Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pilgram Hats and Jumping Jacks

I recently subscribed to the Family Fun Magazine. The other day, I was looking through their November/December issue and saw these cut little pilgram hats. They were soooo easy to make. As anyone who knows me can attest, I am not a crafty person. All you do is melt a bag of chocolate chips, get big marshmallows, dip them in the melted chocolate, place them on an upside down kebler stripped cookie and once the chocolate has hardened, get decorators frosting and draw little belt buckles. Like I said, so easy.

We brought the johnny jumper up the other day. There has not been a single time I've put Jefferson in it, that he gets upset. In fact, the other day when I put him in it, he wasn't too happy to be put down, but as soon as he realised he could jump and turn around, he was off. Anyway, I just had to get some vieo of this cute little guy jumpin' about.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving FHE

Some days, you just feel that no matter what happens, its going to be a bad day. Sometimes those days go into weeks. These last few days would be like that. For some reason, we just get out of rhythm as a family and it takes a few rough days to get back into that groove. Today, was no exception. We were at my in laws last night talking about an inservice that my mother-in-law is required to attend on dealing with kids who have adhd, Autism, aspergers...Some of the things she was saying sounded really good to try on my kids. Well, this morning, as we were getting ready for school, I told the kids the rules of the discipline game we were going to be trying today. I would ask them once, count for ten seconds, ask them again, wait ten seconds, then tell them their concequence for not obeying. They both understood the rules and we were off. Well, later in the day, after Tyler got home from kindergarten, we got to try it out. She didn't do so well. She lost desert after family home evening. If you know Tyler, you would have thought I just cut a leg off. Next we have this evening with Tanner. I did this for getting him to put his coat and backpack away. He lost deseret after family nigth as well. Our lesson didn't go along with this little lesson we learned during the day, however when it came time to follow up on our agreement, things went down hill. They both started claiming that they have the WORST life. That they never get anything and life isn't fair. Well, I decided to nip this in the bud. So told them, that with Thanksgiving this week, we were going to make a list of all the things we were greatful for. To get our number of items we needed to come up with, Tyson said we should add all our ages together. So with Tyson's 30 years, my 22 years...ok, maybe its 28 years, Tanners 7, Tylers 5 and Jakes 2, we needed to come up with 72. We went around the family and everyone got equal say in our list. Jake of course needed some help otherwise we would have had all the Sesame Street and Barney characters. But without further adeu, our Thanksgiving list.
1. Family 2. Clothes 3. Elmo 4. Jobs 5.House 6. Toys 7. Talents 8. Barney 9. Car to Drive 10. Food to eat 11. Furniture 12.Babybop 13. Frindships 14. Gospel 15. Health 16. Neighbors 17. Shrek 18. TV 19. Piano 20. Education 21. Pictures 22. Turkeys 23. Cartoons 24. Mountains 25. Freedom 26. Night 27. Birds 28. New Toothpaste 29. Humor 30. Challenges 31. Grass 32. Air 33. Blankets 34. Play with kids 35. Church Calling 36. Zoo 37. light 38. Nursery 39. Bring treats home 40. Gym 41. Body 42. Ancestors 43. Child Center 44. Books 45. Good Advice 46. Jewelry 47. Time 48. Water 49. See Tyler Dance 50. Scriptures 51. Music Organizer 52. Teachers 53. Sippy cup lids 54. Dads good looks 55. Internet 56. Butterflies 57. Baseball 58. Wii 59. Music 60. Plumbing 61. Washing Machine 62. Christmas 63. Gas under $2 64. Jesus 65. New Years Resolutions 66. Movies 67. Presents 68. Treats 69. Someone took a chance on me(That would be one of Tyson's) 70. Building Family Memories 71. Princesses and Rainbows 72. Prophet 73. Santa 74. Snow capped Mountains 75. pet crabs 76. Other peoples junk 77. Coupons 78. Disneyland 79. Childrens laughter 80. Guitar 81. piggy back rides to bed

As you can see, we exceeded our added amount of 72. I think they might have gotten the point of this exercise...or maybe not, because they again, started complaining that they never get anything and wanted desert after FHE. Oh well, maybe after doing our Thanksgiving exercise at least ever Thanksgiving, it MIGHT start to make sense...or maybe not until they have kids of their own, but isn't that how it goes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

WARNING...its a long one...

Its official, this has, without any doubt, been a bad mom day. And I wasn't even with them for a chunk of the afternoon. What, might you say, would have made me such a bad mom today? Nothing in particular, but some days are better than others. So I just wanted to write a tribute to each of my kids, even though they don't read this, but someday, when I'm six feet under, maybe they'll come across this and see that I really did love them, and appreciate all the many little lessons that they teach me. And how much I enjoy learning how to be an eternal family with them. Wich some days, like today, can proove more challenging than not. But life is a process. You may not be interested in reading this, because these are just some of my personal feelings and thoughts.

