The musings of ME:
SAH mother of 3 kids, spouse of a doctor-in-residency, caretaker and teacher of random children.


Monday, December 29, 2008

18 weeks on Wednesday - big news!

Over Christmas break we got to go up to the hospital and get a sneak-peek at the baby. Ben's mom is a labor and delivery nurse at St. Francis in Tulsa, so she did an ultrasound for us. The baby is looking healthy and strong and the biggest news is...IT'S A BOY! Yeah! I'm so excited. That is really what we were both hoping for.

Now I have 2 major tasks facing me. First, I have to come up with a whole new boy name. This will not be an easy feat since Ben and I could hardly agree on anything but Jackson. We had discussed Boston James but Ben was always lukewarm on that one, and several family members vetoed it while we were visiting in Tulsa. Now Ben is adamant that we cannot name our child Boston, so back to the drawing board. Right now we are leaning toward Samson Jay (Ben's best friend growing up and a truly awesome person and Jay is Ben's middle name) or Carson Jay. I like both, but can't imagine my child with that name. We really like -on endings in names, so if you can think of any, send them my way. It deosn't have to be spelled -on, we just like the sound with our last name.

The next major feat is getting another nursery ready. The new nursery will be in our guest room and Ben's office will become the office/guest room combo. Jackson's room is done in fire truck/dalmation and I have decided I want to do a pirate/sea theme in the new nursery. All Jackson's shabby-chic black baby furniture can go in there and Jack will get our guest room furniture and a new bunk bed in his room when he turns 2 in August. (I'm due in June and the baby will spend the first few months in our room anyway, so Jack can keep the crib for a few months.) Anyway, I have already moved the changing table dresser in the old guest room and started cleaning out Jack's closet and moving boxed up clothes and baby gear over to the new nursery. Yes, I have the nesting bug right now, but also, practically, this is the best time to get started. Once school starts back up in my house next week, I will have no time except weekends, and I won't get a break until Spring Break. I'll need to spend Spring Break painting, so...gotta get going on this!

With Jackson's nursery, my mom, aunt and grandmother came to help and we sewed all the bedding and matching window treatments, but I don't have that kind of time or the inclination, frankly, so I'm buying bedding and accessories this time. Here are some of the nurseries I am looking at for ideas. Tell me what you like!



P.S. I don't think I will buy any of these, but they give me ideas on what I can do with the room. Whatever I choose has to go with the black furniture because I am not re-painting it all over again. That took forever!! Plus, I am not crazy about the idea of skull and crossbones in the nursery, so I don't know yet how this will all work out. I am also not a pastels kind of person. Whatever I do has to be a little bolder.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Tale of Despereaux


This is my absolute favorite children's book of all time. One year it was on the Battle of the Books list at Rann ES where I used to teach and I read it to my third graders. I fell in love with it. It is SO cute and I love how all the characters' stories come together in the end. After that first year, I would read it every year to my third graders, even though there were new books on the BOB list every year. I can't tell you how excited I was when I heard a plug for it on the radio last weekend. I almost had to pull over I was squealing so loud in my car. Poor Jackson didn't know what was going on! I haven't seen the movie yet, but I will see it and I hope you will all go see it too! But first read the book!! The author is Kate DiCamillo - same chick who wrote Because of Winn-Dixie if you are familiar with that great children's book...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Husband Tagged

1. Where did you meet your husband?
I met Ben the first time when he was teaching the Gospel Principles Sunday School class at church in the Tulsa Singles Branch. I never saw him after that until a month later when Tony Dittmer called me and asked me to come to the Singles Branch Christmas Party at Rusty McLea's house. I came, late, and was talking to Ben and another guy at the party. I was actually first interested in the other guy. At one point in the party I got suddenly inexplicably hot and wanted to go outside to cool off. I invited both of the guys outside with me to continue the conversation, but Jake bowed out and Ben came with me. We walked over and over in the cul-de-sac, and I remember thinking that he kept getting very close to me as we were walking and it freaked me out.

2. How long did you date?
We met in December of 2002, I knew he was the man I'd marry by February 2002, and we got engaged in June 2002 (apparently he wasn't as sure I was) and got married in March 2003. I think that is a total of a year and three months.

3. How long have you been married?
Five years in March.


4. What does he do that surprises you?
He continually surprises me with being a great dad and husband. He really does a lot of things that I always expected would be solely my job. I'm not saying it should be that way, but it is how it was when I was growing up. He bathes Jackson about half the nights of the week. He makes dinner sometimes when I am too tired. He vaccuums occassionally and has even subbed for me with 8 kids under the age of 5 when I was sick. Last night he helped me tear paper for a craft we did in school this morning. I am also surprised with how much his priesthood blesses our lives. I grew up without that, too, and so I sometimes forget to ask for a blessing when I need one or when Jack needs one.

5. What is your favorite feature of his?
I love his blue eyes. I am such a sucker for blue eyes. I also love his goatee and I think he looks goofy without it. I will never let him shave it. Sometimes he gets this mischievous little boy look and he is irresistable to me.


6. What is his best quality?
He is so responsible and hard working. I know that no matter what he will not ever let anything happen to us in any way. I trust him completely, which says a lot after things I have been through in my life. He is a person of high moral character. He is SO smart. I always thought of myself as an intelligent person, but it amazes me how much knowledge he can cram in his brain.

7. Does he have a nick name for you? No, not really. Babe or Baby sometimes, but that's not really a nickname.


8. What is his favorite food? That is hard to say because Ben eats about 5 meals a day, anything and everything. He is a lover of food. I'd say right now, his favorite place to eat is Shogun. I made him take me there when we were dating. He had never been there, and now he loves it.

9. What is his favorite sport?
To play? volleyball probably. To watch? Football. Ben loves all sports, but prefers to play them over watch them. He is very active, and picks up any sport very quickly. It can be annoying how good he is at everything. When we were newly married, we joined an indoor soccer league. I have played soccer all my life and played in college on a full-ride scholarhsip to a Division I school. Ben played a little rec ball when he was 5 or 6. I was eager to finally be better than him at something. Ben was our goalie. The man tends goal like a monkey. Just when you think it is out of his reach, he somehow gets it. Other teams were recruiting him within weeks. I was like, uh, hello? I'm supposed to be the star here. I had to get over myself and just be grateful to play again. hahaha

10.When and where was your first kiss?
Leaning up against my parents' car outside my parents' home. Ben had told me previously that he hadn't kissed a girl since before his mission, and didn't plan on it until he knew she was the one he was going to marry. I took that as a personal challenge. I had a bet with my family that I would get him to kiss me before our fifth date. Our first kiss was on our third date. I went inside bragging to my family that I had gotten him to kiss me. (Did I have a big head or what?) Little did I know, he came in a few seconds behind me because my dad had asked him to take a movie back for us on his way home and he had forgotten the movie. I felt like such a jerk.

11. What is your favorite thing to do as a couple? We love to do active or outdoor things, like the soccer league or camping. We love to go to the lake and water ski. Ben loves to snow ski, but I'm not very good yet. We also love just sitting at home watching movies. We can be reclusive sometimes.

12. Do you have children?
One 15 month old, and one on the way. I'm 16 weeks along.

13. Does he have hidden talents?
He is a great carpenter. He built all my preschool furniture, and a cabin in east Texas where he and my uncle hunt.

14. How old is he?
28 next month


15. Who said I love you first?
I don't really remember. I asked Ben, and he said, "Probably you, and then you probably recanted about 5 times." I was going through some stuff when we first started dating, but I worked through it. I think there wasn't really one moment when it came to me that I loved him. He grew on me. I think I fell in love with him because I respected him so much. I like that kind of love best.

