Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Few Thoughts

1. Last night was the General Relief Society Broadcast. I LOVE this time of year with all the conferences we have. It's so inspiring and motivating. It was really nice to watch it from home, since this is the first year we've had BYU TV thanks to our Roku. Anyway, it seemed as though they kept hitting on things I've been thinking about lately. Especially Pres. Uchtdorf--he made me cry again. Yesterday as I was walking into the library with just Brynlee (by the way, she's my favorite child to run errands with) I had a thought hit me hard: What am I rushing to or for? Why am I hurrying from one day to the next, when it will never end? What am I waiting for, and as a result, what am I missing along the way? I find that I am always trying to rush things. I'm always trying to hurry my family along too. We have to hurry and get dressed so we can hurry and go to the store so we can hurry and get home, etc. Hurry and eat dinner so we can really quickly have a bath so we can rush through scriptures and hurry to bed! I feel like the days and weeks are going by so quickly, but it's partially my fault. And for what? Nothing, I realized. So I was really grateful for Pres. Uchtdorf's talk yesterday when he talked about not searching for the golden ticket, but enjoying the candy bar itself, or noticing the forget-me-nots along the way. It really helped me stop and think about the little things I miss out on during the day with my sweet kiddos. Their lives are so joyfully simple and care-free, I want to enable that and keep it that way for them while they're so young.

2. This body of mine...the one that I'm never satisfied with and always wishing it looked better, different, or whatever. I have been humbled lately to realize that chubby or not, my body is doing exactly what it was created to do. My body is a temple, but it is also an instrument of service. It's something I voluntarily give away every day to my family. I literally give of my physical self to my husband and children. It is mine to give, and I do it knowing full well that it makes my shape, size and weight fluctuate and change.
I don't really enjoy being pregnant. I have only met one woman in my life that says she did enjoy it, so I don't think I'm alone in that. But I have been reflecting on what an incredible thing it is. I am partnered with my husband and God himself in creating life. My body miraculously forms little, tiny bodies within me to house eternal spirits--God's children, and mine and Kenny's children. Then once they are born, my body automatically creates nourishment and sustenance for that child. It gives them everything they need to be healthy and strong, and sustain their life.
My arms give hugs and hold the ones I love. If I sit down, you can bet my lap will soon be filled. My shoulders are there for babies to sleep and cry on. My lips can give passionate expressions of love to Kenny, or tenderly kiss away bonked heads and skinned knees. My legs usually have a little one clinging to them while I'm making dinner or trying to get something done. They wrap their bodies around my legs when they want to be held, or use them to stand up and support themselves. My hands and brain do all the other work, mostly menial tasks, but still crucial nonetheless; washing dishes, scrubbing bathrooms, paying bills, washing and folding laundry, making food, etc. etc. My voice allows me to teach, discipline, sing and talk. The list can go on and on, but the point is, I've had my focus redirected, my perspective renewed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Week

Monday: Took Madi into get her immunizations since her shot records finally got transferred. No fun, but she's a tough little gal. I really can't remember the rest of that day. I only know that happened because it's on my calendar.

Tuesday: My friend Natalie Palmer came over with her son Scott, who is Tyler's friend. She also has a little girl Sarah, but she and Madi obviously don't play yet :). That night was YW.

Wednesday: Tyler's first day of preschool!! I am doing joy school with 4 other moms in the ward. most of the kids are 3, so it's really not for him to learn anything new. It's really just for the social aspect of it, and they have a good focus on character building and values, not just abc's etc. We're doing it just on Wednesdays for the first 6 weeks, then we'll do Wed. and Fri. from 10-12. Day one was definitley a success. He of course loved getting a new backpack that he picked out (super heroes). Bryn just had to get a backpack too and wore it around all morning just like Ty. She kept asking where he was. It's fun to have girl time while Ty's gone. We went to the park and then made some snickerdoodles before going to pick him up. That night I was gone again for pres. mtg.

