, that they'll let me be there for them to help them stand back up

Sophia went onto happily swim her free style and back stroke races, and was all smiles. She held her own, and was thrilled that she got two ribbons. She kept saying, "I can't believe I won two races!" In reality, they are finishers ribbons with her time on it, but after trying to correct her once or twice, I stopped, she is a winner! She is getting out there and swimming her hardest and has such a good attitude and shes doing something she totally loves.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Building a Testimony

I recently shared this for Sharing Time... I thought it was pretty profound, and worth recording in my blog so I don't forget it!

Elder Marcus B. Nash shared the following: "Sometimes young people tell me, “I don’t really know if I have a testimony.” They are looking for a great, grand, glorious experience that’s like a lightning bolt. I ask them, “Have you ever seen a giant redwood tree?” It’s a magnificent tree. Redwoods are thousands of years old. They are gigantic. They are large enough that someone could carve a tunnel in one and drive a car through it.

Some young people believe that their testimony is not a testimony at all if it isn’t like that giant redwood tree.

On the other hand, I also ask them, “Have you seen a baby tree, a little sapling, only five inches tall?” It’s a tree too.

Some testimonies are big like a giant redwood; some are small like a sapling. But big or small, they are both testimonies.

If you are wondering if you have a testimony, I would ask you—Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet? Do you pray? Do you feel peace when you do? Do you believe the Book of Mormon is true? Do you believe you have a Father in Heaven? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? If you say yes to any of these questions, then you have received a witness of the truth. You have a testimony. Just nurture it!

Our testimonies are nurtured and grown in simple ways. When you get out of bed in the morning, pray on your knees to your Father in Heaven, and listen. When you get up off your knees, go about the events of the day trying to live the gospel and be good to others. When the day ends, have another word of prayer, express love to Heavenly Father, thank Him, and ask for His help. Sometime between those two prayers, take time each day to read and think about the scriptures. Be sure to fast on fast Sunday and attend church every week.If you’ll just live like that, in time your testimony will grow from a little sapling to an eight-foot-tall tree to a giant redwood. That is how a testimony is nurtured and grown."

To introduce the topic I talked about how my dad raised a forest of tree around my childhood home, and the seedlings he planted came in an envelope. When I left home they surrounded the entire perimeter of the yard, creating a beautiful fence.

To illustrate the concept of nurturing a seedling, I brought garden supplies and compared each item to something we do to nurture our testimony.

I guess I was moved by Elder Nash's analogy, because it relates building a testimony in a very concrete and understandable way for young and old alike. Regardless of the size of the tree, it's still a tree. Regardless of the size of our testimony of doctrines, they're still testimonies of truth. We plant those seeds in our selves and in the hearts of our children and we try to nurture them, we do things in our homes, our families, in our primaries and in our personal studies to strengthen and grow those seeds.

Na Na Boo Boo

One of my kids favorite games is one they call 'nana boo boo- you can't catch me.' I'm pretty sure Sophia came up with the phrase, and even Preston can say the na na boo boo part. It's so funny. When you hear that phrase, it means you have to chase them. Preston will stand in our hall and sing it out complete with hand actions, and giggle as he runs from us. It is inevitable that when daddy is at the park, he'll have to play the game. I tried to catch it on video today.

Plasma Car

Preston really, really, really LOVES his plasma car. He sure can cruize fast on it. He can go down the drive way, turn the corner onto the side walk and be two houses down turning towards greenbelt in less than a minute... grinning the whole time. He also has high endurance. He loves to go on walks, and will come to me, and ask... "walk? walk? walk?" when he wants to go outside for some plasma riding time.

Sunday Afternoon ...

A cold front came through today, giving us a blessed blast of cooler air (high 60's). We took advantage of the nice weather and took a very long walk/bike ride/scooter ride through our neighborhood.
The kids made frequent stops searching for the wild berries in the green belt. We collected them and brought them home to research the internet to verify the safety of ingesting them. We determined they could eat them. I think harvesting them was even more fun that eating them.
It was a pleasant way to spend time together as a family. The kids really worked as a team. I love to see that!

Swim Team

A poster their coaches left on our garage in the middle of the night

Showing off their team suits!

Waiting for their next race.

We are in the thick of swim team! Practice after school every day, which my kids love! And meets on Saturdays. It's been keeping us super busy.

Our first meet was this weekend. Whew... five and a half hours... I'm not so sure we'll keep doing the meets, but we'll give it one more before we make any final decisions. We'll definitely continue with the after school practices.

