Tuesday, August 18, 2015

thoughts from the park

School starts in 5 days. So I asked Kiddo if there was anything she'd like to do. "Go to the park?" she asked. Okay. So after the Boy's nap, off we went.

Part of the reason she wanted to go to the park is because she *finally* learned how to swing on her own, and wanted to practice. Because I am so ready to not push her any more, I wanted her to practice. She sang a happy song and swung for a really long time.

The Boy brought two books to the park. He was much more interested in being read to and wandering around the park with his two books than the swings, the slides, or climbing around.

And as I watch Babs emerge from the slide I thought: When did my little girl get so long and lean? Where did my little brick go? I guess she is old enough to go to kindergarten... even if I still wish it were half day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


The boy loves fruit snacks. The girls, not so much, not any more. He also knows what they're called.

Over the last little while, when I've asked "do you want a snack?" He excitedly yells "Snak! Snak!" thinking I'm about to dish out some fruit snacks. And he was so sad when I didn't. (Depending on the day, there were either tears or throwing things to express his frustration.)

So I started to rephrase things, lest I utter the word "snack." "Do you want something to eat?" is what I say now.

On Sunday night, we stayed up as a family watching a movie. Usually we put him to bed in the middle of it all, but this time we let him stay up. As we neared the end, he looked me in the eye, with the I-can-barely-talk-but-we-need-to-communicate-right-now look.

"Som-ping eat," he announced.

I was so proud. And had my husband get him an applesauce (a food he seems to enjoy, but is only willing to eat when he's really hungry).

Monday, June 15, 2015

who doesn't love an almost two year old?

This is my desktop background. It makes me laugh every time I see it. He is not in pain, just digging the sand from a drain pipe.

It is very helpful in my current attempts to see life as a series of opportunities and experiences, not obligations. I get to smile each time I use the computer.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

tiny thugs

We were at my friend's house the other day with lots of little kids playing in their backyard. Many of the very little kids (by that I mean the boy's age) kept digging in the fairy gardens that belonged to some of Babs' friends. But not my boy, because we'd been here before, so he knew better, and I was watching, because I knew better.

But other kids did dig, and this upset the older kids (Bab's age) a lot, especially the twin owners of the fairy gardens.

Babs came to me crying: "My brother is leading a baby team to go dig in the fairy garden!"

"Sweetie, he's not in the fairy garden, I've been watching."

"But they say that he's doing it, and he's getting all the other babies to help him!"

I tried to calm her down while in my head imagining the complex operation of both organizing a gang of babies, and having a 22 month old as the leader.

But rumors are persistent... my friend is still trying to convince her girls that my Boy was not the ring leader too.

(He looks guilty, don't you think?)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

popstar dreams

Babs got the movie "Barbie Princess and the Pop Star" from the library today. Since we have already read the book three or four times (also from the library), we knew the story line. As Babs heard the theme song, she was thrilled.

"This is the song from my guitar! It's a pop star guitar! You bought it for me mom, thank you!"

"Actually Grandma bought it for you."

"We need to send her a note to say thank you" she gushed. (Dear Grandma, thank you for the Pop Star guitar. If only mom would find it for me, then I could play it every day again. I love the Pop Star!)

She's had the guitar for at least two years. Before receiving the guitar, every time we'd go to Target, she would find it, and press the buttons on the display. She loved it. So I swallowed my distaste, and told Grandma it would be a perfect gift. I believe Grandma had to look at a few stores to finally get it. And it is well loved.

When we first moved into this house, before all the toys were unpacked, and the clutter reigned supreme, it was one of the girls favorite activities: They would march around our area rug, one of them "playing" the guitar while the other sang along. Hours and days of fun have come from the popstar guitar.

And tomorrow we get to watch the movie again. (I'm so excited.) Babs wants a Pop Star Barbie. And pop star boots. And a pop star dress.

She used to have a skirt that she called her pop star skirt. Since it was too small, I passed it on. But today, now that she better understands the awesomeness that is the pop star, she wants another one. Sigh.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

no walking or talking

My grandpa tells us not to teach our children to walk or to talk, because it just gets complicated after they learn those things. While I try to take his advice, I've had no luck with this particular piece. But I do recognize that he has a point.

My boy has been babbling sweet nothings behind me in the car for months now (possibly a year...). And I love it - a little background music to my life. But every once in a while I would think "Oh no! Before long there will start to be words, then I will have to listen and respond" and I would sigh, resigned that all in all, talking is a useful skill.

And now it's here.