16. His favorite music? classic rock


17. What do you admire most about him?
He is so goal-oriented. He has these little goals that lead into his big goals. He never gives up and he always accomplishes his goals. He is so determined, and he never makes excuses. He expects that from me, too, which makes me a better person. I need a good kick in the pants sometimes.

18. What is his favorite color?
Yeesh, I dunno. I don't think he is too discriminate when it comes to colors. Maybe blue?


19. Will he read this? No, but he'll get annoyed with me that I'll make him listen as I read it to him. But he'll smile and we'll talk about it anyway.

20. Who do you tag? Holly, Kathy, and Katy

Friday, December 12, 2008

15 weeks...not much to tell

I had a doctor's visit on Tuesday, but it was an uneventful appointment, of course. At this point it always is. Good news is the baby seems fine, and heart beat is good. I have only gained 3 lbs (well, since my last visit, anyway.) Dr. V asked me if I had felt any movement yet, and strangely, I was fairly sure I had felt movement on Monday night. I don't think I felt Jackson this early in the pregnancy, but now I know what it feels like and I think I am much more in tune to it (when I am paying attention, which isn't very often).

I have been having a lot more abdominal cramping this time around, I think. Not the bad, scary kind, but the kind that means you are growing. It is mild, but long-lasting, and always seems to hit when I am trying to relax and be comfortable. And you know, I never have had morning sickness really bad. I did throw up once or twice with Jackson, but it went away after the first trimester, and I mostly felt fine, just tired. This pregnancy is even better. Yes, I was tired in the first trimester, but hardly any morning sickness or nausea to speak of at all, except when I needed to eat something. However, my gag reflex is really bad. I don't constantly feel like I am going to throw up, but certain things trigger me to gag. For instance, it is a morning routine now for me to gag when I brush my teeth. I gagged the other day when I was cleaning a spot on the carpet, and today I caught a funny smell of something in the air, and I was gagging. None of these have been productive gags, mind you, but how embarrassing it is to make a sudden, uncontrollable gagging sound!

I am still sort of hanging on to that awkward, is she fat or pregnant stage. I think it depends on what I am wearing. The shirt I was wearing yesterday made me look like I was 5 months pregnant, but today I looked fat or barely showing. I am still in a few pairs of my own jeans. I stopped fitting into my favorite pairs, and got frustrated for a while and tried to wear maternity jeans. Then I got even more frustrated that those kept sliding off me because my belly wasn't big enough yet. So now I am just in my fat jeans, but I anticipate that after Christmas, I'll be back to maternity pants.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I LOVE Christmas season!

Is there anything better on a cold day than being snuggled under a blanket with a warm cup of hot chocolate in your new flannel Christmas pajamas, being lazy and watching TV?

T minus 7 working days until I am off for 2 weeks!!! The first weekend of our vacation we are going to Taos, NM to SKI. Well, some of us will be doing more skiing than others. Others of us will be doing the lazy routine as described above in a resort instead of on her own couch, plus a little spa pampering! The best part about that is that we are going with my parents and brother in their van. Yeah! I love road trips, but road trips with your family are even better! I haven't taken a family vacation (with my own family) since I was 17!!

Then we will be in Tulsa with Ben's family, telling the same old stories, laughing and gorging ourselves on his mom's great cooking. The kids will be running around, playing with each other, (sigh) I LOVE Christmas!!

I love this time of year in the schools, too. I am doing my best to recapture the excitement of the season in my home with my own small group, but it is so neat to walk the halls in a real school and see all the seasonal things the kids have been working on. You can see how excited the kids are for the class Christmas parties and their long break. I miss being in a public school during this time of year.

But we have fun things in store next week (see my last blog), and we have been doing fun things this week, too. We have been learning about Hanukkah (and Kwanzaa starting tomorrow). Today we read a fun book and then made latkes, which are potato pancakes. At first the kids were all determined that they wouldn't like them, but I told them they had to try at least one bite, and then if they didn't like it, they could throw the rest away. I think all but 2 ate every bit. We even tried it with the traditional applesauce and sour cream, and they ate that, too! hahaha, it just further proves what I tell them all the time: We don't eat yucky food at Mrs. Colleen's house! Everything is good if you'll just give it a chance. ;) They have started telling each other that when one of them is complaining about not liking something I am serving for snack. Kids are so fun!

Update: A. has been in the hospital since before Thanksgiving with a low white blood cell count and then an infection in her central line where her food goes into her stomach. She'll be back tomorrow and Friday, then she'll have to go through another week of chemo. Her mom thought the last one was the end, but then found out she had one more round. After her chemo, they'll test everything again, and hopefully, starting the new year, she'll have a clean bill of health!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Need help... you interested?

The week of December 15-19 my preschool group will be doing a Christmas Around the World unit. On Monday, each child will get a passport, board the Polar Express and visit a new country every day, learn about that country and how its inhabitants celebrate Christmas. On Friday the 19th, we're having our pajama Christmas party and gift exchange, we'll watch the movie Polar Express, and have hot chocolate. Here's where I need help...

I thought it would be more fun if new people came in each day to help me with the different countries. Interested parties would come dressed as the Christmas character or just as a person from that country, and give a few minutes explanation of how that country celebrates Christmas and assist me with a craft or activity that represents the country's holiday custom. I only need 2 more helpers, as I already have 2 volunteers.

Here are the countries I would like to present: Germany - Kriss Kringle, Holland - Sinter Klaas, France - Pere Noel, England - Father Christmas. We could also do Mexico - Las Posadas or Sweden - St. Lucia (I think) or I'm open to suggestions if you have a good idea. I can provide resources and for some countries, a craft or activity if you need help. I just think it would make it seem more like the kids were really traveling if it were someone new each day instead of just me.

You are welcome to bring your child (age 2.5 to 5) each day to experience each country and on the day you present. (If you come on Friday, though, you'll need to bring an age-appropriate wrapped book which costs less than $5 for the gift exchange. We won't be learning about a country on Friday as we'll be having our Christmas Party instead.)

I need to know ASAP if you have any questions or you're interested so I can get my plans finalized, and also if you'll be coming/bringing children to the Christmas PJ party on Friday so I can plan gift bags & snacks accordingly. Group time is from 9:00-9:30 every day, but you are also welcome to stay through snack time and outside play time which would be until 10:30.

I think this will be so much fun! Hope to hear back soon!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sisters

There is a special bond between sisters. It is funny how much you can loathe each other growing up, and how much you miss each other when you're grown and don't see each other all the time anymore. I know I tortured my sister when we were growing up and I am so sorry for that. I wish I had been nicer to her when we were little. She was always so tender-hearted and thoughtful to me. When she was 4 or so, and went to an ear specialist (she had major ear issues when she was little), she asked for a second sucker for me at the end of the visit. That is just how she was. And then there was me. I was such a devil-child. My poor mom. Most of the time, all I did was take advantage of Meg. I hope my children do not follow in my footsteps.

I remember one time I literally beat her up for a spot on the couch to watch ALF and when my dad came in the room, I said, "I dunno. She fell." Or the time I asked her to get me a drink of water so I could watch her get soaked by the sprayer that I had rigged with a rubber band. Or, seeing that she was engaged in play, sneaking out of the room and running down the stairs, knowing that she was petrified of being upstairs alone. When she'd hear me run down the stairs, she'd follow me, and then plop down at the top of the stairs, sobbing.

I also remember both of us being sent to our rooms for bickering. Our punishment was to clean our rooms while we were in there. As we did so, we'd find articles of clothing or toys that belonged to the other, so we'd throw them into the open room across the hall. It started as a way to annoy the other, but ended in us wearing Little Mermaid panties on our heads in an all-out balled-up sock war, laughing hysterically.

