Sunday, September 22, 2013

I miss having a record of our family! Maybe I will start posting here again...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Six Months

A couple of days ago, Finn hit six months. He has been such a joy to have in our family. Here are some things I don't want to forget:

1. He hardly cries and when he does, it's really sweet and not annoying or grating.
2. His hair sticks up straight on the crown of his head and if it weren't blond, it would look Asian. The kids love his "fuzz" and in fact, last week Ezra was kissing him and patting his head and said, "Mommy, Finn has the CUTEST ears, the CUTEST head, the CUTEST fuzz, and the CUTEST mommy! Mommy you popped out a REAL baby that has a bobbed head and the goodest face."
3. He is a very content baby. This means he is really fun to hold and he is also good in the car.
4. He is the first one of our children to have an object (besides a binky) that helps him sleep. He has this very soft velvety blanket that he sucks on when he's tired and it puts him right to sleep. A couple of times, David and I have peeked over his crib, watching him fall asleep with his blanket and it's the cutest thing.

Hmm, I am missing a lot of things. I'll try to update this later.

The Waiting Place

It has been almost a year since my last post and so I will recap what has happened:

1. We returned to the states from our year abroad and moved into Stephen and Rachel's basement (it is so much better than a basement because it's actually two stories above the ground and has incredible 360° views of the mountains).
2. Ezra started kindergarten and loved it.
3. Eli started preschool and did not like being separated from Mommy so we quit after two weeks.
4. Ezra turned 6 and lost two teeth and Eli turned 4.
5. Finn, our third boy, was born in January.
6. David finished his MPA at BYU in April.

And now we are waiting - waiting to find out what job we'll get, where we'll live, and when it all will happen. We have been working really hard applying for jobs even though it's basically complete torture, especially in this economy. And we've been working hard to stay on our game spiritually so that we can qualify for the Lord's help and guidance during such a pivotal time. And you would think that it would be wonderful having so much time together as a family, living in such a beautiful place, enjoying healthy bodies and temporal blessings like a roof over our head (thank you Stephen and Rachel!!) and a car. And while I am so grateful for all those things, it's hard not to wake up with a pit in my stomach every morning, wondering what is going to happen to us, when will we find a job, and basically, how long we can last like this. It's like being stranded on a deserted tropical island. It's so gorgeous - it looks just like the images in postcards and desktop wallpaper that office workers put up to escape from monotonous work. But it's only fun if you have the right provisions. This "vacation" would be so much less miserable if we knew it was temporary. Obviously we struggle to find peace with our situation, to have faith that things will work out, and to just be grateful and happy. I constantly fluctuate between being motivated and faithful to frustrated and worried.

We fed the chickens and watered the garden and then Ezra wanted to jump on the trampoline. David came out with Finn and we all ended up together and Ezra was so happy. He jumped so high and yelled, "family time!" with a huge smile on his face. Then Eli wanted to show off how he could jump off a high rock. It took a few minutes for him to gain the courage and let go of my hand but then he did it and was so proud of himself. He was squeezing my hand very hard and then when he finally gathered up enough courage, he yelled, "okay let go!"

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Last Sunday in Laos

Since the only branch of our church in Laos is in Vientiane (an overnight bus-ride away), the Mission President gave us permission to hold sacrament meeting in our home while we have lived here. It's been a really wonderful experience in a lot of ways. We've kept it short (usually around 45 minutes) and simple for the kids and in a way, it's been really nice to focus on the simple elements of the gospel and on the sacrament. Though I am really looking forward to being part of a ward, I admit I will miss our sweet, simple family meetings each week.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chelsea in the Paris Metro

I thought I could draw

I have been coveting my friend Anna's duty board for weeks and have been brainstorming ways to make it for our boys. My dad can do the wood work, but as far as the cards go, I didn't know. I looked online and all the clipart for chores was just hideous. So finally I thought, "hey, I can just draw the pictures." I was feeling pretty good about myself until I got to "homework".  Check it out. It makes me snicker every time I look at it.

spelling list

I told Ezra to practice his spelling list words this week and he decided to take it a step further by writing them out on tiny pieces of paper. This was kind of a triumph for me because having him practice spelling has not been the easiest thing. There has been some tears. He doesn't particularly like rote memorization (who does?) and so I try to mix things up. But in the end, you just have to put in the time and effort and practice if you want to learn things. The other day, we were having this discussion and finally Ezra said, "Daddy says sometimes we have to do hard things." Yes, thank you Daddy for saying that and thank you Ezra for remembering it at such an appropriate moment. So then he decided to continue writing the words out and was so proud of himself at the end.