My dear Tanner. I know being the oldest is hard me, I know. I remember a letter that grandpa Stauffer wrote me when I was having a hard time with all the responsibilities I felt were placed on me. Being the oldest is not an easy job. You will hear more often than not, that your younger sister and brothers are watching and following your example. They truely are, but I know that you are a good kid and understand what a huge responsibility that is. Your mom and dad expect a lot from you, and sometimes that will seem overbearing. Be patient with us, as you are our firstborn and we are learning through this process of parenting. You are so full of love. Not only for your family but for everyone around you. Just this week you told me how dad had given you an extra quarter to buy chocolate milk with at school, but instead, chose to have normal milk, because one of your classmates didn't have money for a drink. Even though it takes a few times of asking you to do something sometimes, you never complain to do what is asked of you. I love that you are best friends with your sister Tyler. Just this morning, as we dropped you off at your play practice, she said that sometimes when you are gone, she feels alone. Even when mom and dad are with her. I know the two of you were best friends before you came to this earth. Remember how much fun you have playing together, and strengthen your relationship. Tanner, I love you and am so glad that you came to me on the late Saturday night. Both dad and I were so excited to finally meet this little guy. Every night, while I was pregnant with you, dad would sing to you and read you Dr. Seusse books. After you were born, we continued this practice as we were preparing you for bed. This is something that has carried on with you even to this day. I love that you are always so happy, that you can be heard humming a little tune, not so quietly, but you always have a tune. And your love of reading has continued to grow. You are so smart and do so well in school. Keep working hard and all of that will pay off for you as you go through your education. I love you Tanner. Thanks for being patient with me as I practice my parenting skills and try to improve on them.

Tyler, Tyler, Tyler...what can I say. I love you so much. I know we have our female clashes, but through each of those, we are becoming better friends and that is something that I hope will just strengthen as you get older. You have such a strong personality. You know what you want, and are not afraid to let us know what you want, and you are very good to stand your ground. I love that you are such a daddy's girl. There is no doubt that you are his little princess. You are so lucky to have an older brother that loves you and even though you guys fight at times, I love that you are best friends. You are a very social girl and have lots of friends. You were so anxious to come to this earth, that you surprised dad and me by being born only three minutes after getting to the hospital. You didn't want to wait for us to get settled, and that's great. Like I said, you know what you want and you'll do what you have to. I hope that you will learn how to tame that, and use it for good. You are such a good little mom to Jake and Jefferson, and even though you are not the oldest, Jake looks up to you and idolizes you. When you first started kindergarten, he had a really hard time and always asked when you were going to be home. I love that you'll play for hours in your own little world. Whether its with you dolls or your own imagination and the friends you see, that no one else does. I wish that you would perform while we were video taping you instead of claming up in front of the camera, because you're so cute when you pretend to be the Little Mermaid, sitting on the couch flapping your fin, (legs and feet). Everything about you is girl. Your favorite color is pink, and most of the time, you will be seen wearing a pink shirt and or pink skirt. You always have a rhythm to dance to. Whether its in the parking lot at a store with no music, or in the mall shopping around, listening to the music over the speaker system. I want you to know that I love you and hope that we can be best friends when you get older and get to the age when you don't want anything to do with your parents. But I hope that we can be the exception to that rule.

What a little tease you are. Everything about you spells mischief. You have a very contagious smile. While at the same time, looking as though you're hiding something. I love this stage of life that you are in. Most people might say having a two-year-old is trying and difficult, I'm enjoying this stage so much. I love that you love baby so much. And I think its so cute that you have given Jefferson this name of baby, because Jefferson is to difficult for you to say. I love that you are so excited about everything. You are such a little boy. From immitating Hulk Smash by hitting your fists to the ground, to finding little bugs fascinating, and finding pure delight in torturing Tanner and Tyler. You are so little, its so crazy to me to think that you are indeed old enough to be going on the big boy potty and doing the things that you do. You are very independant, but at the same time, need your mom and dad around. I love that you look up to your brother and sister so much, and in your mind, see yourself just as big as they are. While I haven't had you around for as long as Tanner and Tyler, I still feel a special connection to you. Maybe its because you gave us a scare when you were first born, being so little. You don't realise how much of a difference a pound makes, until you're holding a five pound baby compared to a six pound baby. I love that you are still little so that I can cuddle with you. I love that you will let me still cuddle with you. I just want you to know that I love you and your tough guy personality for such a little guy.

My baby Budha! I'm not quite sure where all of your little rolls came from, but I love every single one of them and want to just eat you up. Even though you are only four months old, I still feel like you've been with me forever. I love your little smiles and the fact that any little thing will make you smile. I love that just stroking my finger across one of your chins will make you laugh. And that you find such great delight in the simple little things like riding on my legs like a horse or flying above my head as super baby. You like when we talk to you and I love the high little squils you make in the morning letting me know you are awake and ready for your daily dose of entertainment. I couldn't have asked for an easier baby to come as number 4. Even though I have felt an impact adding another child, its certainly not because you are hard. Its just an increase in numbers I'm trying to get used. But like a champ, you tag along for the ride and take what you can get. I love the fact that you suck your thumb. You are the only one that has taken on that little habit. While I would like it if you'd take a binki, I think that sucking your thumb is just as cute. I just wish you'd use it to soothe yourself instead of feeling like you need to be hooked onto me for that. I love you and even though you should be sleeping through the night, I love waking up with you and night and the extra time I get to just sit with you while no one else is demanding my time. I'll even stay up a little longer just holding your sleeping little body smelling your baby smells that I love so much. Thank you for being such a fun, cute and good little guy. I love you!