I also remember being the cool older sister who made tents for Meg and her friends to sleep under when they spent the night. Or choreographing and videotaping Meg and her friends doing a dance to a popular song. I even once dressed up like Papa Bear at age 14 so they'd have the complete Goldilocks and the 3 Bears group for Halloween. Or she'd let me practice my french braiding skills on her long hair for hours. (funny...now she is the hairstylist and I go to her!)

I began reminiscing when I was looking through some pictures we took together on various holidays and vacations throughout the past few years. My sister is one of my best friends. I love to laugh with her, and she is one of the easiest people I know to laugh with! As an adult, I miss her dearly, and lament time I don't get to spend with her when one of us can't stay long enough. Here are a few pics of us in our adulthood.




Wednesday, December 3, 2008

7:15 Word of Wisdom Conversation with a 4-yr-old

Z: (sees a can of Ginger Ale in our living room. Brings it to me accusingly.) What's this?
C: It's Ginger Ale. It's kind of like Sprite.
Z: It looks like beer.
C: Nope, it's Ginger Ale. Mr. Ben and I don't drink alcohol.
Z: My mom's grandpa is in jail cause he was drinking. (Didn't get he details, not my business anyway.)
C: I guess you learned what can happen if you drink, huh? Maybe you won't do that when you get older.
Z: Yeah, that wasn't a good choice. (This is my time-out vocabulary ;) I don't want to go to jail.
C: Drinking alcohol is not good for your body either.
Z: (thinks intently) Ironman doesn't drink. Superheroes don't drink, do they, Mrs. Colleen? (Z. is obsessed with superheroes.)
C: No, I don't think they do. They have to take good care of their bodies so they can be strong and fight the bad guys.
Z: Yeah, I'm not gonna do that when I grow up.
C: I think that is good choice.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jackson at 15 months

This week we discovered to our surprise and delight that Jackson can now make the animal sounds we have been practicing with him. He can makes sounds for a duck, a cat, a dog, a cow, a rooster, and a bird. The other animal sounds don't come out very well. He can also count to 3, but he won't say 1, he'll only show it with his finger.

Now he will also show you where the following body parts are if you ask him: belly button, nose, eyes, hair, toes and mouth. He won't do his cheeks, for some reason he'll only play peek-a-boo when you ask him that one. I don't get the connection, but hey we are working on it! I am amazed at how quickly he has been learning. It seems like he learns something new every week!

How fast kids grow! I am glad to be having a new baby because I miss that phase! It went by way too quickly!! When I look at Jackson, my testimony is renewed that Heavenly Father is truly our father and our creator because I see His light in Jackson every day. Plus, I know Ben and I didn't make this incredible child on our own! He brings so much joy into our life on a regular basis. I'm so glad he chose to come to our family!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dan in Real Life

I just watched a great movie! It stars Steve Carell, Dane Cook and several other familiar faces. It is about a lonely widower advice-columnist who is raising three daughter (2 teenagers) who goes home to visit extended family. On his first day there, he leaves the house to get some space from his daughters who are mad at him, he goes to a bookstore and meets a special woman. That's all I'm telling you! Go watch it if you haven't seen it already. It is rated PG-13. I'd give it three thumbs up if I had that many thumbs!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Zoo Trip

I have a zoo pass, but now that I am a working mom, I hardly get to use it. Last Saturday we made a family trip, but it was a quick one because we got there at 3:15, not aware that the zoo closes at 4:00 on Saturday. No matter, it was actually the best zoo trip I ever made. It was free for all since I had a coupon for Ben, and Jack is always free. There were hardly any people there, and the ones who were there were on their way out, so we got to see the animals close up. The lion cubs and the tiger cubs were out and playful! All the animals were very active, and we got to see some of them eating! Cool. Here are a couple of shots I got while we were there.






Saturday, November 22, 2008

Squanto Snack

This week we have been doing a unit on Thanksgiving, complete with our own Thanksgiving feast. The kids dressed up as Native Amercians and Pilgrims and we had kid-friendly Thanksgiving foods.

(not pictured: Jackson and A., who is in the hospital doing her last round of chemo, hopefully.)

They thought that was really fun, but nothing topped their excitement on Thursday when we had a Squanto snack.

We talked about Squanto and the different ways he helped the Pilgrims through their first winter. One way was that he showed them how to plant corn with dead fish to help fertilize the corn. Then we made a yummy snack to help reinforce theis concept.


Squanto Snack
In a cup, add the following ingredients:

1. Corn (candy corn), just one or two
2. fish (Goldfish), just one or two
3. Layer of pudding and crushed Oreos (dirt/soil)

Do you think they liked it?



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Little Laugh

Have you seen Transformers? Apparently a couple of kids from my preschool have. Their favorite character? "Octopus" Prime, of course!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sonogram #1

On Friday I had my first sonogram. I was so shocked. I went in being 10 weeks along, but she said I am 11 weeks, and moved up my due date to June 3. The sonographer says the baby looks perfect, but there is a small pocket of blood next to my uterus that could burst any time now and could cause bleeding. She said it is very common and will not affect the baby at all. She just wanted to make me aware in case I saw some bleeding soon.

All that aside, I was very shocked at how much I could see in this sonogram! With Jackson, my first sonogram was very early. I saw the standard gray and black blob with a flashing spot where the heart was beating. With this baby, I could see arms, legs, a profile, and he was moving like crazy! It was amazing! It hit me even more that I am actually going through this again! Obviously I knew that I was pregnant, and yes, I am getting bigger, but like I said in an earlier blog, I don't obsess over it every day like I did with Jackson because it isn't new to me and I'm just too busy to think about personal stuff on a daily basis. But now it became very real to me, and I can't imagine what another baby in our family will be like. How strange!

Soup Spills & Time Out Troubles

Today I made Charleston's Baked Potato Soup and Red Lobster Bicuits for dinner. Jackson wanted some, even though he already had dinner. He always wants what we are eating and drinking, no matter what it is or how full he already is. He is a little beggar!

We were watching Bruce Almighty in the living room as we ate. This is a pet peeve of mine for so many reasons. I feel that dinner is a great time to sit down as a family and talk. Ben disagrees. He likes to be comfortable and entertained as he eats. What am I gonna do? Most of the time I eat by myself in the kitchen while I feed Jack and Ben watches TV, but tonight I wanted to be with Ben and it was a good movie, so I relented.

The combination of all of these factors ended up with my creamy, hot baked potato soup ending up all over Jackson and the carpet.

When I went into the kitchen to take the bisuits out of the oven, I asked Ben to make sure Jack didn't get into my soup. Of course, I forgot the fact that Ben does not hear well when the TV is on, and also isn't too alert to what is going on around him. However, I know this and I'm the one who left my soup right where Jack could get into it. Luckily, he wasn't burned at all, and I got to use my new favorite thing (The Dirt Devil Spot Scrubber) to clean it up.

