Thursday, April 29, 2010

Are You Living Your Dream?

For as long as I can remember growing up, I always had a dream that I would meet a certain kind of guy, marry him, have a couple of his kids, and stay with him for the rest of my life. Maybe that wish came from a book I read (perhaps many books,) or from having divorced parents, being raised by a single working mother, and longing to give my kids the kind of upbringing I never had but always wanted. (To quote one of my good friends, "Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to live down.") Or maybe this is just the wish of every young girl, and I was no exception. Whatever the reason, I've always held onto that dream.

As I was walking out on the back patio tonight with Rachel on my shoulder, the other kids being tucked in bed, I looked up at the stars and realized (with the perspective that only comes from gazing into the universe,) 'I am living my dream.' That's not to imply that I've reached happily-ever-after, or that I do not succumb daily to the pressures of being a mother of young children and a homemaker, but in the grand scheme of things, this is it. The life I've always wanted, staring me in the face. It was an odd epiphany, but it gave me an overwhelming sense of gratitude nonetheless.

There have been a few modifications made along the way. For example, I never saw myself being a stay-at-home mommy. I thought I'd be a career mommy, but have since realized I needed to choose one over the other. In addition, I have a couple more kids than I ever saw myself with, but consider them to be added blessings. Namely, I don't think I ever knew it would be this much work.

My point being, I think I knew my path in life long before I even realized I was on it. Do you feel the same way? What were your goals and ambitions as a child, and are you reaching them? How many of you are living your dream?

Monday, April 26, 2010

End of the Day

I am regretful that it usually isn't until the end of the day that I am able to slow down and count my blessings, for they are many. Every night I promise that I will slow down, tomorrow will be different, I will not put doing the dishes before spending time with my kids... then I wake up and seem to fall into the same trap. This is something I have been struggling with for ten years, and I don't know how to make life less busy. I know that this is probably the best time of my life, and I don't want to rush it away. I always say that the day I have a clean house is the day that my kids will be gone, and I certainly don't want to rush that. As I peer in on all five of my children sleeping in their beds (or in Rachel's case, my bed,) it hits me that they are the reason why I am here. They are why I do what I do every day. They are what keep me busy, and they are worth it. So tomorrow I will slow down. I will sit down and read a book with the kids after dinner instead of doing the dishes. I will sing the extra lullaby song to Kaitlyn at bedtime. I will sit and watch my boys play with their boats in the bathtub instead of leaving them alone to go fold laundry. And when Rachel cries, I will be the one to take her outside to swing in the hammock. And if it is that I am able to only accomplish one of these things, then I will feel satisfied at the end of the day.

I hope my child looks back on today
and remembers a Mum who had time to play
There will be years for cleaning and cooking
But children grow up when we are not looking
Cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
'Cause babies grow fast, we learn to our sorrow
So settle down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
I'm cuddling my baby, and babies don't keep.
-author unknown

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Made Me Smile

Besides the great talks and lessons that were given, Kaitlyn gave me more reason to smile in church today. She really loves to sing, and during the sacrament hymn I noticed that her lips were moving as if she were singing along. However, upon closer inspection I realized that she was singing her ABC's to the tune of the hymn.

Later on in the program, she randomly exclaimed that she loved Jesus. I figured they must have had a lesson on the Savior in nursery, so I responded by telling her that Jesus loves her too. She then persisted, trying to get my attention as if I weren't understanding,"I love Jesus! See, two Jesus's!" while smiling and pointing first up at the ceiling, then in the direction of the pulpit. I followed her finger to see that she was pointing at our ward chorister, Brother Hoffman. "See, Jesus! One (up at the ceiling,) two!" (towards Brother Hoffman.) What do you make of that one?

Friends

We had some friends over to play last week. The girls insisted on climbing up on the counter to help me make smoothies. Here's Lucy when I asked her to tell me what was in her cup.
We just hung this hammock in our backyard, and the kids loooove it. There is always competition for it (including between Forrest and I!) I'd forgotten how soothing hammocks can be.
This boy always has a smile on his face. We love him!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Umm, Wake Up, Please...?