Thursday: Kenny's department (project controls) from work had a dinner at the house of one of his co-workers. It went alright, I suppose. Lots of breakable things in their house and Madi was being a stinker. She is definitley in the exploring stage where now that she's mobile she's everywhere and into everything, but she was cranky on top of it so I wasn't enjoying it that much. But it was good to meet some of the people he's with every day, including his boss. I like to have a visual image of people when he talks about them. Kenny got to go play basketball that night which is always fun for him, even when he comes home a little beat up :).

Friday: Kenny has every other friday off, it's called his flex day. It's pretty much on my top 5 favorite things of my life that we have a 3-day weekend every other week. Anyway, it also happened to be stake temple day. We haven't been since we came here, so we figured it was time for us to go. We drove the 120+ miles (2 hours) down to Columbus, OH. We got there at 2 p.m. It's one of those really small temples. The plan was for Kenny to do initiatory work first, then I was signed up for the endowment session at 4. Only problem is I didn't know that you had to call ahead to get on the list for intiatories too. It was full, so the kids played outside until it was my turn to go in. I hurried out afterwards so that Kenny could go in at 6:00 (he was able to sign up for that one luckily) since we were staying to watch our friend's baby while they went and did sealings at 6. So I stayed in the church that's right next to the temple (they share parking lots) with my kids and a 2 month old baby. Luckily they were only gone an hour. The kids were hungry, and had really had it by this point. Plus Brynlee had bad diarrhea and got a super bad rash on her bum so she was not very happy either. It was a REALLY looong day. We grabbed some drive-thru dinner and got home around 10 p.m. We'll never drag the kids out to do that again. We'll either take turns going every other month or try to find someone crazy enough to babysit for 7+ hours so we can go. I was feeling guilty this morning during church when the high councilor talked about how some people don't get to go to the temple at all, or only once during their lives and we have one so close (relatively speaking). I have never been this far away from a temple, but I was realizing that I should be counting my blessings.

Above: the temple, but not a very good pic. Below: playing outside while waiting and waiting and waiting. They had a bridge with a little stream underneath and obviously some fun rocks.

Saturday: same ol' stuff. Tyler had another soccer game and he had a great time. I stayed home with the girls cuz they were napping.

Sunday: We went to dinner tonight at the Bielozer's house, along with the Pattee's. We had a really fun time. They grilled ribs and it was SO yummy. Then we made s'mores over their fire pit and enjoyed getting to know them better. The weather was gorgeous and it was just a really nice evening.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kenny's B-day

This has been a pretty busy week! First of all, I want to say that I had no idea how much it rained here, and how little the sun shines. I think it's safe to say that Edward and the rest of the Cullen clan would be very happy here. The next twilight movie should be filmed here. Seriously it's kind of depressing, and winter's not even begun. But anyway. We've been trying to not let it keep us in too much, so I bought Ty and Bryn their own little umbrellas so they'll still go outside even as it rains off and on all day every day. They love those umbrellas.
There's a little forest area with a nice path through it in our neighborhood. Last week we went on a family walk and saw some deer in there. We weren't so lucky this time, but it is a fun place to explore. And no, it wasn't actually raining at this time, they just really like those umbrellas. Mostly I just love the way Brynlee says the word "umbrella". I think you can click on the collages to make them bigger. I thought it would save space by not putting up so many pictures.

Tuesday was Ty's first soccer practice, and Young Womens.
Wednesday Madi had her 9 month well check-up. She actually hasn't been in since she was 4 months old because we were in between states during her 6 month time and by the time I found a doctor, they said just hold off since she'll be coming in soon. I am sad I left the papers they gave me so I don't remember all the exact stats. But I do know that she is 26 pounds! No wonder my arms are falling off when I hold her. She's way off the charts for weight, but she's also between 90-100 % (I can't remember exactly) for height and head circ. so basically she's just a big girl. In the afternoon we went to one of the young women's volleyball games. That night I got to go to the Collis' house again to sit in on another missionary discussion. They are adopting a girl named Brandy, and she's one of my mia maids so it'll be very exciting if she joins the church. She's a real sweet girl, but such a rough background.