Anyway, as we were cleaning up, Jackson kept getting into other stuff he isn't supposed to, so he had to go to time out. Jackson's current time-out spot is in his pack n play which stays set up in the living room all the time. (He is supposed to nap in it, but I always put him upstairs in his bed so he doesn't keep the big kids awake as he cries and plays loudly while he is trying to fall asleep.) Time out is new for us. Jackson has been throwing a lot of temper tantrums lately when he wants something and doesn't get it, so we have had to come up with something other than the hand slap or diaper spanking. Those punishments don't always fit the crime, ya know? This is new for us. We haven't quite worked out the kinks, but I think when we do, I'm really going to like it. Jack already understands the concept of time out because he sees the big kids go to time out all the time. He really hates to go in time-out because he hates to be confined. The cutest thing is that he will cry and cry and then say the words "Up, please," over and over so pitifully. I have a hard time not laughing a little. Anyway, I need to find something else that confines him and conveys the message that he is in time out because I am afraid that when we go to Tulsa and he sleeps in the pack and play, he will associate it with being in time out and won't sleep in it anymore. Any ideas for something I could use? My time out for the big kids is a bean bag chair, but Jackson loves those chairs. He plays with them all the time, so that won't work. Plus, it doens't confine him at all.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Come What May, and LOVE IT!

This evening as I left my house, I was feeling very angry and frustrated. It had been a long, hard day with the kids, and then Jackson had been cranky and clingy while I prepared dinner. I had no particular reason for being so grumpy, I had just reached a limit, I guess. Sometimes when I feel this way, I also feel guilty. I feel guilty for two reasons. #1 because I am so stinkin' prideful that I can't admit that I am overwhelmed by something, even if only admitting it to myself. #2 because I made these choices willingly and I want all the responsibilities in my life, so I should be able to handle it, and currently (as in this week and last) I am not doing a very good job. I lean on Ben too much and he isn't going to always be there to help me out. I need to learn to do this by myself. How can I ever hope to have more children if I can't handle this. These were my frustrations as I headed for enrichment at church tonight.

I have missed so many enrichments, and read about them on others' blogs, wishing that I had been able to come. Tonight I willingly accepted the opportunity to get out of the house, if only for that reason. As I headed for the church, I silently welcomed any small tidbit of a message that could help me deal with my problems. I was going to open my ears and hearts for anything, anything at all, that might give me an answer. Little did I know that the Lord prepared that evening just for me.

Here are a few things I learned. In order for my burdens to feel lighter, I need to actively seek out opportunities to serve others. I loved Sis Nichol's President's Minute where she shared the children's story about the crocodile looking for his smile. My ears perk up whenever I hear about a children's book. (I LOVE children's literature. In fact, I smoked Ben at Nintendo Jeopardy in this category just 2 nights ago, lol!) In this story, everyone tries to cheer the crocodile up, but he can only find his smile after he serves someone else.

I was very impressed with Bro Cook's talk. Bro Cook always makes me laugh, and always inspires me when he speaks. I love to hear him speak. He quoted Pres Uchtdorf's talk "The Infinite Power of Hope" from the October General Conference. In it, Pres Uchtdorf states, "The things we hope for, lead us to faith, the things we hope in lead us to charity." The difference is that "the things we hope for are often future events"; "the things we hope in sustain us during our daily walk." I haven't read this talk in its entirety yet, but before I go to bed, I'm going to run a warm bath, and read it as I relax for a few minutes.

After Bro Cook, Lana spoke. I love everything about Lana. She is so cheerful, such a cute little mom with this cute big family. I love her son, who I have in my Primary class and the sweet things he says that sometimes make me laugh. If I knew nothing else about her, I would know she is a spiritual rock just by knowing her son. (...but I also know she throws a great book club and makes yummy cupcakes and is a great teacher.) Anyway, wouldn't you know it, but Lana must have heard my thoughts, because she truly said something I was thinking on my way to church WORD FOR WORD in her talk. See how in tune with the Spirit she is?! Plus, if I weren't already amazed with her, she shared this story about how when she was 21 she had 2 small children and was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and was then promptly asked to be the President of...was it RS or Primary? I can't remember, but either one would give me a heart attack, and at 21 with all those trials! WOW! At this point I am thinking, "Okay, Colleen, quit being a baby and put things into perspective. Your life is very blessed and so many people love you and offer to help you. Get over yourself and get up and help someone else!" Plus, I cracked up at the fact that I totally knew what she was talking about when she referred to the "Phoebe run" as she informed us that one of her trials is exercise. I am a die-hard FRIENDS fan! That created such a hilarious mental image in my mind. I think the point of that story ws that you have to laugh sometimes to make life more bearable. I SO agree. I miss Ben's large family because I love all the stories they share everytime they get together that crack us all up! Anyway, she shared a great spiritual message, too, and did a great job of making her topic interesting and relatable to everyday life.

Then several sisters shared some quotes from Conference. My favorite was the title of this blog. "Come what may, and love it." That was a quote from Elder Worthlin who said that it originally came from his mother, I believe. What a wise woman to come up with such a simply put statement that says so much. To me, it says, "Colleen, accept your life, and not only live it, but LOVE it." Notice there was no mention of getting mad at L. for purposefully annoying and tormenting the younger kids all day for his own amusement. No mention of getting frustrated with Jackson for pulling a placemat off the table which consequently flung sticky shrimp sauce all over the kitchen, and then minutes later turning around and knocking over his daddy's soda all over the carpet while I am still cleaning up the shrimp mess. Or getting irritated with Ben (although he is going to have Jackson all evening so I can go to Enrichment) for playing video games and not starting dinner while I am still with kids, and then leaving me to start dinner at 5:30 which is way too late for Jackson to eat (I mean, how dare he have a minute to rest his brain after a long day of having it crammed full of medical knowledge??).

It was a great night and exactly what I needed to hear. I knew it would be because I wanted to hear what the Lord had prepared for me to hear. I am so grateful that I didn't pull the "I'm too tired because I'm pregnant" card and got my lazy butt off the couch! Thanks to all who spoke or participated. You made my day better and my life more inspired!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Invasion of the Home & Body Snatchers

When we were discussing and praying about having another baby, I was so excited. I missed having a little baby to snuggle up with, as my current child just wants to run, run, run and climb. (He climbed up on the table today and then cried when he couldn't figure out how to get down. I guess I should be thankful he didn't try to get himself down, he just cried until we saved him.) Umimportant was the fact that only just a few months ago, I began boxing up and putting away all the baby items that have cluttered up my house for months. Gone were the bottles, the pacifers, the walker, the swing, and so many more items that are must-haves when there is an infant in the house. It seemed like we were finally taking our house back! And now I have to get them back out again in a few months.

And to make matters worse, only a few months ago I finally got back down to the size I was before I had Jackson. I had worked so hard, and was feeling like a hardbody, lol, even though I was far from it. Now, at 10 weeks, my belly looks like I had one too many beers, and I have been forced to wear maternity pants already, not because my belly is too big for my regular jeans, but because my rear end is. (sigh)

I think I hate being pregnant. What a baby I am being about it this go-round, too! Before I got pregnant with Jackson, I was in the depths of despair after miscarrying my first pregnancy at the old age of 27. (I thought that was old to be having your first, anyway.) I was sure I would never get to be a mother. So when I got pregnant with Jackson, I loved every minute of it. I loved getting fat, I loved the attention, I ate whatever I wanted, I never worked out a day of my pregnancy, I got monthly pedicures, I treated myself like royalty. And I gained about 45 lbs.

Now, I am partially in denial that I am pregnant. I think the novelty of being pregnant has worn off. Although I am so excited to have another baby, I don't really think about it on a daily basis. I don't pamper myself - who has time? I try to watch what I eat (although I still do eat a lot of junk) because I know how hard it is to get it off. And now that I am about through the first trimester and not so tired all the time, I was in the gym last night hitting those eliptical machines and weights. I won't even tell you what my feet look like. At this point, I'm too embarrassed to go get a pedicure!

I hate the fact that no matter what I do, I am slowly losing control of my body. And I'm not just talking about the weight gain and change in shape. I hate that this growing fetus makes me so tired, that certain smells make me wanna retch, that I now have uncontrollable gas, that I'm going to have to deal with hemorrhoids again. There's no sense in sugar-coating it. Pregnancy takes over your body. You all know what I'm talking about.