Anyway, this event (picture below) happened a few days later and it made me happy to see that he was making it fun all by himself.


A couple of images from last night and this morning.

It was not cool outside (90 degrees) but Eli loves this shirt and calls it his "Christmas shirt".

Ezra reached his arm around Eli and Eli patted his hand.

Ezra's Preschool is now in session.

I was doing the dishes this morning and not really paying attention to what exactly the boys were doing - though they sounded busy and not unhappy. Then I looked up and saw that Ezra had written out the alphabet on a piece of paper, taped it on the wall, and then had Eli sitting in a little chair, saying the letters one by one. I stopped and watched them for awhile and it was the best! Ezra was really trying to help Eli and was doing a good job not getting frustrated. He was really encouraging, and Eli was trying hard to get the letters right. Ezra promised to give Eli his bear if Eli learned all of the letters.

Cool Bug

The kids came across this cool bug this morning. At first we weren't sure if it was alive, but after some blowing and poking it with a blade of grass, its head popped out and then it flew away. I love the jewel green color! Nature always amazes me and for me, is inexorably tied to love - God's love for us that He would create this world with all its beauty.

The red on Eli's forehead is not (for once) a booboo. He and Ezra got into the finger paints and were pretending to be warriors.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

I have a mistake in me

Tonight before bedtime this conversation occurred:

Ezra: (Guiltily) Mom, I have a mistake in me.
Me: What is it?
Ezra: In the mornings, I sneak treats.
Me: (Anxious to know exactly what treats so that I could find a better place to store them) Which treats do you sneak?
Ezra: Things like peanut butter, salt, sugar, sprinkles, lollipops, and those things in the freezer (which don't have an English name and we only got them for their b-day parties so he doesn't know what to call them - they are kind of like gelatin otter pops).

I assured him that we would find a better place for those things so he wouldn't be tempted. I found his list amusing though, because I knew about the occasional lollipop or yogurt, but the pb, salt, sugar and sprinkles were all new to me.

I also love the language kids use - "I have a mistake in me" is not the way most people would say it, maybe, "I made a mistake" or "I'm having trouble with something." But I like those words because somehow they give more insight into his personality and how he feels about the thing he's been doing.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ezra's 5th and Eli's 3rd Birthdays

The boys' birthdays were today (the boys' birthday was today? I'm still not sure on the grammar - they each have a birthday but it is only one day. Someone help me please.) Their neighborhood friends came over and it turned out really well.

The kids came in the morning about an hour early to do yard work and help decorate. And then after the party they stayed to help clean everything up (including mopping). They are good kids and now that I have experienced a party like this, it's going to be hard to not expect something like that for future parties ("You're invited to Ezra's 6th Birthday! Please come an hour earlier to help set everything up and plan on staying until the mess is gone.")

I'm going to add more to this post tomorrow but I need to go to bed now.

Monday, May 09, 2011

(just a few reasons) Why My Mom is AWESOME

This was in my 'edit' bin since Mother's Day and I haven't been able to publish it until now. I love you Mom - you really are the best.

