Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

We look forward to this every year. It's so fun to be there and wander the pumpkins and let the kids enjoy the rides ... but for me, more importantly, it marks the beginning of Fall out here... and the possibility of cooler weather and ALL that that means.

Oh how I love cooler weather, and sweaters, and cold noses, and sou
p and crusty bread, and homemade goodies (not that the hot weather has stopped me... let's be honest) and holiday candles... and being able to go to the PARK.

I am SO excited for the next 6 months.

Here are some more pictures of our lovely evening at Live Oak with the Homecs.

And I couldn't help it. I did a search for pumpkin patch on my blog and realized I had pictures from every year since 2006 and it was WAY too fun to watch our family (and everything else about us) evolve and change over the years.

2008 wasn't our best year.

And for the record, 2010 I had Finn growing HUGE in my belly... (Sophia's hiding my excuse for everything else in that one.) Although I wish she was hiding my neon white hair instead. Can white be neon? I don't remember that. Weird.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Patch starter...

Lots more pictures to come. But look at this boy. Look at that face, and those eyes, and that big round head. Nothing feels better than snuggling with that.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A new baby

I think the yawn is almost as important to capture as the first smiles. So perfectly baby. More of Van on the other blog.

I know I'm late to the obsession.... but ... umm... pinterest? I GET it now. Here's mine in case you want to be pinning buddies and share pretty pictures. It's like a visual feast... inspiration in whatever area you need! Too addicting.. and too likely to make me try lots of new cookie recipes. But maybe all of the inspirational images of insanely ripped and toned women will counteract the cookies and it will aaaaalllll work itself out...

If not, I'll just search for some silly quote on the dilemma that's sure to make me feel validated and all better.

No but really. And such a fun way to organize all the photos that were piling up in my hard-drive under home-decor inspiration that I could never trace back to the original source and then I was all-worried I'd have people mad if I posted them without the whole "via" thing.

Ahhh... and now it's all done for me with a simple little pin. Loving it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

About A Boy

You're getting big. You're getting busy.

You've learned to pull every book off of the shelf and brace yourself for the blow if it knocks you on the way down. You don't even cry. And these are my hardback. The ones just for show that we don't read. (We're like that.)

You try and climb the stairs and once so far, you've fallen back and bonked your head on the tile. I was scared. You forgot about it once you had your binky. Still, we're being more careful.(Yes, that was for anyone who's worried I'm negligent.)

I've found you playing with the plunger (eeeewwww) , and sifting through garbage, and trying to dip your hands in the toilet. I've found you eating hair-balls (I know I should clean my floors more often), toilet paper (clean), polly-pockets (and all other toys under the sun), rubber bands, and that nice gray fur that builds up on the bottom of the broom. (or is that just my gross broom because of my gross floors?)

Oh and dead crickets. I've found TWO dead crickets INSIDE your mouth on a routine mouth-sweep. Your mouth. (I know, I know.... floors... but these things are everwhere!)

I swear I'm a good mom. But this time around I've got two miniature people running around leaving bathroom doors open, and toilet lids up, and small toys on the floor. They tempt you with their sounds of joy and laughter so that you're dying to follow their lead and get upstairs, outside... wherever they are. And they.... keep me too busy to clean my floors. ?? (it was worth a try.)

Or maybe it's just what they say. You are ALL boy. Let's chalk it up to that.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Any guesses?

I plan on repainting most of my house. I'm ready for a fresh new palette and I think I've finally got Ross on board (and by on-board I mean he's decided to keep quiet when I talk about it and resist giving me a speech on my fickle ways.)

I want this wall color. I mean what would you call it? Just like an off white right? Any paint geniuses with an opinion? My research is making me think I might want Benjamin Moore's Ivory white, or white linen, or cloud white.... but I can tell this is going to be an ulcer-causing decision for me. It's been happening in my head for like a year now. I really want it to be DONE happening by the end of this one.

Here are a couple of other's I like...
This one is Linen White.... obviously you never really know from a monitor though...

This last one is more gray of course...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'm a Mormon

And a Christian.

The other day, Ross and I listened to Jeffress say over and over again that we were members of a cult and could not be considered Christian. Yesterday I stumbled over to Sheena's blog, The Little Red House. And read the most beautiful post where she shared her testimony of Jesus Christ as a Latter Day Saint. I was immediately inspired to follow suit, and share my testimony on my blog. Any little attempt to clear things up for some, or even one.

