Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Abby's Arm, Again!

Back in February, Abby broke her right arm on the monkey bars.  It was a nasty break that left her in 4 different casts until the beginning of June.  We were glad to be over and done with that, especially since Summer was coming.  And casts get quite stinky and uncomfortable during the hot AZ summers.

I should have knocked on wood.  In late October at Taylor's soccer, Abby and her cousin were kicking around during half time.  She tripped and broke her arm.  I heard her cousin running across the soccer field, screaming "Aunt Becca. . . Aunt Becca. . . Abby broke her arm again".  And I panicked, especially when I saw Abby holding her arm together with her sweatshirt and screaming.  The same arm.  The same two bones, just 3 inches lower towards her wrist.  The same dramatic trip to the ER, the same closed operation, IV's, morphine. . .

This time though, as opposed to February, Abby's veins didn't collapse due to shock, and the ER doctors were able to get an IV in and working within about 20 minutes of the accident.  Then morphine came 5 minutes later, and she could finally calm down a bit.  Last time, it took over an hour and 6 pokes of the needle to find a vein that worked.

She had an orange cast for the first month to honor her soccer team, "Orange Crush".  She couldn't play but instead because the team's biggest cheer leader and the coaches "assistant".

Then she switched to a red cast, in honor of Christmas.  The cast comes off in mid January, then a brace for a month.

This picture is a little graphic and still makes my stomach turn every time I see it. . . but for history sake. . .

 Kind of weird. Needless to say, she's popping calcium supplements daily now.  And I'm knocking on wood that it doesn't happen again.

One thing I don't want to forget-- the main thing Abby screamed about on our way to the ER was her desperate need for her father to give her a priesthood blessing.  Unfortunately, John was about 40 minutes away at a meeting for work.  But Abby's uncle and another worthy priesthood holder in our church came quickly and administered to her.  Abby felt the strength of that experience and later shared with me her testimony of the power of the Priesthood, the Lord's power here on earth today.  I couldn't be more grateful.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

I love this time of year, even with all the hustle and bustle.  I love it because it always refocuses me on the importance of the Savior in my life, and of the love of family.  

In November, when the Thanksgiving Holiday comes, I tend to count my blessings and recognize all that is good and wonderful in my life. Through this process, my heart becomes a little more tender, a little softer.  Then December comes.  And if I allow myself to look past the commercialization and find quiet time to contemplate and "feel", then comes the quiet, deep warmth of the love of God into my prepared heart.

I am confident that everything good in my life has come from my Savior.  Because I try to follow in His example, I am more and more able to feel of His love for me.  And that brings such peace and joy. 

Now, with Christmas and December coming towards a close, the goal is to remember these peaceful feelings all throughout the coming year.

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Learning to Write

Andersen has enjoyed preschool this past semester.  I've been impressed with how much he focuses on following directions, tries to color in the lines, hold his pencil correctly, and memorize his phonograms.  He loves to learn, and I love that he loves it.   With kindergarten this coming year, he's been really working on writing his name.  Whiteboards make it fun to practice.  Last week, he came to me sooooo super proud of himself because he had remembered every letter and had written his name all by himself, with NO help.

Almost perfect!  He just forgot the letter "s". 

I LOVE this age, and I LOVE this left-handed boy.  He is such a smiley ball of energy in my life.

Friday, November 16, 2012

X-Country Season comes to a Close

Mason just finished his first season of cross country for junior high.  I loved watching his meets, as it took me back to those days when I was in jr. high or high school and was involved in track and cross country.  I felt like we had something in common, something that connected me to my Mason.  I could identify with the little butterflies that would build up in his tummy on the drive to the race.  Or the feeling of energy and excitement that comes towards the end of a race where parents are on the side lines, cheering for each runner.  I don't think I watched one of his races without getting all teary eyed and emotional as I cheered him on.  Mason has a pretty high pain tolerance and a strong inner drive that gets him to the finish line.  Running is much more mental than physical, I think.

Lining up for a meet with lots and lots of other boys, waiting for the gun shot.

Mason has a great kick--he can really turn up the speed towards the end of his race.  At most races, he passed a lot of boys the last 400 yards.  Here he comes, picking up on the speed.

What I loved most about Mason doing cross country was that it was HIS sport.  Not his older brothers, not his younger sisters.  Just his.  And he watched himself get stronger, faster, and more flexible over the course of the season.  His endurance improved, and his self confidence definitely improved.   A few phrase that is said frequently in our home is, "Let's race, Mase!"