Thursday was Kenny's 28th Birthday!!! My friend Amy had her baby early that morning, so we kept her daughter Natalie for the day. We weren't able to run errands or get much ready, but we still celebrated that night. We went out to Cici's pizza for dinner. The plan was to pick up an ice cream cake from Cold Stone, but once Kenny saw how much they cost, he refused! I was so sad. I always make cakes because I love doing it, but we wanted to try an ice cream cake this year. But instead we went and picked up a Boston Cream Cake and some ice cream. We got him a remote control helicopter for his birthday haha. (He's really just a big kid.) But he and Tyler have a blast flying it together. We watched The Beaver that night after the kids went to bed. We thought it was supposed to be funny, but it was quite a depressing show... about depression. But anyway he's going to get a new suit and some brown shoes for his birthday also, we just need to go shopping. I don't dare pick out things like that for him, he's far too picky. :) I sure am grateful for Kenny and all he does for me and our family. We have gotten even closer over the last few months as I've been sick, and quite an emotional wreck. He helps me out so much and really steps up each week as I am gone a lot more for young womens stuff. He's an amazing father and works really hard. I love him so much.

Friday: Kenny came to the rescue again. He came home early from work so that I could go to a leadership training meeting. Sister Mary Cook from the Young Womens General Presidency came to speak to all the ward presidencies in our stake. Elder Ellis (I think??) from the seventy also came to speak and it was a really great experience. It went from 3-5:30. Then I went and grabbed some dinner, then went back for the fireside from 7-8:30. Sister Cook spoke again, this time to all the YW and their moms. Again, it was really neat to be there. She's an awesome lady, and I feel like I have a lot more clarity and direction with what I need to do. This is indeed a great work to be a part of. I got home a little after 9 and Kenny had taken care of everything again. The kids had a great time and were all fed and sleeping soundly when I got home. I told you, he's a rock star.

Today was Ty's first soccer game! Unfortunately, only 3 teammates showed up, and there were 6 on the other team. So they got creative and did some one-on-one games for a little while, then rotated one player from the other team come over and play on ours. The kids had fun and Tyler is starting to get more aggressive, like he's figuring out the game. It's fun to watch him improve. That place was a big mud bowl and all the kids got muddy. Brynlee, especially had fun playing during the game. Good thing another mom had given me the head's up and so I brought towels.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day and 9 months

I was sad to have Kenny go back to work today. But it was a nice 4-day weekend with him home. On Monday it was chilly and cloudy so we thought it would be a good zoo day. I knew it would be a better experience since this time we brought Kenny (who can actually read those zoo maps!), and the camera, and we rode the tram up the big hill. :) I dressed up the girls in their cute animal print pants and they looked so cute. We had a great time, and probably could've even used jackets--it was chilly! I loved it so much I cracked open our windows at home and made chicken noodle soup for dinner. I'm so excited it's fall.

We brought a lunch and enjoyed eating by the lake with flamingos, swans, and ducks. We really tried to get a cute picture of the 3 kids, but this is as good as we got.

Madison turned 9 months old yesterday!! She is so much fun and even though she's still a really good baby, she has been showing more of a feisty personality lately. She crawls really quickly now all over the house and stands up to things really fast too. I was worried that because she's so heavy that it might slow her down developmentally, but it hasn't. She is really strong. If she sees the bathroom door open, she speed crawls over to it and heads straight for the bathtub. Taking a bath is her favorite thing to do, but Ty and Bryn get annoyed quickly with her excessive splashing. She jibber jabbers and spits her food and all those other things 9 month old babies do. She keeps us laughing all the time and we all still ooh and aah over her. She has beautiful eyes with long eyelashes and her brown hair is filling in nicely. You are guaranteed a laugh every time you wipe her bum when changing a diaper. She is pretty ticklish and thinks it's so funny to have her bum changed. She has discovered the greatness of big people food and would MUCH rather eat off of our plates then a jar of baby food. I don't blame her. We love our mads to pieces!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Train and stuff

