Things I never knew

1.  How many people have had their jaws wired shut or knew someone who did have their jaw wired shut.

2.  How much I take for granted yawning, sneezing, smiling, talking, eating, sleeping.

3.  How much it hurts to watch someone I love go through so much pain.

4.  How much I LOVE serving my family and especially Scott.

5.  How hard it is to hear of  stories in similar accidents as Scott with miracle outcomes.

6.  How even though the accident wasn’t injury-free, there are little blessings in everything.

7.  How hard it is to tell your kids when they wake up on Rachel’s fourth birthday that their Daddy had been in an cycling accident and has a bunch of owies on his face.

8.  How much strength can be given through a single prayer.

9.  How many people care about us.

10.  How so very very very grateful I am that Scott’s injuries were not worse–that everything is able to heal albeit painfully–that he is not paralyzed or worse.

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She’s here!

I’m sure that’s why some of you are still checking this blog!  We welcomed our new daughter Halle!

She has tons of dark hair and was a chub at 9 lbs 9 oz and 22 1/2 inches long.  We are doing great and Katie and Rachel love to hold her.   When Rachel got her first chance to hold her at the hospital, she sat down and said, “I’ve got my baby hands ready!”

Rachel’s sweet and sour

img_1087-blogRachel’s sweet and sour tonight was:

“My sweet is that Daddy has to go to a meeting.
My sour is that my Mommy stayed home all day.”

Well, we both made it into Rachel’s sweet and sour today.  I laughed hard…and then the song that came into my mind was:

“I’m so glad that Daddy has to go
Glad as I can be…”

Happy Easter!

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Rachel’s thinking “What kind of a silly hat are you wearing?”

Highlights of our Easter:

  • Easter baskets–the bunny brought candy and scooters for each of the girls
  • Dinner with my parents, grandma, sister, and her kids
  • Finding out some interesting information from my grandma that I did not know before*
  • Church–listening to beautiful songs, lessons, talks, and testimonies of my Savior

*My grandma served a mission in the Western States mission before she married my grandpa.  I asked her how many sisters were in her mission at the time (assuming there probably weren’t many) and she surprised me by saying there were 10-12.  That was more than I had anticipated.  Then she surprised me again by saying there weren’t any elders.  WHAT!?!? I said.  She told me that the Church was not calling elders at the time–World War II was going on.  So the men were tied up with the war or the draft.  However, as she was transferring from Denver to New Mexico, the Church sent the first group of elders to their mission. For a while, all of the missionaries met together for dinners and meetings.  And part of that group was a handsome young man that would later become my grandfather.  They saw each other a few times before Grandpa left for Nebraska and Grandma left for New Mexico, but really met and became acquainted later at a mission reunion in Salt Lake.

Half vacation

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Scott and I live approximately six miles from both sets of parents.  It’s so convenient for many reasons–one of them being that when our siblings come to visit our parents, we get to see them as well!  This past week, both of my sisters were in town so it was a family reunion in a way.  My girls had a lot of fun going over most days to see their aunts and cousins (and of course, grandparents).  My grandma also came to visit.

Even though there are a lot of conveniences living close to my parents, one disadvantage is that all last week I felt like I was on a half vacation.  We spent most of the day over at my parents’ house, but then we would come home, eat dinner, sleep, breakfast, and then head back over.  The house still got messy, there was still meal prep and dish clean-up, I didn’t take as much time to clean as I usually would and the laundry still had to be done.  So spending all my days over at my parents’ house led to general messiness at my house  (which hopefully doesn’t happen if you are really out of town.)

Another disadvantage (which could be construed as an advantage depending on how you look at it) is that we don’t usually spend the nights there.  So we get left out of the adult conversation and sometimes games that happen after the kids go to bed and the kids get left out of spending the night at Grandma’s house.  However, this is also an advantage.  We get to sleep in our own beds (which are always superior to sleeping anywhere else because they are the ones we are used to), and my kids are with me in my own home.  So I know that they are safe and close.

I wouldn’t have it any other way really.  I feel blessed that we live so close and that my  kids get to develop relationships with their grandparents that I didn’t get to develop with mine.

One of our favorite toys

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Katie and I pulled out the blocks today that she received as a birthday present one year from her grandma (maybe her second?  or third?  I really can’t remember now.)  And I was reminded how much I like these blocks.  They are painted really fun colors and the best part are the little animals and people.  Whoever painted them was really creative!  The idea is really simple–the animals and people are both made out of wood doll heads or pegs that can be found at a craft store.  So if I was that creative or patient, I could make my own.

And I love watching Katie and Rachel construct buildings and imagine what the people are doing.  Rachel is more into building towers and she loves it when Scott or I build a tower and then she gets to knock it over.  Katie really likes to build houses and put the people and animals inside it.  Today Katie and I built a bridge with a pathway leading to it.  I tried to put the dog under the bridge, but she told me what there was water there.  She was ok with the duck under the bridge because ducks can swim.