Sweet Cakes

Every day, John and I seem to fall deeper and deeper in love with our little two-year-old.  She is definitely developing quite the personality, a little bit of sassafras, and her own ideas.  Just so I don't ever forget how darling she is and how much I absolutely love this stage. . .

She doesn't want help. And she doesn't need help either.  She can get those goggles "all by myselths". 
We got to watch my nephew for a few days last month.  At first, it bothered Kate that her little cousin was using her booster seat. . . until she figured out that babies need to be fed.  And she was a big girl, not a baby.  So she insisted on feeding her little cousin for every meal.  Baby feeding baby = disaster.

Kate has fallen asleep in the most awkward positions and place.  One leg up, one leg down. . .
  Or fast asleep on the bottom stair.  It takes too much effort to climb those stairs anyways.

Last week I asked Andersen to race upstairs and get dressed before preschool started.  Kate disappeared as well.  After I got Andersen all ready and out the door, I realized that I hadn't seen Kate in a while.  She came down the stairs moments later with a HUGE grin on her face and said "Mom, I dot dressed all by myselths!".  From head to toe.  The shirt was backwards, the shoes were mismatched with a right shoe on the left foot and a left shoe on the right foot. 

I had a long list of earands to run that day and got some crazy looks from others towards Kate's choice of clothes.  I also got a few smiles from other women and comments like, "You're such a good mommy".  Either way, I thought Kate was just darling!  I just wish I could get away with dressing like that the way she does.

"Oh no, Kate.  . . . what are you doing?  You're making a mess".  Her response:  "No I not, I am doing lotion".  Lots and lots of lotion, i.e. diaper ointment and Vaseline.  I gave her three baths that day and her hair still looked like a grease pit.  But her skin was nice and soft!

 Kate is quite protective of her big brother, and vice versa.  I love to watch them interact during the day while the older kids are gone at school; I love watching Kate run to Andersen asking "OK Andersen?" when he falls off his bike, or asking for two fruit snacks--"one for Andersen".  They are great buddies!

Not sure what inspired this one.  But once she got in there, she was really stuck and couldn't figure out how to get out.  But hey, the big bag of dried cranberries was at her fingertips.  She just kept taking little bites, then calling out for help, then another few bites, etc. . . The pantry isn't such a bad place to hang out, right?

 It kind of makes me sad to think that I'm probably towards the tail end of enjoying this two-year-old stage.  I love the dimples in the wrists and knuckles, I love the soft chubby cheeks, I love the block feet.  I love their determination, their inquisitiveness, their humility, their way of easily forgiving and moving on, their sensitivity to others.  And I love their innocence.

And I love how this little girl frequently comes to me and gives me hugs and says "I luv you mommy".  It just makes all the hard parts of motherhood melt away and helps me focus on what's really important. 

Love you too, Sweet Cakes.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Break at the Cabin

Since the kids' Fall break from school landed on the week right after General Conference, we took our family and another super fun family to the cabin in the White Mountains for the weekend and stayed through midweek of the following.

It was beautiful weather, with the Fall colors just starting to show.  We had a grand time, as always.  This time, the swing sets were built and the zipline was finished.  The family we invited blended well with our own kids, and I'm pretty sure all had a wonderful time.

We enjoyed: fishing, hiking, walking, fort building, zipline, lots and lots of games, reading and relazing, visiting, watching General Conference and eating lots of M&M's (the two always go together), enjoying nature, swinging, watching horses, etc. . .

There's nothing quite like the quiet, relaxing atmosphere at the cabin.  It is one of my favorite places on this earth, and for sure the most beautiful place too.  Being surrounded by natural beauty, it is easy to feel God's love for me.  I love this place!

We had a super fun time.  Here's pictures to prove it.

Until next time. . .

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Another Getaway

 John and I just spent this past weekend AWAY from our schedules, church callings, cell phones and computers, appointments, kids, work, etc. . . We enjoyed 48 hours (Thursday evening through Saturday evening) focusing on each other.  We enjoyed hiking Camelback Mountain, watching a movie, shopping, going on walks, swimming, eating out, relaxing, and just being together.

Here's our view from the top.  Beautiful, except for the nasty "brown cloud" that settled around the Phoenix area.  This picture doesn't do it justice.