But you know what, it's so worth it! ;)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Zest for Life

I'm actually feeling better this week. Minimal nausea (I have yet to throw up), certainly no lack of appetite, and minimal exhaustion, but I have been trying to get to bed earlier. In any case, it was a great week except for the mysterious poison ivy I have all over my left hand and left side of my face. I have absolutely no idea how I got poion ivy. I've never seen it in the backyard, none of the kids have it, Ben and Jackson do not have it, I haven't been anywhere where I might have gotten it, and yet, I have a blistery rash on my hand, fingers, chin and eye. Yes, I'm a scary sight to see right now. I went to the doctor today and he gave me a shot and a prescription, but I'm still itchy as anything and I have no self-control, I'm totally scratching. Ben is hunting, which is probably for the best because he is highly allergic to poison ivy; last night he slept on the loft couch so he wouldn't accidentally be exposed to my poionous oils. (sigh) If it's not one thing, it's another, right?

I know I say this all the time, but Jackson amazes me daily with the things he is picking up. He is so much fun right now! Here is a bulleted list of my favorite new words/actions he does lately.

Words
-Mama
-Daddy
-Lady
-Landon (Lan-duh)
-Ow (owwww-ah)
-Uh-oh
-bites (bi-bi)
-juice (Joo)
-please (pwee)
-up, please (uh, pwee)
-diaper (bi-puh)
-stinky (tin-kee)
-baby (bay-bee)
-Papa
-doggy (daw-gee)
-bath (bah)
-book (boo-ah)
-"What's that?" (I can't describe how this sounds, it is mostly a copy of the inflection I use when I say it, so I know that is what he is saying. Plus, he points. He has been doing this to trees a lot lately, and airplanes a few times.)

Actions
-He now goes to pull down the diaper mat whenever I have acknowledged that he has told me he needs a diaper change. He sits down, and will lay down willingly if I ask him to.)
-He brings me books and then demands I pick him up ("uh-pwee" insistently) and sticks the book in my face to let me know he wants me to read it to him. He has several favorite books, and is completely uninterested in others. Go figure...
-He is really into climbing right now, especially with the purpose of standing up on something higher than the ground. He climbs to standing on the seat of his push-pull bus, his birthday train from Nana, the kiddie chairs that sit at the round table in the playroom, the stuffed kiddie rocking chair, the slide in the backyard, etc. He also tries to stand up in the bathtub, but I have been telling him, "No, no, Jackson we don't stand up in the bathtub (or on the chairs, etc) that is not safe! It will hurt you. Ow!" Now he understands he needs to sit down, and does so promptly when requested to.
-He folds his arms on command, which is so cute because we got so excited when he first started doing it that we clapped and said "yeah," so now he does that after folding his arms, too.
-Dancing. He and Daddy have such fun dancing and being silly in the living room to the radio. In the end, everyone in the house is rolling with laughter.
-"Jackson, make your face!" To which he makes the most hilarious "oh" face with his lips pursed. SO CUTE! It makes everyone laugh who sees it. I don't know where he picked this up, but it is one of our favorites.
-He climbs the stairs unassisted, but with me or Ben right behind to prevent falling.
-He loves to put his Elmo shoes on. I need only say "Let's put your shoes on." one time and he runs to me!
-gives kisses (albeit open-mouthes kisses, often with tongue) and hugs (with a MM-mm sound effect)

This is about all I can think of right now, although I am sure there is more. His excitement and curiousity is so fun and contagious! One of my newer pre-k parents witnessed some of his talents today, and asked me when Jackson would be two. I proudly informed her that it would be a while because he was only 14 months. She seems shocked and impressed. I know I shouldn't be overly proud because truly I have nothing to gauge him against. I don't know what kids his age should be doing, but it seems to me that he is a little advanced. I guess I attribute it to being around all these older kids every day, but I am grateful that he is in good health, is learning so much so quickly, and is enjoying his life so far. We are so blessed!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Some of my favorite people



This is my super-cool aunt and best friend Sara. When our men go hunting together, Sara and I play the life of hunter's widows together. She is my closest confidante; my surrogate mother/sister with my family 5 hours away. She has raised 3 boys, has 2grandchildren, fought both cardiomyopathy and breast cancer, and is still the youngest and most beautiful 50-year-old I know. She gives the best advice and is always that honest friend everyone needs when shopping. She also reminds me not to spend too much money so I don't get in trouble with my husband. I love her and I just wanted to say Happy 50th Birthday, Sara! Don't kill me for posting this! ;)



This is my good friend Cassie Ray (now Wayman). We worked together at First Christian Church-Child Development Center in downtown Tulsa, OK for about a year and a half before I moved to Texas. I had just graduated with my teaching degree and Oklahoma schools were laying teachers off due to state budget cuts. Cassie was my assistant in the 3-4 year-olds Explorers classroom. She had worked there for several years prior to my hire date. She always came up with the cutest arts and crafts ideas, helped me balance all my new responsibilities, and taught me so much about how to work with kids that young when most of my experiences were with 1st grade and up. I grew to love younger kids, and now I use what she taught me every day with my new group of 3-4 year olds. Where would I be without Cassie?

Every year FCC-CDC closed for one week for training. One day of training our first summer together, a handsome fireman came with his team to help us get our CPR certificate. It was love at first sight. Then, Cassie was still working on her undergraduate as a English major. Now she has just completed her master's degree, currently teaches Honors and Pre-AP English to middle schoolers, and just married her handsome fireman! Congratulations, Cassie and Kyle!

Monday, November 3, 2008

News

Here's how my day went today.

5:15, Jackson did not get the daylight savings memo, so after less than 5 hours, I'm up to feed him and get ready for work
5:30, the smell of the food I'm preparing for him makes me want to hurl
6:00, Jackson plays, I lay down on the couch, exhausted already
6:30, Jackson plays with toys on the floor of the bathroom while I shower, hoping to wake up
7:15, Z. arrives, that kid can talk my ear off at 7:15, but he is such a cutie! All the while, I'm feeling sick to my stomach, think I'll have some hard candy
8:00-10:30 free play, group time (we're learning about Dinosaurs this week), then we watched about 20 minutes of The Land Before Time, which the kids really got into, then snack. I'm hungry, but nothing sounds good and I wanna hurl, but I don't.
10:30, go outside (inward groan, do we have to? Can't we just have naptime a little early?)
11:00, center play, calendar time (does this require standing on my part?)
11:30, lunchtime, opening each child's lunch sends new waves of nausea over me. Again, not hungry, but know I need to eat something at this point. But what? A healthy sandwich? nope. Some warm soup? yuck. A Salad? Don't even get me started with the runny tomatoes and mushy cucumbers. Hmmm...how about some Halloween candy and donuts? MMMM, I start salivating.

If you haven't gathered by now, yes, I am pregnant. ;)

Ben and I were waiting to tell until after the first trimester, but I am almost through it now, and we went ahead and told our families over the weekend. Plus, I am a horrible secret keeper, so a lot of you probably already know. Finally the secret is out and I can blog about it! I am starting my 10th week, due June 9th, and believe it or not, we did plan this.

I close for the summer at the beginning of June so I'll have all summer with Jack and the new baby before I open back up at the end of August. Before you think I am crazy, I do know exactly what I am getting myself into. Ben is going to be busier than ever next year, and I'll be running a business with 2 kids of my own (one a newborn) and who knows how many others. However, when your husband is a med student there is no good time to have babies, so you just do it and you get through it. That is what I'll do. I'm handling it fine now with just being pregnant, just a little tired, and I'll be hiring an assistant as soon as I get 3 more kids, so I'll have help. I don't get morning sickness, really, just nausea, and that isn't so bad with the help of hard candy. Besides, in a few more weeks, I'll be through the worst, and feeling much more energetic.

