Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Sorry, Baby Boy


Today I built a snowman with Wesley and Lincoln.

Building a snowman meant that Maxwell cried for 5 minutes or so
and that my long list of chores to do was almost untouched.
But the snow was beckoning,
so we very hastily put together our snowy little friend--
regardless of dirty bathrooms
and a very fussy baby.

Because let's face it, Maxwell's needs almost always come first.
Sorry, baby, but one day you'll be the one begging to play in the snow.
And the dirty bathrooms will still be here tomorrow (whether I like it or not),
but the snow may not be--
and childhood will be gone before I know it.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Snaps

A few recent phone pictures from daily life lately:

Lincoln was so excited to start Sunbeams this year, and his brothers were pretty thrilled for him, too!

 I finally caved at the beginning of 2016 and got a Costco membership. Our monthly trips are always an adventure! A lady recently commented on the boys' good behavior and I told her, "They know they have to be good if they want to get the next sample!" My children are highly motivated by samples. Too bad the sample tables can't become a fixture at our house.


 The day before Groundhog Day, we went to the nature center where they were doing a presentation and some activities about groundhogs. It was an extremely cold outing, but the boys had fun regardless. And Talmage had early out, so he was able to go with us!

Sam has been reading the boys the Narnia series. One Friday night we didn't have a date night planned, so we built a blanket fort that covered the living room and the boys camped out inside while Sam read to them.

 I try to take the boys on a weekly "field trip," but sometimes I'm scraping the bottom of my idea barrel when it's winter and I want activities to be free and indoors...so then we go to City Creek and the boys play on the dinosaurs at the food court. And because I hate spending money, I buy one smoothie and split it between three cups...

It's been a busy, productive day...and now it's ten minutes before midnight and I know my alarm will be going off at 6:00 in the morning, so I suppose I'll leave it at that for now.
Happy Sabbath, dear readers!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Little Loves


Things I Loved Today:

-watching Lincoln and Wesley play with a huge ball in the church gym at playgroup
-pulling a wagon loaded with three boys through a snow storm to the school to watch Talmage's patriotic program
-seeing Talmage's face scan the crowd continually until he saw us and then the way it immediately lit up with a huge smile
-Wesley telling me the biggest cinnamon roll was for me because I'm "soo special and nice"
-Remembering Lincoln telling me last night that he wanted me to give him "a-butterfly-kiss-and-a-kiss-and-a-hug" before bed because my face is "so cozy" and he doesn't like a "spiny" face...he likes it to be "fluffy"
-staring at Maxwell's wrist-creases and knuckle dimples--two things that just about make me explode with happiness
-seeing Sam make a love note for me out of snow
-Maxwell belly-laughing when I would whisper, with a very serious face, "pop"

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bowling

There are a few relatively common things we've never done as a family.
Sam and I have never gone shopping together for clothes for me.
The boys have never gone to a movie theater (besides the IMAX once).
We've never spent a night away from our kids.
We've never had a pet.
And, until Martin Luther King Day, we had never taken the boys to go bowling.
There was a local place having a family deal, so we decided to take advantage and celebrate the time off together by bowling. (It's so great to have Sam around more on holidays more now! Grad school has definitely helped me not take time together for granted.)
We all had a great time and watching the boys heave their heavy balls brought a smile to my face.

A few years ago, I watched a home video of Sam with his siblings when he was about 9 or 10.
They were bowling, and I found it really amusing that the expression on his face stayed exactly the same whether he got a gutter ball or a strike. While his sisters were cheering with gusto, his expression said, "A strike only meant I met my expectation. Nothing more." And if his ball didn't do so well, that same expression (with perhaps a bit more tension in his jaw) was one of suppressed frustration and focus so he could do better on his next turn. It was so fun for me to see that side of him as a child and then to see how a modified version of those thoughts still exists.

Yay for bowling!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

At the Crossroads


The last week has been a little stressful from an "adulting" standpoint.
We're nearing another crossroads in our lives,
which is both exciting and a little unnerving.
I am such a planner that I start to obsess over having a long-term plan,
so I spend way too much time researching endless hypothetical scenarios.
The odd thing is, I'm totally fine with the plan changing...
I just like to have a plan in place to deviate from.