Hello again! It's been a little while. Things are going pretty well here. I think I'm pulling out of the worst part of pregnancy for me, so it's nice to be feeling mostly normal again. I'm sure my family is more than grateful also. I'm on some pill for hypothyroidism, which they've never told me I had before during pregnancy, so I find it odd. But whether it's the medicine or just me getting over the first trimester, I feel more and more like my old self each day, just with 10 extra fat pounds. But we won't go there, it really doesn't help with the whole depression thing.
So what have we been up to the last 2 weeks...?? I guess same ol' stuff. I took the kids to the zoo last week and that was fun. I figured out the free tram thing at the very end, so next trip will hopefully be much more successful, and I'll come home much less sore. For some reason they built their zoo on like the biggest hill Ohio has, and put the sharks and other cool animals at the very top, like 59 miles away. I was pushing a double stroller...anyway. Next time we'll know better, and we won't go on Senior Safari day ever again. Hundreds of oooold people in the way never helps a zoo experience.
We gave talks in church last week on emergency preparedness and I suppose it went well. Nobody boo'd us off the stand, so it's good to have that over with. The kids were less than pleasing, but that's most Sundays so what can I say.
I really can't remember what else we've been doing, but I do remember this weekend, plus a couple random pictures so I'll just get to that.

Brynlee is ALWAYS carrying around several toys/animals/things around that she finds around the house. Usually it's lots of small ones. But when she gets all her dolls and stuffed animals involved, she has to bust out the stroller. Then she pushes everything around with her, wherever she goes. It's hilarious. This particular morning she wanted to share in the joy of all her "stuff" with Madi. So after I finished feeding Mads her breakfast, Bryn piles up all her toys on her tray haha. Madi was very pleased.

Kenny had Friday off this last week and I love his days off. We went swimming for what I'm sure will be the last time this year. It hasn't been great swimming weather here lately, just like in the low 80's or high 70's so we haven't been going much. But all of the sudden it was in the 90's, so we went to the pool and recorded the kids and the progress they've made in swimming. Brynlee is really not that much better skill wise, but she still has no idea what to be afraid of so she just jumps in all the time and kicks her little feet till she gets to you, or till you pull her out of the water. You have to watch her carefully. But Tyler does awesome and I'm so proud of how far he's come. Kenny grilled us some hot dogs and corn on the cob for dinner and it was delish. I'd never grilled corn on the cob, but I loved it.

Saturday was great. Tyler has been praying to go on a train ride for a couple weeks now (I think he thinks prayers are more like wish lists...we're working on that.) But anyway we thought we'd make one of his little prayers come true so we went to the train station and only Kenny and I had to buy a ticket cuz kids under 6 are free! We rode the train into downtown Cleveland to see where daddy works and walk around a bit.

I'd say the train ride was great! They had fun watching out the window and looking at all the scary people that ride trains. Seriously I'll never do that by myself without fearing for my life. When we were standing by the tracks waiting for the train, a couple other trains would pass by and Brynlee was terrified! Thankfully Kenny was already holding her, because she was shaking and making the saddest face ever. It was a little loud and windy for her, but inside the train was fine.

This is daddy's cubicle he works in. He's part of a great big "cube farm" :).
And below is Tyler pretending to do "daddy's work". I remember going to see my dad's offices and I always thought it was so cool.

Below is the building he works in, called Tower City Center. It's a really nice building, with a big gallery mall and stuff. We ate lunch in the food court where he usually eats and just got a little taste of where he is every day.

Behind is some cool soldiers and sailors monument. Poor Madi is passed out in Kenny's arms. She was so so tired.

On the way back home we were sitting backwards...ty couldn't get over it haha.

We got home and I finished making my fancy chocolate cream cake (from the lion house cookbook--go make it!!) because I have been craving chocolate cake with chocolate frosting for days now! We also made some guacomole and mac and cheese for the kids, then went over to Deron and Kaitlyn Hook's house (friends from the ward) to watch the BYU game!! There were a few other families there and we ate yummy cafe rio pork salad and enjoyed a fantastic game! Go cougs!! And yes, we did bring the cake to share, although today I'm halfway regretting that decision, because I want some more! :) It was fun to get to know some other couples better, we really love this ward and the great people in it.