But then I starting sifting through her comments and saw how even while she shared such a tender testimony of HER relationship with the savior, and explained her own beliefs, on her own blog, people still wandered over to tell her she was wrong. I was shocked. So then I decided I'd better keep my little blog quiet. I've experienced that blog debate before, and it's never fun.

BUUUUTTTT....... then I slept on it, read some more and thought maybe I actually learned something from all of her comments and felt better because of it, and maybe I could pass that along.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints and I have a testimony of Jesus Christ.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and in that sense, my elder brother.
I believe that He lived on the earth and performed miracles.
I believe He is loving, kind, merciful, and perfect. I have my very own, and very personal relationship with Him and am constantly striving to strengthen that relationship.

I believe that He atoned for my sins and suffered and died on the cross so that I could be forgiven for my weaknesses and have the chance to return to live with my Heavenly Father.
I believe that it is ONLY through his mercy and grace that anyone can be saved.
I believe he is literally our Redeemer, our Savior, and our Lord.

We teach our children of Him. We pray in His name. We worship Him. We learn of him and try our best to follow his example in our lives. We send our sons and daughters all over the world to spread His gospel and share His teachings.

I believe the Bible to be the word of God, as long as it is translated correctly. I also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
I believe it is another testament of Jesus Christ written by prophets in Ancient America. Just as the bible is written by and about the people in the land of Israel and surrounding areas, the Book of Mormon contains the history and God’s dealings with the people who lived in the Americas between approximately 600 BC and 400 AD.

After reading through Sheena's comments, I actually understand the words of Jeffress and feelings of a lot of orthodox Christians better. Clearly there are differences in our faiths. They are right about that. I don't feel as offended as I was when I first heard his words. Luckily, our goal is not to have our understanding of Christ be identical to that of Christian orthodoxy. But I certainly do not believe that makes us un-Christian. I realize now, some people do.

(Read THIS article in the Washington Post about that. It's great.)

But hopefully with so many testimonies being shared, and so much being written about our faith, people will realize that “we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).

And I guess if they don't, we'll be ok. :)

Guess Who?

Every once in a while we pick something up that I didn't even know I was nostalgic for. And then it's in our home and I feel like we're one step closer to a real, warm, cozy, grown up home. Apparently I have fond memories of "Guess Who?" as a kid. I realize it's just a silly game. I just love how we get to do everything over again as parents.

As for strategy. I try and teach them to start with the broad things to eliminate more characters. "Is your person a boy?" "Is your person blonde?" But they prefer to make it last. They start with "Is yours the girl in the green hat?" "Is yours sticking out his tongue?" Slow and steady. One by one. I should have known since they still refuse to do the edges of the puzzle first. I don't know why I even bother.

Sunday, October 09, 2011


I read this quote a while back on my sister, Lacy's blog. It's not short or sweet or catchy. It wouldn't look that good painted on wood or framed in an etsy shop. It's one you really have to read. And then read again when your three-year-old is full of crazy and your 9-month old is waking up at night and you need reminding that it's THROUGH the sacrifice that you really find happiness. I guess it just really resonated with me. I believe it so whole-heartedly. And it scares me that the world sends such a different message.

“The family by its very nature is an institution based upon righteous self-denial and sacrifice. It is not an individualistic or self-centered organization, but a highly cooperative and other-centered institution. Successful families require that men and women make substantial and long-term sacrifices of their time, money, and personal fulfillment in order to dedicate their efforts to rearing the next generation. Selfishness in any form or degree weakens the bonds that hold families together. The rise of selfishness in our society is the fundamental underlying trend that undermines families and makes successful marriages so difficult. Many today find it irrational to devote so much time and energy to the welfare of the next generation, but if this commitment is not deeply rooted in society, civilization will decline and perish, while children grow up in a moral wasteland, confused, unguided, and unloved.

“Moreover, the sacrifices that fathers and mothers make for their children ultimately will result in the greatest possible happiness for those making the sacrifices. In all of human experience, there are no joys more tender, no love more sweet, no fulfillment higher than that found in the family. Those who honor the calling of righteous parenthood will find their souls refined, their hearts purified, and their minds enlightened by the most important lessons of life. They will rise to far greater heights of happiness than those who engage in the narrow and ultimately unsatisfying pursuit of self.”

