Sunday, July 31, 2011

Family Cheer

For our first family home evening in our new home a couple weeks ago, I gave the lesson. I read the story in this conference talk by Richard J. Maynes. He quotes a story about a little boy that likes to go roping with his dad. I had some rope that the kids held and unraveled to show the individual strands that make up a rope. We talked about their analogy of a rope being like a family. Then I introduced our new family cheer. So now, every night after family scriptures and prayers we chant 3 times,

"We are the Westons and we are strong!"

The kids absolutely LOVE this part of the evening and are pumping their fists and flexing their muscles like crazy. We talked about how we are not just strong in our muscles, but we want to be strong in faith, strong in our love for each other, strong in our unity, testimonies, etc. That little phrase means a lot to our little family. Sometimes I hear the kids saying it randomly during the day.

My major at BYU-Idaho was University Studies. That's obviously nothing to brag about, and not very interesting at all for conversation-making, but I loved it. I had to pick 2 minors, and I did Home and Family Living and Marriage and Family Studies. So basically I went to school to be a mom, because that's all I've ever wanted to do anyway. But anyway, we talked a lot during these family classes about how family traditions can be so important because it gives the children a tightly-knit system that they're apart of. It helps create consistency and they have a life where they know what to expect at certain times. Not just Christmas traditions, but even nightly traditions like reading books together and singing a song before bed, or whatever it is. It provides that stable environment that gives them security.

I just wanted to share a little idea that's been a lot of fun for all of us, not just the kids. Ours is very simple, but it's ours, and that's what matters.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Photo catch-up

We are alive and doing well. We just got the internet this morning, so I'm going to try and quickly catch up. I just put a bunch of pictures in a previous post, in case anyone's interested (mom). Here's a bunch more random pictures...

They have these really cool parks here, I think it's called the Cleveland Metroparks and there's lots of them all over. We found one, without realizing at the time what it was. People were fishing and just out enjoying nature. We only enjoyed it for so long, then the mosquitoes drove us away. But it was really pretty, and we're excited to go back. Beautiful wooded areas with animals and lots for kids to explore.

See the frog below? It jumped ("into the pool where it was nice and cool") right after I took this.

Enjoying a fun ride on daddy's shoulder.
This was during our hotel stay. Brynlee managed to give herself a huge goose egg, but I thought it was cute how she tried to smile when she realized I was taking a picture of it.

Also in the hotel. These silly kiddos stole mine and Kenny's glasses. It made us laugh so hard! What is it about kids and big glasses that looks so funny?!

This is here in our new home. Yes, we are moved in now. The kids emptied all the toys out of the toy chests and climbed in for a good hiding spot. They love to hide from daddy when he gets home from work and he has to come find them. I remember doing the same thing with my siblings when I was a little girl.

And some cute bath pictures of the chubbiest baby known to man. Holy cow this girl is heavy. But if she weren't the cutest, sweetest baby in the world I'd worry about her. :)

She loves her reflection. I love this picture.

That about does it. I'll put up pictures of our house when we finish getting unpacked and settled. Our lives are returning back to normal now, and it feels good. I was telling my mom how I think living with other people and in a hotel was so hard on me because it was like I was unemployed for so long. I am a homemaker, and I had no home to make. But my life of juggling little kids with laundry, cooking, and cleaning is quickly returning and although most days I'm sure I fail miserably, I am happy.We are very grateful to be all living under the same roof, and in our own home. It's a cute little 3 bed, 2 bath ranch house in a darling neighborhood. There are lots of young families, and my favorite feature: a neighborhood pool. That's where we go to escape from the boxes and what not.We've got new library cards, we're making friends, and we're settling right into our new lives here. If only the boxes would disappear faster...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ten on Tuesday

1. I am really bummed that I cannot put pictures on for now. Not only are they more boring to read, but it's going to take me a while to catch up when adding them later, before printing it off. Maybe I should just go buy a cord for my camera and this lap top, instead of waiting to be able to stick my whole memory card in on our desk top.

2. The movers are in Katy, TX at our storage unit loading up a big truck with our stuff at this very moment!! I CANNOT WAIT TILL IT GETS HERE!! Oh my goodness to have our own things again is going to be wonderful.