Every day I pray for the patience I need to be a better mom, and each day I'm working a little harder to put the patience into practice. I do love my kids and I hope they know that.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Family pictures

Before I start with the explanation of this post, I just have to say, we had a busy day as far as moms go. Today while I was teaching piano, Jefferson decided to try his hand at rolling over and went from his back to his front. YEAH!! He's done it two more time since then. He's almost there from tummy to back, but I'll give him a few more days on that one. Also, tonight while I was getting ready to start dinner, Jake came into the kitchen trying to take his shirt off, telling me he had to go potty. I asked him if he needed to go potty and he said yes, so we went into the bathroom, stripped him down and sat on the potty. I told him to go tinkle, I know, its a very grown up word, but after I said that, he went a little bit, so I got excited for him and he went some more. YEAH!! We might be seeing the end of his diaper days. I hope. He went again as we were getting ready for bed. I'm so excited. Now, on to the rest of the post...

A few weeks ago, I enlisted in my sister-in-laws help to get some family pictures done. For some reason, I have felt like we need to get a family picture. She did a great job! The hard part is getting four kids to cooperate so you can find a decent picture that someone isn't picking a nose, or making a funny face in. So, that being said, these are the ones that worked out and look the decision as to which one of the family ones to blow up and hang on my wall. So, anyone who has an opinion, I'm open to them. These are the decisions I don't like to make.
I know a lot of these are very similar, but there is a slight difference.

I like this one. My sister-in-law is trying to manipulate the picture to see if they can't get Jefferson's eyes opened and Jakes hand out of his mouth. I hope it works.

These are just a few of the kids pictures. I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but I'm sure I'll figure something out.

We had to wake Jake up from a very short nap on the way up the canyon. He wasn't too happy about it, and as such, didn't really work with us on getting a good picture with his cute smile. Instead he has to have this terrified look on his face.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Invisible Moms...

My mom sent this to me, and I started to send it to those in my address book who might also be an invisible mom, but then realized, it would reach more if I posted it to my blog. So, for all you invisible moms, enjoy. Sorry, no pictures this time. :)

Invisible Mother......
It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously, not.

No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated sum a cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going; she's going; she is gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England ..

Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in.

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.'

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .

I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription:

'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over.. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'
At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life.
It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself.. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'you're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.

And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.*

Great Job, MOM!** *

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Who says Lions aren't cute!!

It is now November 1st and all we have to show from Halloween are two bowls FULL of worthless candy!! Our day was actually rather busy. After Jake and I sent Tanner and Tyler to school, we hurried and got ready to see them at their school parade. I wasn't going to go, but asked both of them if they wanted us to come and they said yes. So we got Jake's Elmo costume on and Jefferson's Lion costume and headed out the door. We stayed for the parade then left with Tyler and headed up to Tyson's work to have lunch with him and parade our costumes around up there. When we got home, we cleaned up the house and got ready to trick or treat.
Jake wasn't a big fan of this thing called Halloween. When we got to the elementary school, we walked in the cafeteria where the parade was to take place and he saw a witch and that was the end of that. He didn't want to look at anyone and didn't want me to put him down at all. He was crying at first, but I settled him down after a few minutes. At dads work, once he figured out he got candy, he was ready to go for the day.

I wasn't going to dress Jefferson up, just because he's a baby and usually its too cold for the babies to go out anyway, but this year was unusually warm, so I was digging through the costume box and found a lion hood that my sister sent me for Tyler's first Halloween, I think. Anyway, I decided if I could find the rest of it, we'd dress him as a lion. He is the cutest lion I've ever seen.

We went to our church parking lot around 5:45 and did a trunk or treat, then about an hour later, came home and hit up the houses in the neighborhood for candy. Like I said, all we have to show from this wonderful day is two bowls full of candy. Can you tell I'm not a huge fan of the day we call Halloween? I'm not sure why I don't care for it. Maybe its the lack of self control to refrain from eating all the candy. I don't know. I'm just a boring person. At our trunk or treat, someone asked where my costume was. I told him I hate Halloween and he couldn't believe it. Oh well.
Anyway, I've got a few pictures of the kids. Tyler was Mariposa and Tanner was Prince Caspian. They had fun, and that's really what matters.
Tyler at the school parade
Tanner at the school parade

Just as a random thing, I wanted to post this little blurb of Jefferson laughing and somewhat talking better known as squealing. I have family that doesn't get to see him growing up so this is for them. The video is more laughing than talking. He'll be squealing and I'll take the camera out and he stops. So I'll still try and get better video with him talking. And for the record, he is just a hip flip away from rolling over! That was his big thing today while we were watching the intense moments of the BYU football game. I think I was more excited about him being so close to rolling over than anybody else was, but somebody had to break the tension!!