In any case, during times like this when it's not always 100% fun to be a grown-up,
I am so grateful to have kids.
They keep me grounded and bring me joy in life's simple pleasures.
A baby who has a hard time napping when the house is quiet becomes a source of peace and refreshment as I stop what I'm doing and hold him for an hour as he sleeps (with his eyes half-open).
A 3-year-old who is almost always dressed in a costume and begs to help in the kitchen becomes a source of constant amusement.
A 5-year-old who loves make-believe and creates endless works of art takes me into another world with his imagination.
A 7-year-old who comes home from school breathless, ready for his snack, and ready to fill me in on the details of his day brings new energy and enthusiasm into life.

They are constant reminders of what matters most.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My Valentines

We had a lovely Valentine's Day.
I know there are a lot of people out there who don't care for the holiday,
claiming that we don't need to buy overpriced flowers and chocolate when we should be showing love all year round...
and while I understand where they're coming from,
I love holidays because they give us a framework to make sure we put forth extra effort.
Traditions help me be more intentional about celebrations that may otherwise go on the back burner.
We should always be thankful for our blessings--
but when we participate in traditions surrounding Thanksgiving, it provides us with a framework to reflect on our blessings and teach our children gratitude. I feel the same way about Valentine's Day.
Some may be good at incorporating these and other important values sans holidays,
but I'm grateful for the motivation they give me.

The boys loved their valentines we gave them--we're slowly collecting the Book of Mormon hero figures,
so they were thrilled to each get another.
We enjoyed chocolate waffles and pink smoothies in the morning
(Lincoln exclaimed, "Are you making awfuls??? I am SOO impressed! And I am so excited to eat them!"),
and while Talmage was away at school, having his own celebration,
Wesley and Lincoln painted valentines to deliver to their friends and helped make oatmeal sugar cookies.

The boys enjoyed heart-shaped pizza while Sam and I ran out for a date
at a quaint little place called "Ti Amo Pizzeria."
Every day when we drop Sam off at the bus stop he and the boys say, "Te Amo Muchissimo!" so when he saw the restaurant it was too perfect!
It was an authentic Italian pizzeria (the owners are Italian), and since it was Valentine's Day we were serenaded by a man playing an accordion while we ate! He was seriously impressive.
Sam and I exchanged our letters to each other
and enjoyed the lights and view out our window while we talked.
Then we ended the evening with hot chocolate, reminiscing about years gone by.


I was listening to this song the other day and felt that it perfectly described the effect Sam has on me--
he anchors me in so many ways.

Monday, February 13, 2017

How We Began

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I would share some of the details of our beginnings.
It's always so fun for me to learn about how couples came to be!


"That guy is really good looking!" I whispered to my friend.
We were sitting on the front row of the mock courtroom on BYU Campus where we attended our church meetings.
We had arrived extra early since we had gone earlier to see another of our best friends speak in Church before she left on her 18-month mission, and evidently we had a new (ahem, tall, dark, handsome) person in the ward who arrived very early simply because he liked to be very punctual.

I was 18, I had been at BYU for almost a year, and although I had a few comical awkward dating stories in the books, nothing thus far had been terrible enough to give me a bad attitude about the dating game.
So it was with interest that I discreetly stole glances over my shoulder to take in the stranger with the blue tie sitting on the second-to-last row.
He was tall...well over 6 feet...with a chiseled jaw line, muscular build, slightly flushed cheeks, deep dimples, dark hair, and piercing brown eyes that seemed to see into your soul when he looked at you.
Basically, he fit my definition of attractive perfectly.

That night I had my chance to get acquainted as our ward met together for ward prayer.
He was standing behind the couch I was sitting on with my roommate
(giggling, no doubt, because it's what we did pretty much non-stop),
so I gained some composure and turned around to introduce myself.
We exchanged the typical information...name, major, hometown...
and then I was disappointed to see that, despite my encouragement to come, he didn't show up at "cheer notes" after ward prayer.

I'm not sure if it was that apparent aversion to spreading cheer,
his heavy, dark eyebrows,
or his serious disposition and careful reverence at Church,
but for whatever reason I gained the impression that he was a little grumpy.

But grumpy or not, I admired him from afar.