"Knah-Knah!" "who's there?"

"Pane!" "Do you see a plane?"

"Tuck." "Yes, there's a truck."

"Buhssss." "Oh, I see the bus too."

"Choo-chooo!" "Yes, this is an overpass" (just like the one where the train is).

"Bah." "Yes, you and Babs can both have a Nutty Bar."

"Lub-lub!" "No, I don't have a drink for you. Sorry."

The redeeming side of these simple conversations, is that although I repeat what he says a lot, he's repeating what I say a lot, and adding new words every day.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

knock, knock

My children love to tell jokes, even if they're not very good at it. They especially love knock, knock jokes. And they do it often enough (and tell the same jokes enough) that my not quite 2 year old gets in on the game.

Boy: "Nah, nah!" (he will repeat this line as often as necessary to get me to give the proper response)
me: "Who's there?"
Boy: (long pause) "Tow!" (rhymes with cow) (more pause) "Moooo!" then he laughs, because he's cracked himself up. He cracks me up too.

(This is how the joke actually goes:
Who's there?
The interupting cow
The interu-
Teach it to your kids, you can enjoy it forever...)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

medium mom

Babs hates it when we get mad at her (ironic, given that she is so good at making us mad). But, we've made a concerted effort over the last few months to not get mad at her, and deal with our flash points differently. Either we don't engage in the argument, or we do things differently so there are fewer opportunities to get stressed at each other. And it's working.

But a few weeks ago, it wasn't. We needed to be in the car so we could pick Kiddo up from school. And Babs wasn't doing her part. I finally yelled, or spoke sharply, or something that she needed to sit down this instant.

Vaguely cowering (finally now) in her seat, she said hopefully "Happy mommy?" because she wanted me to be nice again. I was still stressed, but trying to calm down. "Happy mommy is not available right now" I shot back.

"Medium mommy?" she countered. And then I had to laugh.

And thus "medium mommy" has entered the lexicon. I try to be happy mommy for their sakes and mine. But sometimes I'm too tired or frustrated to have her around. So then medium mommy comes for a while. It's a compromise we can all live with.

Monday, May 4, 2015

birthday present

A few days after her birthday, Babs asked me if she got anything from preschool for her birthday.

"Yeah, you got a 'happy birthday' pencil," I replied.

"You know I can't write!" she disgustedly replied.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

the power of prayer

We try to teach our children to pray. Some days, when they are climbing all over us, and looking at each other the whole time it seems that no progress is being made. But sometimes I think we are.

Kiddo received a gift card for Christmas, but recently when we discussed using it we realized it was lost. She had taken it out of the box we put it in for safekeeping, and had packed it in one of her many bags for play one day. We prayed that we would find it, but we didn't. Many days later I was unpacking one of her bags so it could be used for something else, and there was the gift card. (Along with many, many other tiny things. That kid's like a magpie.) Kiddo exclaimed "We prayed to find it, and we did!" I was grateful that she immediately made that connection.

Babs is an odd mix of do-it-myself and you-do-it-for-me. She won't pray on her own in the evening; she expects one of her parents to feed her the lines. But, if we pray for the wrong thing, she won't say it. As we were recovering from the never-ending cold my husband prompted her, "Thank you that I'm healthy," because she was, and was about the only one right then. But, she had recently coughed, so that was not her perspective, so she changed it to "bless me that I will feel better because I'm still sick."

The Boy seems to have a special relationship with prayer. Even as a baby his behavior would often change in result of his parents fervent prayers, in a faster and different way than with the girls. (Of course, that could be because the parents are getting better at praying, but I think that's only a small part of it.) But he also loves to pray. He has folded his arms for a long time. And now he talks along with whoever is speaking. It's not uncommon for him to include at first truck noises, and now the word "truK" or "pane!" (plane). The other day as he accompanied a blessing on the food he specifically mentioned a plane. And right after one flew over our house, which he saw.

I firmly believe that was an answered prayer for my little boy. And I pointed it out as such to my family. Because surely Heavenly Father cares about my 20 month old's sincere prayer just as much as my prayers, possibly more.

Friday, April 24, 2015

running to school

I let the girls play a little too long today, and by the time we got in the car, school started in five minutes. Luckily, we only live one minute away. But another minute to walk from the place we park to the school. I encouraged Kiddo to go quickly, and I watched to make sure she got in on time.

As she ran the last distance to the door (the difference in people near the door in spring versus freezing cold winter is quite stark) I thought: She looks so little. She still is pretty small. But she's growing up a lot too. And is anxious to be grown up, but also anxious to stay little too.