Bruce D. Porter, "Defending the family in a troubled world",
The Ensign, June 2011.

(I want to be sure and express my compassion and understanding: I know that not everyone is able to have a family and I have witnessed some amazing women give so much of themselves and sacrifice for the people around them. This quote meant a lot to ME because I have three small children.)

Thursday, October 06, 2011

She's really SIX

Her real birthday was a little spoiled by the incident. The dun dun dun. So we saved the party for a few weeks later. She wanted a pirate party. I wanted a swim party so that I wouldn't have to come up with games. That part stresses me out and the summer had just been so busy and I was REALLY hoping to keep it simple. My friend, Lizzie has the most amazing house with a beautiful big pool that she was so kind to offer up for it... so we did a pirate pool party.

Last year, I was so concerned with getting some cute birthday party photos that I spent way too much time making things picturesque. Pretty sure Sophia didn't care that the bubbles were labeled or the cupcake toppers were matted. So I decided to take it easy this time.

I let her pick the friend-list and she kept it nice and small. We did pizza, fruit, pirate's booty, and cupcakes. Some of her best friends were there. We swam, Ross led them in a "diving" contest, and they went on a treasure hunt and found an awesome treasure box from Captain Blackbeard (he's a reoccurring story for our kids and might rank up there with Santa.)

It was perfect. Everyone had fun and was sufficiently sugar-crazed by the end. And I could sit back and witness it all. And I still can't believe she's 6.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


One of the reasons first grade has been tough for me, is that Sophia has not been nearly as... interested in reading and writing as I'd hoped. Kindergarten was wonderful, but I did end the year knowing I planned on making up some time over the summer. We tried. And tried and tried. But it just wasn't going the way I'd always pictured it going. My creative attempts and patient voice didn't help, Sophia had decided that school was hard and homework was not fun and while she loves us to read to her, any attempts at getting her to read (even just the words she knows) usually ended badly. She would get so frustrated so quickly.

Her kindergarten teacher had told me once that Sophia's biggest challenge is that she's so hard on herself. So if she struggles with something, she just wants to write it off. She doesn't want to do it and fail. We've really worked on this -- and obviously we've taught her time and time again that everybody makes mistakes... that that's all part of learning and that's why we practice ... yada yada. But she would still get exhausted and frustrated after pointing out a few of her sight words in a book I was reading. I was feeling so discouraged. I want reading and learning to be a fun, positive thing, but she would fight me so much when I tried to work with her on it. Homework time became this combination of me being sugary sweet and dangling all sorts of rewards, her not giving in, me getting sterner, her storming off in frustration, me sneaking off for a mom--time-out.... it was a downward spiral. Too often, we were both grumpy and exhausted by the end.

I felt lost-- "WHAT am I supposed to do? I don't want to push her too much and make reading and learning a negative thing. But I don't want to let her get behind just because she doesn't 'want' to do it. At what point do you teach them--- yeah, sometimes school sucks, but you HAVE to do it if you want to be a smart grown-up. ?" You know?

This is one of the reasons I was so stressed when she didn't get the teacher I'd hoped for. I knew we might have some challenges this year, and I figured the least I could do was get her set up in the best possible situation with a teacher that could 'make learning fun.' Because clearly, I'd failed.

My point in writing this post was positive. I think we may have, quite possibly, maybe just turned a corner. (!!!) I'm still knocking on wood.

But the other day, she grabbed Hop on Pop, a simple Dr. Seuss book perfect for brand new readers. One I've tried to get her interested in reading since kinder. She said, "I want to read this mom." And she read it all. Of course I knew she could. But now SHE knows she can. She was so excited that she could read a whole book... she kept saying these amazing things I've always wanted to hear like:

"I love reading mom"
"I want to read this book again and again and again mom"
" I want to read forever and ever mom... reading is SOO much fun."

Oh my.

Pinch me.

Ever since, she's been carrying it around, reading it here and there. She came in our room the next morning and started reading it aloud at 6am. Usually we'd make them be quiet--- this time we didn't.

She's picking up other books and trying them out, realizing how many words she knows, and how many she can figure out. And always, I can see it on her face, the astonishment and pride that she just strung together a whole story.

I feel like it's changed her whole attitude. I'm still knocking on wood... but it's soooo much better. And I feel like we may have just turned a really big corner. This girl makes me so proud.

Sunday, October 02, 2011