3. Last night we went and finalized our decision for the house we've been looking at. We will move in on Saturday, even though our stuff's not coming until Monday or Tuesday. Looks like we'll be asking around for some spare blankets from ward members until then. But we don't want to stay more days in this hotel than we have to. Ugh.

4. Speaking of ward members...we totally fell in love with the ward on Sunday. It was our first time attending and everyone was so very welcoming and kind. There are lots of young families which we are SO excited about, including a few in our neighborhood. Hooray for not being 20-25 mintues away from everyone like we were in Illinois. There are a handful of guys that work with Kenny that are also members of our church, and they're all in our ward! How cool is that!? We can't wait to dive in and really get to know everyone.

5. The longer we are in this hotel with TV, the more I am convinced that we will never get TV!! We haven't had it the entire time we've been married. At first it was just a luxury we really couldn't afford, but even after graduation, we had no desire for it. What a big fat waste of time! Instead of watching a couple favorite shows a week on hulu/netflix, the kids are constantly wanting to turn it on. Tyler, especially, has developed an addiction. He also happens to be a big sucker for advertisements and has a big long list of toys and other things he wants (and needs!!). It's actually kind of funny. He'll say "Mom did you see that! Those bags make your food healthy and fresh just like a fridge! We have GOT to get those at the store, okay?!

6. I am grateful for parks, especially when there's other kids there for mine to play with. That's where we go every morning for a couple hours. Okay so Brynlee doesn't want to get out of the swing the entire time, but Tyler says "I'm going to go make some friends" and then goes and plays with people. Although it's pretty obvious he's been very sheltered and doesn't understand how some kids work. He doesn't realize how mean some kids can be. There's a daycare, or some kind of program for kids whose parents work all day, and they're usually at the park too. This morning Ty was playing soccer with a few of the other boys, and 2 of them started fighting. Like, real kicking and hitting. I told them to stop (they weren't being very well supervised by the staff whose job it should have been to stop them). Tyler said, don't worry mom, they're just practicing their karate moves, and he starts doing a few of his own off to the side of them. hahaha. He's such a sweet boy. But we had chat about kids and fighting, and what he should do if he has a run-in with a bully at school. I was worried that he seemed kind of excited, and almost hopeful that a bully will attack him at school. He had a smile on his face as he explained how he will dodge his punches and go under, and fake him out, etc. Apparently he watches Kung Fu Panda and The Furious Five too much.

7. Madison has been teething for a while, and now has 5 teeth. I knew she had been cutting her top 2 teeth, but a couple days ago I noticed a third one coming in on the bottom. Poor girl. Teething for babies is the pits, although she seems to handle it much better than my other two did.

8. The hallway outside our door smells like some animal died and is decomposing in the heat. I nearly lost my breakfast.

9. At home I would vacuum my floors every day, or every other day at the most. Here I have to wait till Wednesday when they come and clean. Our floors are disgusting, and I'm sure Madi's going to get some awful disease by the time we leave here.

10. Okay, no more complaining about this hotel. It's only 2 weeks. I can do anything for that long, right? Right??

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I need to write about this evening before I forget. It's not a night I ever want to forget. A couple days before we left Houston, we went to the pool for an evening swim. We had already been earlier that day and tried to get Tyler to swim without his floaties again to practice, but he wouldn't. He was very resistent to the idea and so I let it go. Later that night we went back with Kenny and my parents. Kenny got Brynlee to take her floaties off and practice swimming without them. That's not even a big deal for Bryn in the fear department; I don't think she even understands what she should be afraid of, if that makes sense. She looked so cute! She stays just barely under water the whole time, and keeps her little eyes open under water (without goggles unfortunately), and just kicks her feet as fast as she can. That girl is fearless, and so adorable.