Not that I should be complaining about my child sleeping for longer stretches, but here goes. Rachel has been sleeping since 6:30. It is now almost 10:30, and a very uncomfortable mommy is about to go to bed. I just have one favor to ask... Rachel will you please wake up for a night cap? Our supply-and-demand schedule is a little out of sync today and Mommy feels like she is going to explode. All I know is there is going to be some feasting going on later in the evening. Wake up, wake up, wake up...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

All Smiles

Rachel has been working her smile lately. Last night when she woke up for a diaper change, she flashed me a big 'ol grin to get my attention, then started cooing away. She's figuring out how to reel us in with that adorable grin.

Here she is trying it out on Kaitlyn. She was more than thrilled that Kaitlyn had climbed up on the bed to afford her some company. (Mom was busy folding laundry at the foot of the bed which wasn't nearly as entertaining.)

I love the early stages of communication. It is such a groundwork for times to come.

When my babies are at this age, I smile until my face hurts. I just can't resist coaxing out their budding personalities. I can already tell Rachel is going to be every bit as sweet as her sisters.

Made Me Laugh

Conversation at the dinner table tonight:

Noah: "Napkins are for going in your lap." (unfolds napkin and begins to place in his lap.)

Me: "Well, yes, that is good etiquitte if you are eating in a restaurant."

Noah: (looking perplexed, removes napkin from his lap and places it back on the table) "Nevermind, I don't want it in my etiquette."

Where do they come up with this stuff?? All I know is they keep me laughing.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

I have been really good about not complaining about the rain all year, but now I am feeling like I am ready for it to go away. We've had too many days of sunny and 70 for this! I'm ready to show off my pedicure, so go away rain!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Weekend Precursor

Last night was our ward's annual talent show. Ashlee played Pachelbel's Canon (which somehow got deleted from the memory card) and the boys mustered up the courage to show off some of their tricks. Unfortunately we had to sneak out early and didn't get to see the rest of the show, because...


video

Date Night was calling us! This movie was hilarious once you get past the crude humor. It had us laughing throughout. Tina Fey is such a crackup.
And, it's official. I am registered for the Folsom's Run with Nature 5k run on Saturday May 15th. I have been training on my treadmill for a little over a week now and will take to the streets next week (I finally found a running buddy!) Wish me luck.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Quotable

Forrest and I have a unique approach to explaining the subject of mating bugs and animals to our youngest children. Our technique came back around and gave me a good laugh today when, as Noah was walking up the front steps to the house, he paused and, looking down at two bugs on the ground, remarked with the utmost innocence that could only come from a child, "Look, a bug is giving his friend a piggy back ride!"

On the subject of my kids saying some quotable things, last night I was having a rough time with the kids, so I told them all to stay inside so Mom could step outside for a breather. When I came back in, Ashlee told me, "Mom, no matter how you act sometimes, it doesn't take away from how great I think you are." Ash, I love you honey.

Pointers... Anyone?

Any pointers on keeping cloth diapers from leaking??

I am really trying to stay committed to this cloth diapering idea, but not if every diaper change is going to mean an outfit change as well.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In Love

I am A-D-D-I-C-T-E-D to this little girl. I love her smell- the only way I know how to describe it is intoxicating. I love brushing my lips and cheeks against her soft fuzzy head. I love coming to bed at night and hearing her little sleep-breathing. I love the little grunting noises she makes when she wakes up to nurse. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her!All dressed this morning. This is a new outfit from Aunt Vera, and a hand-crocheted headband from Aunt Roxanne. The colors go very well together. I love pink and chocolate for little girls.
Her studying look...
Rachel, Mommy LOVES you!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cloth Diapering for a Day