One of the things we enjoy doing on our getaways is to discuss "Start, Stop, Continue".  John learned this concept in a Scout Training.  As parents, then again as husband and wife, we talk about one thing that we should start doing, one thing we need to stop doing, and one thing we should continue doing in order to strengthen our family and our marriage.  We share positive criticism, we try to be open and humble in accepting criticism, and we always end up having some great discussions that are uplifting and motivating.

As we pulled up to the house, we both agreed that we didn't want to go inside. We wanted to go back and enjoy more time together, alone. Having uninterrupted time with John is so refreshing, like a breath of fresh air for me.

We're best friends--we laugh together, we enjoy playing games and talking about things.  We understand each other.  Being around him uplifts me and motivates me to be better in all my responsibilities. 

Those responsibilities were calling , and we needed to get back to our family.  Back to the grind of daily living.  Until next time. . .

I am a lucky lady to have him by my side. 

Update on Mason

He didn't win the student council election for Vice President.  His response was, "I knew all the popular kids would win."  But he seemed cool with that, not too flustered.  He admires the girl who won his position. 

I remember loosing my 6th grade student council election as well, for secretary.  It was a big fat bummer, and I felt pretty lousy for a few days afterwards. 

But life goes on, we learn and grow, we forget, and we move on too.  I somehow survived that loss, and I think because of it, I was able to be a little more empathetic towards Mason.

I told him that he was my most favorite, most popular 6th grader in the whole world and that he'd have my vote for sure. 

We've talked to our kids about being a good winner, a bad winner, a good looser, and a bad looser.  Mason's character is definitely shining through as a bad looser.  We're proud of him, even though he's not one of the "popular" kids around school. He's good, he's kind, and he tries to always choose the right.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mason-student council elections

Mason is a good boy.  He's kind, very thoughtful, and really easy-going.   He's not one to draw attention to himself, and usually seems content to sit in the shadows, to listen and not talk, to quietly observe instead of being center of attention. 

Mason also has an older brother, just shy of 15 months older, who is a strong leader, very creative, very bright/smart/inquisitive, loves to share details, loves to talk, talk, talk. . .

So all of Mason's growing-up years, he has been in Taylor's shadow.  I'm not sure if he (or Taylor, for that matter) would agree.  But as parents, John and I have both been a little concerned.  We want Mason to feel comfortable with his own group of friends instead of just tagging along with Taylor's friends.  We want Mason to lead out with his own strengths instead of always watching his older brother do the same.  We want Mason to feel comfortable in his own skin, to enjoy who he is and to feel confident with his abilities.  This has been our focus this past year.

Before school started, we visited with each of the children and helped them set personal goals.  We talked about their weaknesses, their strengths, their accomplishments, and their dreams.  It was a great experience.
In our visit with Mason, he admitted that he wasn't comfortable bringing home his own friends in his own grade; he was more comfortable just hanging out with his brother.  He admitted that meeting new people was hard for him.  He recognized this as a weakness and set a few goals to overcome these uncomfortable feelings, one of which was to run for student council.

And he did it!  He gave his 2-minute speech today in front of all the 3-6th graders.  He ran for Vice president against 8 other students.  We don't know the results yet, but regardless of the outcome, John and I are so proud of him to just have the courage to do it.

 I love that Mason's Sunday pants are a tad too short. . . and what I love even more is that Mason is completely oblivious about it.  Growing like a weed.

We practiced with him about looking out at the audience, talking slowly and loudly and clearly, using hand motions to engage the audience, emphasizing certain words that have deep meaning. . . He did a great job and felt good about his efforts.

Mason wanted to be on the jr. high X-country team this year.  Taylor wanted to be on the jr. high football team.  My first thought was this: in order to simplify our lives and cut down on the number of extra activities, just have the boys decide on one sport to play together.  Either football or x-country.  They can do it together, and we only have one game to attend each week.

But that thought didn't last long.  Mason needs to be doing his own things, involved in his own interests.  And I love that he is LOVING x-country.  Maybe because running has always been one of my favorite hobbies.  It's fun for me to watch him develop his own talents and interests.  And he's pretty fast too!

So with Taylor doing football and Mason doing x-country, that means 6 separate practices each week and 2 football games and 1 race each week. Our schedules are a little fuller, but my boys are developing into their own individuals.

At the same hand, I love that they still have each other.  They still share the same room and stay up late talking about boy stuff, "girl" stuff, and school stuff.  They are each others best friends, and I wouldn't have it any other way.