Anyway, we are excited, and hoping for another boy! :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hunter Ben

Ben went hunting last weekend and came home victorious! He shot a doe with a bow and arrow! That is the first time he has hunted with a bow and arrow, but he has been practicing for a while now for when bow season started. I was thinking about it, and you know, I am so lucky to be married to him because if we ever needed to, I know he could provide food for our family, build a shelter for us (He built all the Preschool furniture and built the cabin he goes hunting at), plus even if we had no access to medical facilities, we'd have a doctor in our own family (well, soon to be doctor anyway). Ben just does a great job providing for our family, and I can't tell you how safe I feel being his wife. Plus, he deserves the prize for being the best husband of the year lately because he has really been stepping up and helping me out with the preschool kids and with Jackson and our household duties since I am having trouble keeping up. Several times last week I passed out on the couch before 6 pm, and he just fixed himself and Jackson dinner, gave Jackson a bath, and put him to bed and let me sleep.

I am so grateful Heavenly Father sent Ben to me, and even more grateful I get to be with him for eternity! Because of that I will have a family to be sealed to, even if I never get to be sealed to my parents and siblings.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nana's Chicken and Broccoli

Last night I made chicken and broccoli with Ben's mom's recipe. It was his favorite meal when he was growing up, so of course, when we first got married, I had to find out how to make it for him.

I boiled a chicken on Sunday night when I made Chicken 'n' Dumplings, and I didn't use all the chicken I deboned, so I saved the rest thinking that Chicken and Broccoli would make a quick weeknight meal if the chicken part was already done for me.

Well, Ben, obviously, was excited for C&B, but Jackson especially loved it! He scarfed it down faster than I could put bites on his plate! It is really good, I have to say, Nana is an excellent cook. I thought it was so cute! I had to take some pictures of him almost licking his high chair tray clean!






Here's the easy and very yummy recipe in case you are interested...
Nana's Chicken and Broccoli
1. Boil a whole chicken, debone, shred chicken into bite-size pieces.
2. Grease a 13x9 Pyrex dish, put chicken pieces on the bottom.
3. Steam or boil fresh or frozen broccoli until brilliant green, but still crisp, layer above chicken.
4. Mix the follwing for the topping layer: 1 can of cream of chicken, 1 cup of sour cream, a little Garlic Salt.
5. Spread topping on top of broccoli like you'd spread frosting.
6. Top with grated Monterey Jack cheese.
7. Bake at 350 until cheese melts.
8. Enjoy!

Refreshed at Jamba Juice in more ways than one!

Tonight I was supposed to go to an SAA get together. SAA is basically a group of wives of med students who get together several times a month. I think the idea is to hang out with each other since we never see our husbands. Anyway, after a long, rough day at BILC (including a parent conference at 5:30 after I closed), I needed to get out of the house, so I called my friend Amy Betz, who I was planning on going to the meeting with, and we decided to blow it off and go to Jamba Juice and hang out. So we did. I had been craving Jamba for a few days and I didn't know there were several locations not too far from me! I had been saving my cravings for our trips to Tulsa, but now I don't have to! YEAH!

Anyway, she was on her way home from the airport (and just swung into the temple for a session on the way home - she's so good!) after dropping her husband off to go to Las Vegas (He is the Vice President of Ben's class, and he has to go out of state for meetings several times a year.) so we met at he Jamba on Main Street in downtown Ft. Worth. It was such a fun little outing. I had to take Jackson since Ben had an Elder's Quorum meeting at the church, btu it still felt so good to just get out of the house for a while and hang with a friend. We chatted for what only seemed like a few minutes, but turned out to be an hour and a half!

Poor girl, she has to speak at Stake Conference for her stake (which is not the same as mine), and she is a little panicked. Hence the trip to the temple, lol... I know she'll do great though, she and her husband are such awesome people, and rock solid church members. They lived with us for about a month this summer when they had some problems closing on their house, and we got to be very close. I really missed them when they moved out, and kinda wished they could have just been our roommates forever!

It was just such a freeing feeling to get out of the house. I have a tendency to be reclusive sometimes, but even for me, after almost a full week of working in my house from 7:15-5:30, then being too tired to leave the house after I close, I get a little stir-crazy. Anyway, I feel refreshed and also uplifted because Amy is such a genuinely sweet person who does her absolute best at everything. She inspires me to be a better person. Isn't that the best kind of friend?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Temper Tantrum






Pumpkin Patch

I know, I know this is a late post, but I finally had a chance to download my pictures of our Pumpkin Patch trip on Saturday. We went to a place in Flower Mound, which was SO awesome and all the profits go to several different Denton County charities. This place was way cooler than any pumpkin patch I ever went to as a kid. It has several bounce houses, a bounce slide, a huge hay pyramid, face painting, a hayride, a barrel train ride, a petting zoo, pony rides and so many more things to do. The best thing was that most activities were either free or cost only a few dolalrs. I think we just created a new family tradition.
We had a blast! Jackson ran aorung that place like a kid in a candy store. He was so excited to see all teh pumpkins. He kept saying, "puh, puh, puh" all day because I was trying to get him to say pumpkin and I was stressing the beginning sound, so that was all he focused, on. ;)

Here are a few pics documenting the cuteness and fun!



Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch

Off to find the perfect pumpkin

Maybe this one?

Just my size

Mickey needs an open-mouthed kiss apparently

Whoa! What is that?

Fun with Mama

Fascinated by the animals

The hay pyramid

On top of the world with Daddy

I'm just cute havin' fun!


What are those big kids doin?


Got my face painted

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My New Favorite Thing



I remember when I was about 12 I was with my mom at a neighborhood get-together (maybe a shower for someone) and she was talking with her friends. They were all listening to one woman excitedly describe her new carpet or tile or something for her house, I don't remember. All the women were envious and complimentary of her new upgrade, and with my hormonal preteen attitude, I remember thinking, "If I ever get to the point where I am excited about carpet, I need to get a life."

Well, apparently it is time for me to get a life, lol, because I am so excited about something I had in my house and never used. I had all these little dirt spots all over my carpet and living room. Some are from Jackson's spit up stains that we tried to get out with Resolve, but then it just collected dirt in that wet spot instead or maybe dirt from our shoes, who knows. I was about to call someone to come out and clean my carpet, but that is always such a hassle and when would I do it? I can't do it on the weekdays cuz I have a houseful of kids and I don't want to do it on the weekends because then I have to keep Jackson off a wet carpet for several hours. Then I remembered that my uncle Greg gave us a Dirt Devil Portable Spot Scrubber last Christmas, and we have never used it. I got it out thinking it was worth a try, and man, that thing is SO swesome. It works like a mini tool of what those professional carpet cleaners use. You simulateously spray the watered down solution onto your carpet with a vaccuum hose thing, and run the vaccuum part over and over it until wah-la! The stain is gone! All the stains in my carpet that were mostly dirt are completely gone, and the other stains (like I have one mysterious orange stain I can't get out) are at least faded. I'm so excited and I had to tell all my girlfriends!

Ok, now I'm headed off to get a life! ;)

Friday, October 17, 2008

What is Wrong With People?



All I want to do is dress up for Halloween like a zoo animal to match my son's cute elephant costume...I was thinking maybe a cheetah, but all I can find are goofy animals or slutty women's costumes. This is so frustrating! What happened to Halloween being a family holiday? (At least I thought it was based on what I experienced growing up, but maybe I was sheltered.) Who dresses like that? What is wrong with the world that a fun family holiday is twisted into a good excuse to get half naked?!?!