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Spring is coming…

At least that’s what I tell myself. I was really excited at the end of February when it started to get really warm.  But then it snowed and it has stayed pretty cold since then.  However, the sun was out this afternoon and although it was a bit chilly, we went outside for some fresh air.  The girls had a good time swinging.  Then after dinner, we went for a quick walk.

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And my starts for my garden are coming up.  I just love watching the new plants stick their heads up from the dirt.  Here’s to hoping for lots of beautiful flowers and delicious vegetables this year!

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Daily Family Traditions

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Play everyday…sometimes with blocks (as above), or sometimes store, camping, airport, hospital…any number of highly imaginative games.

Wake girls up (usually)

Read scriptures

Pray

Eat breakfast together (and dinner)

Read stories after scriptures and before bed.  (I usually read one to one girl and Scott usually reads one to the other.)

See if the dog around the corner (his name is Bear) is there everytime we drive past.  And if he’s not, he’s usually eating a “teddy bone” for lunch.

Wave at daddy every morning and flash the outside porch light at him as he rides his bike to work.

When Daddy gets home, the tradition is to either squeal and run to the garage door or squeal and hide from him.

Parenting tips: The Essential Things

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“These are essential things which must be done before nonessential things. These are simple, indispensable practices that almost seem mundane when we talk about them… No one can do these things for us—these are personal practices and habits that set us apart as strong and immovable for that which is correct.”  (Sister Julie B. Beck, General Relief Society meeting, October 2007)

“Some uses of individual and family time are better, and others are best. We have to forego some good things in order to choose others that are better or best because they develop faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and strengthen our families.”  (Dallin H. Oaks, October 2007  General Conference)

Four things which are essential to strengthening home and families:

Family Home Evening

Every Monday night.  And make sure each one includes gospel instruction.

Meaningful Family Prayer

Twice a day.  President James E Faust in the October 2005 Ensign of an experience that a bishop had with President Kimball.

“Years ago, Bishop Stanley Smoot was interviewed by President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985). President Kimball asked, ‘How often do you have family prayer?’  Bishop Smoot answered, ‘We try to have family prayer twice a day, but we average about once.’ President Kimball responded, ‘In the past, having family prayer once a day may have been all right. But in the future it will not be enough if we are going to save our families.’”

Family Scripture Study

Each child has their own copy of the scriptures with a marking pencil.  The scriptures are a workbook.  Each child should also have their own copy of the General Conference Ensign and there should be family home evenings taught of that.

Temple Attendance

Attend regularly and consistently.

The parenting class teacher encourages us to do, with exactness, those four things.  I first took this class a year ago (yes, it is my second time in the class…and if you think I need to retake it, just know that there are others that have been attending 5+ years!) and I have to admit that I have made great strides in those four areas–I am not quite to the exactness part, but I have improved immensely.

How I am doing:
Family Home Evening–we are pretty consistent and usually have gospel instruction.  I would like to add more lessons coming from talks from General Conference.
Meaningful Family Prayer–we do alright at night prayers, but we could improve our morning prayers (like actually have them) and improve the “meaningful” part.
Family Scripture Study–We do great at reading…but we should improve the “study” part.  Occasionally we ask the girls questions about what we read.  I am going to improve my efforts when checking for understanding and application.  (See this post about understanding and application.)
Temple Attendance–This is the area where I have seen the biggest improvement in myself.  Thanks to several friends who have helped me get there by inviting me and being so consistent when going.

One year ago

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Look at how little Rachel was!  I can’t believe that only one year ago she looked that small.  And those cheeks!  So cute.  I am already mourning that my girls grow so fast.  I tell them that they have to stay little forever.  But I have to be careful how often I say that because Katie gets sad.  I’m sure she is having an internal battle–wanting to grow big, but wanting to please her mommy.  The last time I said it, Katie started to get sad and said, “But mom!  I want to be big!”  So I had to assure her that I wanted her to be big too.  And that’s true…I do want her to grow up and learn to do things herself because that is Heavenly Father’s plan.  But there is a part of me that grieves when I look back at these pictures.

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(Katie doesn’t look she has changed that much)

I’m sure that is part of being a mom…I have heard many moms talking about how they miss their kids when they are all at school and how when the last one goes to college it takes some time to adjust to that.  So I know I am not the only one who mournes as the children grow.

It makes me think of President Monson’s talk from last General Conference, “Joy in the Journey.”  He says, “If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will–to your surprise–miss them profoundly.”

What’s the key to finding joy in my journey?  I found it in President Monson’s talk:  “Our realization of what is most important in life goes hand in hand with gratitude for our blessings.”  Gratitude…that I have had two beautiful girls who keep me laughing and loving every day of my life.  And the other key?  (This one is not in President Monson’s talk…it is loosely based on The Family: a Proclamation to the World, paragraph 7) Making memories with them.  Finding time to spend every day playing or doing something fun together creates memories that I’ll have forever even if I won’t have Katie at four years old and Rachel at two.  And of course, I take lots of pictures and my goal to start using our video camera more during everyday activities at our house.

Speaking of everyday activities…have you heard of this?  You take pictures of your daily activities on the 12th day of every month for a year.  I think I might try it…it would be a great way to document your everyday life.

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