  1. She loves the power of nature and gets excited at any kind of major storm.
  2. She's watched Oprah since Oprah was tubby and wore big blue polyester articles, yet is not duped by the awesomeness of the being that is OPRAH (she has a very keen ability to discern truth and error).
  3. She loves good music and always has it playing (when appropriate - she also senses preemptively when music in the background is about to turn into the kind that makes you feel like your hair is on fire, and will not tolerate even really good music if it threatens to destroy the peace or ruin a conversation). Also, listening to awesome music is the only way to clean (i.e. Billy Joel's An Innocent Man album - I will never forget dancing around to Uptown Girl and cleaning in our Grand Canyon house).
  4. She has an incredible balance of knowing the importance of the spirit of the law, yet doesn't tolerate excuses for disobedience to God's commandments.
  5. She LOVES a fun time, and infused her kids with this same love. Car trips were a blast - even if we had crispy hair and we slept on the floor of the van, or got touched by our siblings (my siblings would understand what I'm saying here). We would learn parts to songs and harmonize together, or play word games, or listen to great music and look out the window and think how awesome it was that we were born into this family.
  6. Maybe this goes in the music section, but I think it deserves it's own paragraph. When I was in middle school she came downstairs one evening and proceeded to perform a dance routine she had choreographed to "What A Fool Believes" by the Doobie Brothers. She had never done that before and hasn't done it since but I think it was officially the coolest thing my mom has ever done.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Buddha Cave, Khammouane, Laos

We had a teacher conference in ThaKhaek which is about 90 minutes away. The first round of workshops ended a bit early, so all the teachers decided to go visit a local tourist attraction about 30 minutes away. It's this cave full of old Buddha statues that was discovered by a local in 2005 or something. It has a beautiful pool of water below it and the entrance to the cave is about 50 feet up. They have stairs leading up to it now but I wonder how people used to access it.
They were really particular about things like women must wear a skirt (luckily I was already wearing one but the teachers weren't so lucky, see pics below) and no photography inside the cave. That's great. We are really particular about how we treat our churches and temples so I totally get that. But why is there a bunch of trash in the blue lagoon down below? What about the fridge inside the cave? There were all these old statues and then a fridge and then more statues. Plus, dust kind of creeps me out. It gives things an authenticity I guess but I'd rather they were clean so I could see what they looked like when they were made.
Sorry for the complaints - it was a really fun trip and the surrounding karst topography is really beautiful.

During the rainy season this area is a marsh.

The teachers borrow skirts

One of the Thai teachers brought his daughter along

I'm not sure why I had them stand behind the rock. There, perfect. Now you each have one foot hidden.

A lady was selling all kinds of medicinal forest products - there were some hooves and other various animal parts. This wood is supposed to cure some stomach disease. The sap was really dark red.

I almost photoshopped out that drink container behind me but decided to leave it to show the reality of most beautiful, tourist sites - the natural beauty is really incredible but there is litter everywhere. It's like biting into a gorgeous chocolate cake and finding a hair.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

We had a special Easter Sunday today. There are only brown chicken eggs here and of course no dye, so I wasn't expecting much from our food coloring/brown eggs combination. But aren't they pretty? I actually prefer these colors to the typical Paz set from the supermarket. Of course I dumped at least a teaspoon of food coloring into each small glass so I wasn't messing around.

It took only about one minute for the darker colors to set and three minutes for the orange and green. I didn't boil the eggs because we were going to use a bunch of them for German Pancakes. So after they were dry, I blew out the insides and then we used the colored blown eggs later for the treasure hunt. David made little clues and we stuffed them inside the egg shells.

A blurry picture of the German pancakes:

I don't have a picture of our church meetings but they were special as well. I spent a long time preparing the lesson about Christ's resurrection in a way that they would be able to understand and that Ezra wouldn't get nervous. He kind of freaks out when we talk about death or Heaven. So I wanted to concentrate on the fact that we are happy, that we celebrate Easter because Jesus came back to life and He's still alive. I made a little Powerpoint presentation with the Primary cutouts and then traced a picture of the tomb, the stone, and Jesus. It was simple and no one freaked out and I think they understood it.

Before the main lesson we did a mini lesson about our bodies and spirits and used gloves to represent our bodies (hands = spirits). It worked and it was neat to see the recognition spread across their faces when we talked about the Savior's spirit and body and what it means to be resurrected.

Preparing stuff for Easter gave me a good opportunity to think about what the Savior has done for us and how incredible it is that we will all get our bodies back, in perfect form.

Friday, April 22, 2011


A few times a week these guys will get into the dress-up clothes and pretend play for awhile. Today, they chose their superhero gear because they were inspired by the fruit cushions that came with the apples from the market, and their rediscovered Spiderman rubber bands (see their legs). Also, Ezra worked all morning on his stick-leaf "umbrella". The capes (created by Marisa) completed the effect.