I believe the thoughts in my head mirror some angst she may be feeling herself right now, about how grown up she really is... or isn't.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

about a month ago...

 After getting the boy out of his crib I went to the kitchen to finish up some dishes. It was so quiet, I finally wondered where he was.

The close up is so you understand both why he's lying on top of her, and why she's letting him.

Monday, April 20, 2015

hehp, hehp

My boy knows quite a few words. Mostly nouns though, and really no sentences or phrases yet. (Unless you count phrases like "all done" which qualify as one word to the baby vocabulary researchers, because it's a single idea.)

But he knows the word "help" and uses it frequently. Primarily it's because a toy isn't behaving as he believes it should and he wants help making it work (the train that connects magnetically comes to mind).

In fact, the first string of ideas I heard him connect was "Nu-no! Hehp!" asking his biggest sister for help with his toys. I love that he sees her as someone that can solve his problems. (His other sister can be quite helpful too when she chooses.)

About a month ago he learned to say both his sisters names. He calls out for them frequently when they're not at the house. And he's always willing to go in the car, especially to go get one of them.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

birthday party

Babs is almost 5. I asked her if she wanted a birthday party, or just do something special, and she choose birthday party. "Because then I get presents!" She wants to know all about what she's getting. She keeps reminding me that she likes "boy stuff" and not "girl stuff." She wonders what presents she is getting. In fact, every time there is a lull in the conversation she says "Okay, so let's talk about my birthday again." I've told her she is actually getting a mix of "boy" and "girl" stuff. (Although I wish we had different words for that, I suppose it is how she understands the world of toys, given that I only take them toy shopping at target. I have hidden from them the fact that other stores have toys.) I'm pretty sure she'll be happy with it. And I've managed to invite a dozen little kids to her birthday party, so there will be no lack of new stuff. (Won't she be thrilled with the thank you card part of the receiving!)

We've also discussed what we will do on her birthday. "Why am I only getting six presents on my birthday?" she wonders. She's decided to have pickles for dinner that night, although I'm allowed to have something else because I don't like pickles.

Her sincere desire to get, get, get, was underscored today by her play. She fashioned a water selling station, which required actual money to get a tea cup of water (sometimes referred to as a smoothie though). After she had a few coins she sang, "I'm getting rich! rich! rich!"

Friday, April 17, 2015

to eat or not to eat

(This picture has nothing to do with this story. This is her easter bonnet from preschool. But it's a recent picture, and her hair appears to be brushed.)

Babs had "cheerios and milk" for breakfast this morning. She dropped one cheerio on the table. And then she asked me if it was okay to eat. This is a reasonable question. According to my husband, everything that falls on the floor is immediately unclean, and most everything that falls on the table is no longer good. I, on the other hand, tend to be a bit more liberal in my interpretation of the five-second rule.

As I mentioned, I'm sick. And Babs phrased the question really oddly, so it took a while to understand what she was asking. I looked her in the eye and replied, "I don't really care what you do with that cheerio."

She looked at me for a moment, then announced, "I'm going to take that as a no," and put the cheerio back on the table.

ear infection

Over the weekend my family picked up a cold. Kiddo skipped a day of school because of it, but Babs and the Boy barely seemed phased. (Well, Babs coughs a lot at night, but it certainly hasn't slowed her down in any way...) But knocked both me and my husband down for a few days. He had a fever, and stayed home from work. And my cold morphed into a ear infection.

My children have never had ear infections. According to my mom, the last time I had one is when I was three. But I have one now. And it's pretty miserable. As is spraying saline up my nose in an effort to reduce the congestion. I am so sorry that I ever inflicted that on my children, and I've done it plenty.

So although the weather has been beautiful all week, we've driven to and from school, because that's the energy I have. I don't actually get sick very often. I'm just ready to be done.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

bananas and cheese

Babs got a Lego SuperHero book from the library, which she loves, and we've read a number of times.

She told me, "I love the part when the Joker says, 'these two guys are cheese!'"

I smiled. What the Joker says is "These two guys are bananas!" But Babs' sweet brain remembers the concept: he calls them a food. She remembers concepts, not exact words. So the translations she comes up with are always fun.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

faith in the plan

As we headed to our new building, to meet with our new congregation, two Sunday's ago, you could tell the kids were a bit nervous about the changes. Babs wanted to know why we were going to a different church (no, different building we emphasized). We explained that this is what happens with growth, and how we will still learn the same things, and church will feel the same.