The kids did great. Both Porter and Sophia won their heats for freestyle. Porter won by a wide margin. They were both absolutely thrilled with their successes.

Sophia's goal was to not stop for a break, and she didn't, she swam the whole way! Wahoo! Go Sophia! She was absolutely giddy with excitement at having competed in a race! She also won her heat for back stroke, but she only swam against one other girl, and that little girl got turned around and started swimming the wrong direction. They are too cute at this age! In free style, Sophia was looking like she was going to come in second, but the little girl ahead of her started swimming towards the stairs, so Sophia was victorious.

Porter didn't really want to swim in the meet period, but I asked him to try one before he decided he hated it. He likes swimming freestyle and back stroke, and he in time trials he got a great time in back stroke. But he just learned the breast stroke, and his coach put him in a relay swimming the breast stroke; he wasn't happy about it... at all. But the mom who was helping them line up paid him a dollar to swim it... he popped out of the water, got his dollar, and came running towards me with the hugest smile on his face. We went straight to the concession stand Money talks. I was proud of him for swimming that stroke in the relay and individually, even though he wasn't really ready to compete with it. His coach had an incorrect time entered for his time trial for breast stroke (25 sec.) in reality, he didn't swim it in time trials, and his meet time was (49 sec.). But he was in the very fastest heat teamed up against 8 year olds (he's in the 7&8 group). We were so proud of him for not being too discouraged or getting angry when he was only half way through when the others were finishing.

New Dress

My mom has been busy crafting too. This week she sent this dress that she MADE for Sophia. Sophia loves it. She wanted to wear it to school, but decided to save it for church lest it get ruined by paint or playground abuse. There is a lot of sweet detailing on it. Thank you Granny!

Tag Blanket

I've started trying to work on my crafting projects every Monday afternoon. I'm so excited, because I am finally finishing the pile of projects I've been thinking I'll get to ... someday.
This was my latest creation. I've wanted to make one for over a year, and I finally got out, selected fabric and ribbons, and put it together. It's called a tag blanket, and in theory a baby will cuddle with it and be entertained and comforted by pulling on the different ribbons.
Unfortunately, I think I missed my window for Preston to enjoy it. When I gave it to him, he gave it right back. When Porter tried to give it to him, he accepted it, and tried to clean his bloody toe with it... nice... I guess maybe it does a look a little bit like a rag, in size at least.
Doug thought it looked like a sample... he didn't realize it was the finished project. Oh well, I think it's cute and it turned out even better than I'd hoped!

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Uglies, The Pretties and the Specials...


Interesting concept for a story. Certainly there could be a lot of discussion regarding people's perceptions of beauty, a group mentalty, what affects our norm, differences in cultural norms, environmental issues, leadership issues. I enjoyed the relationships developed... until the end... I HATED the end. I feel like Tally, the main character sold out to all of the things she fought for through out the entire book. The doctor won, her work lives on through Tally. Tally now assumes the role of single handedly enforcing a check and balance on the new views in society. What gives her the right to do that? But even more frustrating, why does she get to stay special, when no one else does? Why can't she just be special being herself? The new Tally, the Tally that remains as the book closes is a Tally I had a hard time identifying with in the third book, and honestly, while I liked her a lot in books one and two, never really like in the last book.

Museum of Natural Science

Yesterday I went on the first grade field trip with Porter and his class. As he ran through the museum, rapidly trying to see all of the cool things there were to see and not miss a thing, he exclaimed "This is the best field trip ever!" We enjoyed the dinosaurs, the gems, and the butterfly exhibit. He even got a butterfly to land on him. We lunched in the park, and the kids played on a large hill. Upon our arrival back at school his teacher told me I could take him home early under the condition that I buy him an ice cream cone. It was a great day! I'm so glad he still wants me to accompany him on field trips.

Something from the Sea

This week's theme for Sophia's Show and Tell was Something from the Sea. She took

in our three hermit crabs. Her teacher told me she sat in the special chair and delighted in her fifteen minutes of fame as she was queen of the classroom, showing everyone her crabs and explaining how we take care of them and feed them. She explained how there are two boys and one girl (not sure how she knows that). I wish I could have been there to witness her moment.

Strawberry Jam

With the onset of Strawberry season, I was inspired to try my hand at creating freezer jam for the first time in my life. Sophia delighted in helping me, and the boys delighted in eating it!