I was given a supply of Fuzzi Bunz cloth diapers to try out on Rachel. I first became interested in the notion of cloth diapering when Noah was a baby, but never made it a reality. Then I decided I would try with Kaitlyn, but, well, now she's almost 2 1/2 and, you get the picture. So I am thankful that my friend recognized the need and gave me the boost that I needed.So far, so good. She did have a pretty bad leak this morning, but I'm hoping that was a one-time deal and won't happen again. I think it was either her position or that the diaper was not on tight enough. I figure this is a learn-as-you-go process. My one issue is that being a neat person, I can not stand the thought of letting the diapers sit in a pail until laundry day, so I have been putting them in the bathroom sink to soak. It is against my instincts to let soiled laundry sit. All of that aside, she just looks so stinkin' cute in them!
Noah still wears a night time diaper and Kaitlyn is not quite potty trained (mostly due to negligence on my part,) so essentially I have three kids in diapers, and probably one more in the future. Needless to say, switching to cloth would save me big $$$. Can you think of any reason why I shouldn't?

Ashlee's Crochet

As I mentioned earlier, during my sister's visit, Ashlee and her friend received a lesson on crochet. The objective was for them to learn how to make hats like my sister's (hers are so adorable, check them out here if you haven't already) so they started on a small scale by making Barbie hats. Here's Ashlee's:And here's what she stayed up late crocheting in her bedroom last night:

She is now inspired to make headbands for all of the girls in her dance class. She came prepared with a notepad and tape measure to today's class to jot down her friends' measurements. I'd say she's got the bug! Thanks Aunt Roxanne.

Strawberry Shortcake

This was our dessert Sunday night:
Ashlee requested it, and I was more than happy to oblige. Although the strawberries were not quite as sweet as they'll be in the summer (we like to buy them from the roadside stands) this fruity dessert was a nice change from all the chocolate. (In fact, I wonder if some days my body doesn't produce chocolate milk for Rachel.) Yummy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Six Weeks

I can't believe we have made it through the first six weeks. In commemoration, I pulled out the first toy. This is a little froggy and butterfly contraption that the babies lay under, and when they kick it with their feet (she's not there yet) or when a button is pushed on the front, it plays music and lights up. It was a baby shower gift with Jacob, and has since gone through three of my babies. They love it. It generated a smile from Rachel within minutes this morning.

Yesterday I had my last visit with the midwives, which is always a bittersweet time for me. On the one hand, I know the six week visit signifies that baby and I have made it past the recovery period and are well on our way to big and great things (such as a full night's sleep.) On the other hand, it's always hard for me to bid the midwives farewell and close this chapter of my life. It is such a privilege to be in their care, and I know I will miss that. Those ladies will forever hold a special place in my heart for the role they've played in creating a sacred environment for the births of three of my children.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Visit From Aunt Roxanne

This past week my sister Roxanne flew in from Washington for a visit. She left four of her kiddos behind and only brought her youngest, Reagan, who is 1 1/2. She treated us to pizza, helped me clean my house, took my kids to the zoo for an afternoon, and even taught Ashlee and her friend how to crochet Barbie hats. We were all thankful to have her here.I sent Ashlee to the zoo with my digital camera (it made it home safely thank goodness) and here are some of the animals she captured:

a sleeping red panda
some kind of giant snake (?)
and of course, the beautiful pink flamingos
The kids had a great time and we miss you already Roxanne! The bedtime routine was lonely tonight without you. Can't wait to see you again.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