Then Kiddo offered from the back, "Well, it's good that the plan is working, you know, the one to share the Gospel."

Yes sweetie, it sure is.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


You know that meeting? With all the talking? It was (as we suspected) a massive realignment of borders of units throughout the stake (two were unaffected, the other nine were.)

In an unexpected twist (for me at any rate) was the dissolution of my ward, sending some to the west, and some to the east. We will now be heading to a different ward, in a different building, at a different time (although luckily the building is no further away, just a different direction). Our new ward is one that was the most impacted, so there will be a lot of settling going on.

Babs has some friends her age coming along. Kiddo has none. I have some friends coming along, but I also have some that I am leaving behind.

My husband and I both thought we were in callings that we would be in for a long time, financial clerk and primary chorister, but now we get to try new things.

Which I guess is what church is all about, keeping the doctrine wherever you go, but having new people, new friends, and new responsibilities along the way.

I told my husband the evening after the announcement: "Rock, paper, scissors, for who goes to nursery with the boy, and who goes to primary with Babs." But I'm pretty sure he'll go with the boy, since they've been doing church together for 18 mos. now, and I'll go with Babs. Yay.

Friday, January 30, 2015

when she grows up

"I'm going to practice my whipping," announced Babs, "in case I get a lion when I grow up."

"Dad, when will you get me a real gun?"
"Well Babs, real guns aren't very fun, they can really hurt people, so you can't play with them."
"I know. I still want one."

"Mom, when will you get me real sword?" Babs asked with genuine concern in her voice.
"Well sweetie, not for a very long time. Like Daddy said about the guns, real swords can be dangerous, so you have to be older to have one."
"I know. I need one when I'm grown up."
"If you'd like to spend your money on one when you grow up, that's your choice."
"I need one so I can kill the animals I hunt. In case I am poor when I get older, then I'll have something to eat.... Or if I marry someone poor."

Sunday, January 25, 2015

what church is about

Our stake president announced that we will have a special meeting next week. Everyone assumes it's about boundary changes, but no one actually knows. I was explaining to Kiddo that we are having this meeting, and suggesting what we might be doing, without speculating on what I figure must be the real reason.

"Sharing a new recipe? Teaching us a dance? ... " and other ridiculous suggestions.

Babs broke in, letting us know exactly how she sees Sacrament Meeting. "You know what it will be about mom. Talking."

"Oh, and learning about Jesus."

Friday, January 23, 2015

sleep ninja

The other night I was kneeling by my bed, praying.

I hear my oldest daughter slip into the room quietly. She doesn't bother me while I'm praying, but just waits. I can hear her breathing behind me.

A few moments later my husband comes in, and settles into bed with a book. I think it's strange that he doesn't talk to Kiddo, but am praying, so don't spend much time worrying about it.

I finish, stand up, and turn around to talk to her. Except she's not there.

"Kiddo, get out of the closet," I order.

"How did you know I was there?" she asks as she opens the door. My husband is more than a little surprised to see her there.

"I could hear you breathing."

I don't remember which of us got to put her to bed that night. She doesn't fall asleep at night now, until around 10 or later. It's been going on for a few months, so by now we're used to her quietly creeping out of bed to come talk to us while we're doing the dishes, or sitting on the couch. But when it first started happening, she'd come so quietly, then lurk in the dark hallway, or a corner. Both parents were startled more than once.

want to read a book?

The other morning my husband was letting me sleep in. But all the kids were up, thus making noise, so I was really more thinking about getting up, while lying in my warm bed.

"Hey Buddy, wanna read a book?" I hear Babs offer to the Boy. I have never heard her say this to him before. Then I hear their little feet pad off somewhere. This gets me out of my bed.

I find them sitting on the big chair in his room, looking at his current favorite book. (I'm pretty sure she had to help him up.) She is "reading" it just like I do, commenting on the pictures, and making animal noises, with a few tractors thrown in. He is in heaven.

And I'm pretty happy too, because this is one of those glimpses that show me she's going to be just fine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

how not to say a prayer

The other night it was Babs' turn to pray. She resists this. She also resists being reverent during prayers. I have to believe it's not disrespect, but just a lack of understanding. Not that we haven't tried to show her how to pray.

So she starts her prayer with a funny voice. My husband stops her and says, "Use your big girl voice." (Not the first, or the last time, this correction is made.)

She pauses, looks directly at him, and replies, "So we shouldn't pray in a pig voice?"


"Okay," and she starts up with her regular voice.