Tyler watches her swim back and forth from Kenny to the wall, and can't take it anymore. He made up his mind that he was going to swim, and Bryn--his younger sister--wasn't going to out perform him. So off came the floaties and he just went at it. HE WAS AMAZING! He was swimming, like full on swimming! He had a good stroke, and was kicking hard and could move pretty fast! I was just so so proud of him! I was like bursting at the seams, and it just kept getting better. His confidence grew as he realized what he could do. He kept swimming farther and farther. Then he decided he could go off the diving board. So my dad got in the water with him and he would jump off and swim right to my dad. Eventually my dad got out and he would swim all the way to the wall to get out. Then he did tricks off the diving board. Then he learned how to come up for breaths, and keep swimming again.

It was such an incredible feeling watching him get so much confidence and joy as he just quickly progressed from one thing to the next. Tyler is a very cautious boy, by nature, and has always been scared of lots of different things. So for him to go and do those things, to really conquer those fears was just so fun to watch. I love being a parent. Being a mom is the best job in the world.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Cleveland thus far

Well we gone and done it. We moved to Cleveland, Ohio. We left my parents' house on Thursday, June 30th in the morning. We were glad that we were in no rush, and took our time getting there. We stopped in Jennings, LA and got to hold and pet some baby alligators (or were they crocodiles?) and that was pretty exciting for the kids, especially Ty.

That night we stayed in Jackson, MS. We ate at Cracker Barrell that night and because we were feeling so southernly-influenced I ordered chicken and dumplins with cornbread, and Kenny got some beef brisket and fried okra. :) I really love the South. Everybody drinks iced tea and eats fried chicken, and everybody has deep southern accents.

Day 2 of our trip we stopped at some Dinosaur World place in Kentucky. It cost too much money and would have taken way too much time, so we just let the kids explore the gift shop and pick out a small toy. They were happy with that becuase they didn't know what they were missing out on. We stayed that night in La Grange, KY, just past Louisville.

Saturday, we made it to our hotel here in North Olmsted, Ohio. We dropped our stuff off, grabbed our swim suits and went over to the Buckovich's house. Our good friends from Illinois, the Reeds, were here visiting her parents for the weekend and it was so fun to see them again. We met another family there, and we'll actually be in there ward now, so I think it was such a blessing we were able to go that day. We had a great time eating, swimming, and visiting. It's so nice to come here and not be totally lonely. We went with the Reeds to church on Sunday and ran into our old friends from our 3 month stint in Richmond, TX, the Thompsons. Debbie was my visiting teacher and I had Brynlee during that time so she was so sweet and brought meals, etc. They are in the same ward and it was fun to see them after over 2 years.

Monday, July 4th: Went to the Thompson's home for a big breakfast. On our way back home we caught the end of the little parade (mostly made up of local kids riding their decorated bicycles...I loved doing that when I was little). Then we saw there was a big to-do going on at the park, so we went and had a wonderful time eating free food and playing on all the free stuff. Really missing our families this day. Wishing so bad I was in Provo for both of my family reunions going on, but maybe next year. Kenny replaced the brakes on our poor van while the kids napped. We had a fun pizza picnic outside the hotel on a little patch of grass. Tyler and I went on a little mommy-son date to watch the fireworks in Strongsville that night while Kenny put the tired girls to bed. By the way we all wore matching shirts and I loved it :).

We've just been doing A LOT of house hunting while we've been here, and even before we came too. We put a deposit down on a house that I think we will love, even though we will probably still be kind of cramped. It's in a great family neighborhood in North Ridgeville. We'll go back on Monday after it's been cleaned and look at it again before we sign the contract for a year lease. We've been to the beach (Lake Erie) twice and had so much fun both times. Wonderful playground, beautiful area.

I seriously underestimated Ohio. We love it here so far, even if we are staying in a nasty 2 room hotel. We spent the day yesterday in Kirtland, Ohio and that was neat too. I'm pretty sure we ruined the entire tours for everyone else with our tired/noisy kids. Hopefully they were still able to feel the spirit, because I sure wasn't able to concentrate.

Speaking of our kids though, I have to say that they are being such troopers. I feel so bad that they've just been yanked from one house/hotel to another, dragged across the country several times and lived out of suitcases for the past 3 months. They are the best. We're trying to make everything a very positive experience, but I am dying to give them some consistency and stability. We can't get into the house until the 15th, but who knows how long it will be till they get all our stuff up here. I am praying it will be very soon.