First Workout

Yesterday was my first run on the treadmill. I was almost giddy lacing up my shoes. The timing was perfect: Rachel and Kaitlyn were sleeping, Ashlee was gone at piano lessons, and both of the boys were entertained. I was not going to waste this golden moment. Alongside pregnancy and childbirth, running is another one of my passions, and I always look forward to getting back to it after having a baby. Although I did do a little running during my pregnancy, it was not with the same vigor and energy I am able to enjoy postpartum. During a period of seemingly endless diaper changes, feedings, cleaning, and mommy calls, running is my gateway to freedom. Nothing surpasses the feeling I get from a good run. For me, physical health is vital to my spiritual and emotional well-being, and when my body is in good shape, it carries over into every other aspect of my life. While my ideal is to be able to take to the neighborhood for a run, I am grateful that Forrest has set up my treadmill in the garage to suffice until then. (And being that it faces a window, I can almost trick myself into thinking that I am outside.) I managed to get in a good 20 minutes, not bad for the first go-around, followed by 5 minutes of core exercises. And the best part is that when I came back inside, the house was just as quiet as I had left it. Victory! My goal is to run 3-4 days a week and eventually make it outside, providing I have someone to watch the kids. I have just over five weeks to train for the 5K, and with a little effort I feel that I can come in with a competitive time. It's a good place to start. Saturday marks the end of my six week postpartum period, and there's not too much I can complain about. Life is good.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

...was a day filled with food, family, and fun.

Hard at work on my masterpiece: the tiramisu layer cake (I substituted hot cocoa for the coffee.) This dessert was a BIG hit.

Topped with a dusting of cocoa powder...


...and just the right amount of chocolate curls.

Who says I can't make a pretty cake?

Ashlee and Dad stealing a moment to dance in the kitchen:

Grandma Cathe accompanying Ashlee on the piano:

We had an egg hunt for the kids. Unfortunately it had to be indoors. The backyard would've been perfect. : (
The miniature pool table provided entertainment for kids of all ages.

Nice form Vera!
Lily is about to be a big sister, and looked so beautiful in her Easter dress.

And this crazy kook, well, maybe not so beautiful... (that's not my husband by the way.)
The dessert menu: red velvet cake with cream cheese icing, a strawberry-kiwi tart, summer peach tart, and my tiramisu layer cake. I almost could've skipped dinner and gone straight to this!
Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Sneak Peek

Being that Easter falls on the same weekend as General Conference this year, I committed to doing as much Easter-prep work as I could today, in hopes of being able to sit down and enjoy at least a little bit of conference tomorrow. Here's what we accomplished:

Eggs are dyed (good job kiddos!)

Shishkabobs prepped:
... and assembled. We have chicken (for the girls,) beef (for the guys) and vegetarian.

Can't wait to throw these on the grill tomorrow. Hopefully it will not be raining on us.

Tomorrow I'll be making vegetable fried rice, homemade bread, and a tiramisu layer cake to complete the meal.

The plastic eggs are all filled and ready for the hunt, and baskets are set out to be discovered first thing in the morning. As for me, I'm off to go join the little angel sleeping in my bed...

Happy Easter!

Cadbury Mini Eggs

Has everyone tried these??!!This is my favorite candy of the moment. I tried them for a first time at a friend's house, and now I'm hooked (thanks, Brittany.) Apparently I'm not the only one who likes them, because I had to drive to three different stores yesterday to find a bag; everyone was sold out! If you haven't tried them yet, do. They're that good.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ashlee's Backbend

video

Ashlee was prompted by her dance instructor to learn how to do a backbend, so she came home and did just that... on her first try, actually. This is her 4th year in dance, and we are very much anticipating this year's recital. Being that she is in two lyrical jazz classes, she'll be in a total of four dances. She progresses so much with each passing year. Way to go Ashlee!

Mini Mom

Ashlee was holding Rachel this afternoon for just a moment so I could make lunch, and she fell right to sleep in her arms. She's got the mother's touch already.

Sleepy girl- it's sooooo hard to stay awake.

Missionary Moment

Click here to get a glimpse into the life of a really cool missionary, Elder Connor Carpenter, from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I just read his post and had a hard time not getting teary-eyed. I have such a connection with the missionaries of the church, and seeing pictures such as the one posted on his blog brings back special, heartfelt memories of my own baptism. I can't believe it's been almost six years. Keep up the good work Elder Carpenter! We're rootin' for ya.

By the way, my kids had a great time celebrating you and your brother's birthday with your family. And the cake was as delicious as it looks!