The Sunday I took pictures for the ward directory, I took note when he let everyone who had come to get their pictures taken go ahead of him.
And, admittedly, after the ward directory was printed, I saved his picture on my computer just because I secretly admired him.
I was impressed when he stood in Sunday School one week and announced that he and some friends from his former ward were visiting a nursing home after Church and anyone was welcome to come along. I told him after Church that I thought it was great and he asked if I was coming, but it was Mother's Day, so I was heading out of town to spend the afternoon with my family. Little did I know that they visited the nursing home every week!
I watched him leave a little early from a ward activity to do some homework and nearly ran after him in hopes of walking home with him, but I lost my nerve.
And from time to time I would tell my roommate,
"I really like that guy...but I don't know why, because I think he's grumpy!"

Finally, the stars aligned when he was called to be the secretary in the Elders Quorum Presidency.
I was the secretary in the Relief Society Presidency, so we were given an opportunity to exchange contact information and converse more at last! We chatted casually on our way to Sacrament Meeting after our meeting beforehand--we discussed the new Narnia movie and its symbolism.
I was delighted when he sat next to me, and our conversation continued off and on as our meetings progressed.
And then, that evening, he decided to come to "cheer notes"
(maybe he didn't have an aversion to cheer after all!),
and we talked. And talked. And talked.

That day, my passing admiration of that handsome new guy in the ward exploded into a bit of an obsession. I thought about him all week long. And on Saturday night, I was standing in the parking lot of our apartment complex with a group of friends when he passed.
At this point in the story, I owe my best friend and roommate a thousand thanks.
She knew of my interest in him, so as he walked by she called out, "Sam!"
The late hour meant he couldn't see us through the darkness, so he asked who was calling and she said, "It's your favorite people!"
Mr. Serious made his way over to our group, and before I knew it, I was face to face with him yet again.
And once again, our conversation spiraled off effortlessly.
Unbeknownst to me, it was then that he made the decision to ask me on a date.

Two days later, I admitted to my roommate that I really liked him.
She, the master of flirting and dating, got a scheming gleam in her eye and a smile on her face as she began to try to figure out a way to get him to ask me out.
The scheming was unnecessary, though, because that afternoon I got a voice message from him--
asking me on a date!

Do I sound desperate?
Because I had never been so excited about a date before.
I think I set a personal record as I rode my bike to campus, where my roommate and I had a class together, and shared the news with her. She obligingly shared in my giddy excitement, and after class I called him back.
As was typical for him, he was extremely polite and offered me three different options for our date.
We could check out a used book store, see "Horton Hears a Who," or see an IMAX film at the planetarium in Salt Lake City. As a physics major with more than a shallow interest in him, I definitely wanted to head up to the planetarium to allow me a long drive to get to know him, but I nonchalantly responded,
"Those all sound great! Whatever you'd like!"
"Well, it's kind of nice to get out of Provo sometimes," he said. "Let's go to the planetarium."

And so it was that the day after my 19th birthday,
he knocked on my door, escorted me down to the parking lot
and took me to El Gallo Giro (his favorite restaurant),
and then we made the hour drive to Salt Lake City.
I was surprised by how easily the conversation flowed
and how quickly we progressed beyond the typical "getting-to-know-you" topics of a first date into the realms of serious thoughts, questions, and spiritual insights.
I was totally comfortable with him and only more impressed as I learned more about him.
That night, he thanked me for the date and gave me a quick hug. For those 3 seconds I was shocked by the way I was overwhelmed with feelings of safety and security.
And then he bid me farewell, leaving me with the phrase, "Let me know if you want to do something again sometime." His words echoed through my mind long after the door had closed--
what did he mean?
Should I ask him on a date?
Should I tell him I did want to do something else?
Should I invite him to a non-date activity?
Should I play "hard to get," as some had advised in the past?

And as I lay on my bed, staring at the ceiling, a peculiar feeling washed over me...
a feeling that, given the experience and conversation I had just had,
things could go far with this boy.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

100th Day


Thursday was Talmage's 100th day of school this year.
He was supposed to bring a poster with 100 items on it,
so we decided to make an alien with 100 eyes.
Talmage did the designing, I did the cutting, and we worked on the gluing together.
He was so excited and very specific about the little details
(like the number 100 the alien is crunching up in his mouth).
It was a fun little project to work on together.

I've dreaded having our kids grow up,
but I'm learning how much fun this school stage of life is as well!
I love working on school projects with Talmage.
But, nonetheless, I'm very happy that we're 100 days of school closer to Summer.
I'm excited to have my boy back for our daily adventures.
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