Hello, women of the world: It is COLD in October! Put some clothes on!

I did find a cute flamingo costume, but I was hoping for something that clearly speaks zoo theme, so I'm not sure if that does. What do you think?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Book Review: The Host and The Lovely Bones

I finally finished The Host this week. Many of my friends said it was slow-going and they didn't like it as much as other Stephenie Meyer books. I agree that it wasn't the same as falling in love with Edward in Twilight, but I really enjoyed it. I thought the plot was unique (or at least unique for me because I usually avoid science fiction), and I was intrigued by the idea of having someone else in your head, knowing all your memories and thoughts and feelings. Then again, that is also my worst nightmare. Some things are better left private, you know?

After reading the Twilight series and now The Host, I now have a new favorite romantic genre author. Maybe the books weren't meant to be pegged romantic, but of course, they SO are. Stephenie Meyer is a genius when it comes to capturing the excitement of new, young love. I also really enjoy Nicholas Sparks, but all his books are predictable, in that they all involve one character with some baggage they think they'll never overcome, but then they meet The One. He writes love as something deeper, more based on respect and a full understanding of each other, whereas S.M. writes it as passionate, addicting, and exhilerating. I enjoy both, but there is more to Stephenie Meyer's books than just the love story so she wins in my "book."

About a month ago, I got a chain mail book club letter. I was supposed to send one book to my Aunt Jeanne, and then send the letter to 6 other people. The letter promised I would get 6 new books and all I'd have to do was mail out one of mine. Well, I have had a hard time deciding what in my library I should send my 70-something (Great) Aunt Jeanne, and I must confess that the letter is still in my To Do inbox. However, I received a book in the mail last week called the Lovely Bones. I read the back cover, and thought it looked good, so I started it last night.

YIKES! I hope the ending is good, because the beginning was horrible (as in not something I wanted in my mind, not as in poorly written), however, the plot is again, so unique, that I have pressed on past the first chapter, interested in what will happen. The book is written from the perspective of a deceased 14-year-old girl who watches her family, friends, and murderer from heaven.

Stay tuned and I'll let you know how it turns out.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gotta brag...

It amazes me daily how much Jack understands what I am telling him and how much he THINKS he is telling me. He babbles all the time now with such expression on his face. He is telling me all his secrets, I know.

Lately he has been trying to say his favorite school friend's name. It is so funny to hear it because unless you are me or L., you don't know he is saying it. It comes out kind of muddled like "Dan-Dan." Jackson always follows L. around to every center, copies his actions and the sounds he makes, and is super excited when he gets to school in the morning. It is cute to see him hero-worshipping this kid at such an early age. I wonder what qualities he finds so particularly cool about L. over the other kids. L. is a good kid and everything, but he is probably one of the least patient with Jackson at school, so it's funny to me that Jackson likes him so much. L. is usually annoyed with Jackson always taking his toys away or being in his way.

Also, today (and this was not the first time he has done this) he came up to me in the kitchen and I noticed he had a poopy diaper. I said, "Shoo! You are stinky!" (This is what I usually say when he has a poopy diaper.) He ran over to the shelf where I have keep the diaper changing mat, and pulled it off and laid down on it, all with a big smile! This is a refreshing change because usually diaper changing time is a fight start to finish! I couldn't help but laugh! Silly boy!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Prayer Request

After all the progress she has made lately, A.'s cancer is no longer in remission. They found cancer in her bone marrow. She is now going through her 8th round of chemo. She is still with me, but she is only doing half-days. Her mother has had to go on half-days at work, too. She is a single mom, with one income and no family in this area. All her family lives in Michigan. I don't even know how she can afford to send A. to me. A's grandfather has come to stay with her mother for one month. After that, I don't know what she will do.

I was so depressed about this news, and then A. came back to school today. Running a fever and wetting her pull-up (not a normal occurrence, she is fully potty-trained) because of the extreme amount of fluids they flushed through her system along with the meds they gave her at the hospital, she still cheerily played with the other kids, laughing and running. You would think she hadn't been in the hospital that morning. She inspires me to stop feeling sorry for myself when I've had a hard day and be happy to be alive and healthy.

I hurt for this family. They have been in my prayers every night. If you remember, please include them in yours, too. They need a miracle.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Next Things I'm Looking Forward To...

I love this holiday season! Just the feel and smell of the cool autumn evening air gets me excited for the fun things I have to look forward to in the next few months, like...

1. The TCU-BYU football game
2. Keagan's (my cousin's son) birthday party next Sunday afternoon
3. Boo at the Zoo
4. Turning the air conditioning off for a while & OPENING WINDOWS!
5. Spending Halloween with our families in Tulsa/watching my new niece get blessed
6. Annual Thanksgiving Family Lock-in (kind of) in our Galveston condo on the beach(if the island is ready by then, but we hear good reports of our area)
7. Finishing the waste of time online business course through TCC the state made me take for my in-home preschool director's certificate (I thought I was done with school!!)
8. My 2 Week Christmas Break!!
9. Christmas in Tulsa with both our families.
10. New Year's Parties with friends! Game on girls!
11. Ben opening his birthday present (hint...father-son football watching). He is going to LOVE it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Not feeling much better yet, but I'm happier anyway!

I really wanted to bear my testimony on Sunday, and then I didn't make it to Sacrament meeting because I wasn't feeling well.

This may seem strange in light of my last blog, but I have just been feeling very grateful for all my blessings lately. I know Heavenly Father hears my prayers and I am grateful that he answers even the most trivial ones. It seems like everything I pray for lately has been answered very quickly and with the result I had hoped for. I know that isn't always the way it works, but isn't it nice when it does?

Anyway, we are very blessed and I hope I don't take that for granted. I hope that even with everything I have that is wonderful in my life, I don't become complacent and lazy. I hope that I can still seek out opportunities to help others. Sometimes I can be reclusive and shy to offer assistance. I am working on getting past that.

I am so grateful for my husband. If you don't know him very well, you just don't understand how great he really is. He is always supportive of me, and he looks for ways he can help me. I have a tendency to take on responsibilities to the maximum of my abilities and then stubbornly insist that I don't need help, but he always bails me out when I do. About a week ago, I mentioned to him in passing that the child-proof lock on the cleaning supplies cabinet under the kitchen sink was broken. Today I noticed he had fixed it sometime last night. Plus, last night when I was out in search of medical care, he was at home with Jackson. He fed him dinner, bathed him, and put him to bed. It was such a relief not to have to worry about that when I got home! I hope I do enough for him that he feels grateful for me, too.

I am grateful for my son, who is so happy most of the time. He has so much energy, like his daddy, and I see the light of a great sense of humor in him. We love to laugh in our family, so he fits right in. I could have a fussy, demanding child that I would have to balance with all the other kids I look after, but Jackson makes it easy. He plays independently with the toys the big kids get out, and is happy to share, even when they aren't! ;) He is also fairly obedient, although he does test us sometimes. He is now learning to follow short orders, like "Come here," "Bring it to me" or "Go get your milk." I guess we point a lot at our house because that is his new thing.

I am so grateful for my home and place of refuge from the world. This is the first place I have ever lived in where I consciously strive to not only protect, but actively build the spirit present. When I look around and see all the things I want to do to make my home a place of beauty, knowing it will take years to afford to be able to do all those things, I look forward to the years we will have here. Hopefully, we'll have enough to be able to accomplish our goals and a few years to enjoy the final result.

Anyway, sorry for the downer blog yesterday. It was a sharp contrast to how I have been feeling these past few weeks. I guess I should have kept it to myself, but it was nice to get some "I've been there comments." Thanks!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Grrr..Beware, I'm Cranky!

If you'd like to see my dark side, read on. If you are not in the mood for blatant negativity and irritability, then skip this blog and check back with me tomorrow.

This morning I woke up with a very sore throat, some sinus pressure and a headache, plus I have been suspicious of a UTI lately. I tried to make a doctor's appt during our morning snack, but nope, the receptionist informed me that they were only seeing REALLY sick (what qualifies as really sick?) patients and were scheduling all others 4 weeks out! 4 weeks! Who schedules a doctor's appointment 4 WEEKS in advance, I ask you?

My next option was the CVS minute clinic, so when my last child was picked up, I thought I'd swing up there real quick and get this pesky illness taken care of. Nope again, they couldn't treat my UTI, so they referred me to a minor emergency center in Lake Worth. Okey dokey. I headed in that direction, went in, surveyed the waiting room, didn't look too bad, signed in, sat down and waited...for about 30 minutes, and then my name was called. The nurse took me back, weighed me (Incorrectly, I assure you! I weigh about 7 lbs less than what that dang thing told her I did.), checked my blood pressure, and all that fun stuff. Then she informed me that there weren't any waiting rooms currently available, and asked me if I wanted to go back to the waiting room or have them call me?

Huh? Excuse me? Call me?

You mean the weight is so long you are suggesting I leave the facility? (sigh) At this point it was 6:30, about 1 hr, 10 min on the timer, and I was eat-my-own-arm-off hungry. So I left the facility and went to get some dinner. (I would have had dinner before I left, but I thought I'd be gone for a max of 30 minutes!)

Trying to see some positive in the situation, I cheered myself by thinking I'd get to eat some yummy comfort food: Taco Bueno! One of my favorites! Needing to use the bathroom, I decided to go into the restaurant and take my order to go. For any of you who live or dine near the Lake Worth area, I do NOT, in fact, I highly recommend AGAINST, the Taco Bueno there! The restroom was health hazard filthy, the restaurant smelled moldy and damp, and to top it all off, as I waited for my food, the workers were swearing and having an inappropriate sexual conversation right in front of me as if I weren't even there. It took almost 10 minutes for me to get my food, when I went out to my car I realized I didn't have my cinnamon chips, and had to go back in for them, THEN my tacos were almost meatless and STALE! Truly, I am usually easy to please when it comes to eating out; I never send food back. My philosophy is that I'm just grateful I didn't have to cook it! But I madly punched the number for that little receipt survey and let that automatic system have it! Anybody want my free taco or bean burrito?

I finished my meal at about 7:00, and still hadn't gotten a call back from the clinic, so I decided to swing into Albertson's to pick up a few things I needed for arts and crafts this week at BILC. I got in line to pay (of course, when I can't leave immediately, my phone rings and bingo, NOW a room is ready for me) and a very sweet woman offered to let me go ahead of her since I only had 4 items. Then the whole line got backed up because of this silly woman who couldn't find her check card, all the while insisting she has it somewhere. Instead of paying another way or allowing the cashier to close her order and check out the next person (me), she makes us all wait about 5 minutes. Then she had the nerve to gripe out the poor cashier for not remembering to give her her stinkin' stickers for free dishes. GO FIND YOUR CHECK CARD AND BUY YOUR OWN DISHES LADY! (Sorry Kathy!)

I got back to the clinic and hallelujah! I get to go back to a room! That must mean I'll see the doctor shortly. Nope. I got back to the room at about 7:30, the doctor didn't make it to my room until about 8:15. ("He has 4 people ahead of you, so it'll be a while," the nurse sweetly informed me. Ya think?) Anyway, I just got home at about 9:00, and I left the house for one simple thing at 5:20 or so, so yep, I'm pretty cranky about this wasted evening, but at least I got to take the new Jeep!

Oh yeah, P.S. it turns out, I didn't have a UTI, only a sinus infection and the doctor prescribed Ammoxicillin which we already have at home! GRRRR!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Elmo Elation & Kisses for Jesus

This weekend we had planned to go to Tulsa and bless my sister Megan's new baby. (Ben is the only priesthood holder in my family.) Unfortunately, with Jackson's recent contagious chicken pox rash, we decided we should probably postpone for next month. This actually works out great because it means we will get to be with our families on Halloween.

Anyway, because we didn't go to Tulsa and since it is opening weekend for bow hunting, Ben decided to go to the cabin with his new SUV, so Jack and I are alone. I actually enjoy it a little when Ben is gone. Don't get me wrong, I miss him like crazy, but it nice to have some room in the full-size bed we share and get caught up on housework I don't do when he is here.

Jack and I have a great time together when it is just the 2 of us. We rocked out and clapped to YMCA in the car while we were running errands. We sang and danced to Disney songs in the playroom. We also had a lot of learning time. We practiced some new words (Jack is quite the sound mimic these days.), we read stories, I tried to teach him some new tricks. Good times.

Some of the highlights are as follows:

Last night when I was putting Jackson to bed, we stopped in front of our family picture and said goodnight to Daddy. Then we stopped in front of a picture of Jesus. I was trying to get him to say Jesus, but all I got was Jah-Jee. However, when I picked the picture up from the table and Jackson could see it more closely, he got this big smile on his face, similar to the face he makes when he sees Daddy or Mommy in a pic, and he pointed to Jesus. Then he leaned in and kissed the picture of Jesus! We have been trying to get him to kiss us, but he will only do it for Ben, not me, and only after a few practice tries. He blows kisses all the time, but actually laying one on you is a different story. I was so touched and happy in that moment, I just wondered all night if he can really still remember who Jesus is and at what point do we lose our memories of Heavenly Father and Jesus? When we are given a body? Or does it slowly fade away before we can speak, and we have be be taught of them? I'd like to think he really does know who Jesus is, that it may just be a little foggy at this point.

Today when we were picking up a few things at Wal-mart, we passed the checkout lines and high above one of the lines was an Elmo balloon. It happened to be the exact balloon Jackson got for his birthday. He was so excited. This kid LOVES Elmo! I didn't even notice Elmo until he started squealing and squirming and clapping and pointing to it. We continued on in our shopping and I had forgotten all about Elmo until it was time to check out. I happened to pick that line as the shortest and again, Jackson started clapping and squealing and pointing up above us. At first I thought he liked one of the commercials on the Wal-mart TVs, but I looked up, and there was Elmo again! He was elated until we completed our transaction and left the store. It was a really cute moment. Everyone around us was watching him and giggling.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Blog Crazy & Stinky Breath

Sorry I have been a little blog crazy (4 new posts in 2 days), but I have so much to say because I haven't blogged in a while.

This week at Bright Idea Learning Center we are learning about Fall. Today we were reading a story about Fall in group time and one of the pictures showed a little girl with vapor coming out of her mouth from the heat of her breath meeting the cold air outside. I asked the kids if they knew why the picture showed this, thinking they might have little experience with such cold since it doesn't get that cold very often here in Texas. One little girl answered, "I think she needs to brush her teeth!" I laughed so hard, and then explained the real reason why the lines were drawn coming out of her mouth, and why I thought that answer was so funny. The kids still didn't understand why I was laughing, and I had the hardest time finishing the book because I kept getting giggling fits every time I thought about it.

Now THAT is the perfect illustration of why I love working with kids! ;)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Good Kids









*Pictures posted with permission from BILC students' parents.
**I have no pics of the 2 new kids/haven't gotten permission to post pics of them yet as they just started this week. ;)