Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter is Here

It is cold outside - at 10 pm it is 49 degrees and for Florida that is cold. It got to about 54 degrees today and it was very windy. With the sun shining it wasn't too bad, but with the sun gone down, it feels like winter (or at least fall). I am cold intolerant now, or maybe it's because I don't own a coat, and it is colder than just sweater weather.
Anyway, I opted to not take my children to the park, even though I told them this morning that we would go, because I didn't want to be out in the cold. I think if it hadn't been windy I would have been okay, but the wind was very blustery and I didn't want to be out in it.

The wind has been around for a few days. Saturday was windy, but warmer - in the 60's. I did a photo shoot for my friend and despite the wind we were able to get some fun family photos at the pier.

My favorite was the feet picture - I've always wanted to do one of those.

Tonight when I put Becca to bed she wanted me to read books. I asked her to read to me. So she read "Rapunzel" to me. A book or two after Rapunzel she picked it up and said, "Mom I'm not going to read this one again because it is too scary".
I think she said that because the picture of the witch that takes Rapunzel is very scary looking in the particular book that we have.
She was so cute to read me book after book. Then I sang her some Primary songs and Christmas songs and she quietly drifted to sleep.
I was able to have such a nice bedtime with her because Lydia had fallen asleep much earlier, so I was able to have just me and Becca time.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wednesday Words

Although it is cool weather outside today, it is not as cold as yesterday, when I had to turn the furnace on because I was too cold in my house. I love the chill of the air outside and the warm air coming from the vents, blowing down on me. When I was a child our vents were on the floor and I would sit on them until I was toasty warm.

I am thankful for friends. This morning I taught a geography class with my boys and my friends 2 girls. We both homeschool and it is so wonderful to have a friend on this journey with me that I can turn to for support and understanding and that I can borrow her kids so we can have mini classes.

Today I was reminded that we really do need others to support us and help us accomplish our goals. Thinking out loud, with another person validating my thoughts, gives me support to move forward and renewed energy that I just don't find when I try to self motivate.

We are being more diligent about having family scriptures and prayer in the morning before Jeremy leaves and we are being blessed. I feel more peace in our home, the kids are getting along better, and I feel more calm. I know that God really does bless us when we keep His commandments and when we strive to "always" remember Him.

In our studies we have been focusing on a topic a week and reading verses on that topic and than discussing the practical application. This week's topic has been about love and today we talked about showing love to each other in the family. Since this month is December, we have also been singing a Christmas song and reading a Christmas story.

Today's story was about the little boy who saw a fancy car and when the man who owned it walked up to it the boy asked about the car. The man said his brother gave it to him. The little boy, who had such a pure heart, replied, "Oh, I hope I can be a good brother like that some day". When the man asked the boy if he would like a ride the boy said yes, but asked if they could go to his house so they could show the car to his crippled brother. The man was so touched with the kind heart of this boy to his brother, they went and got his brother and took them both for a ride.

I didn't choose this story to coordinate with our scripture topic, but it illustrated very nicely the scriptures we read about showing love within our families.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Playing pretend

It is so fun to observe children as they play pretend. Today some friends came over to play - Emily, Alex, and Nathan Adcock, and Sydney Carpenter. They wanted to play "store" and "Santa Clause", so they have the big blue beach umbrella set up with the play kitchen and small plastic picnic table under it. Then they hauled down some "toys" for Santa to hand out for Christmas.

The Set Up

"Santa" (Tom)  handing out the gifts

I think pretend play is so fun for their imaginative minds and keeps them playing for a long time. The only problem is the clean up after - imaginative play for my kids involves a lot of stuff. Maybe it's more like they are putting on the play and all the stuff is their props.

Lydia is fun to watch as she plays with toys. Her little three-wheeled scooter has a basket attached to the front and a few minutes ago I noticed her putting her Barbie in it to give her a ride. Lydia usually has some type of bag or purse to carry her stuff around with her.

Lately her naps have been off schedule and she falls asleep late in the afternoon and therefore prolonging the time she goes to bed at night. Last night such was the case, and although I tried to put her to bed around 9pm my efforts were futile and finally I relented and let her come downstairs with me. She played with some toys while I read a book.

First she played Mr. Potato head with her Potato head family. "where's the mommy shoes" "arm" "feet" and she kept saying all of it out loud as she assembled baby Potato with the mama size parts. Then she sang the "clean up" song as she put all the pieces back in the container and put it back on the shelf and brought over the bag of animals and ponies.

I really hadn't been paying attention to what she was doing until I noticed that all the Mr. Potato head was cleared away and she was now lining up all the animals and grouping the ponies all together.

Sometimes having all the children around all the time doesn't allow me to observe the one and it doesn't allow them to be their own self doing solitary play. I think that is why I don't mind when one child stays up late. When they all stay up I just get irritated because I want the commotion and messes to stop for awhile. But when just one is up I can focus on their cuteness and the nuances that I miss during the day time.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Taking Pictures

I took pictures of the kids today to make ornaments for the tree. Individual pictures go okay, except Lydia won't smile and Charlie is hard to get a non-cheesy grin from.

Trying to get a group picture is an adventure.

First, try to get them all together

Next, try to get the girls to put their hands down from their face

Finally, try to get the girls to keep facing the camera (Tom is assisting Becca in looking at me, so helpful)

Due to an "accident" with scissors (ie. Becca trying to cut her own hair) Becca now has a short and sassy haircut. I think it is adorable, just don't call her "cute", she prefers "beautiful", cute is for little girls and she isn't little, now that she is 4.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Funny Lydia

Today Lydia has been calling me "Taysom"

she'll say - "Taysom, can I have a drink"


"Taysom, I need help"

or whatever it is that she is asking for.

I have no idea where she got it from, but it is so funny when she says it

See that expression - defiance, independence all wrapped into one - she rarely smiles for the camera, she usually won't even look. This photo is curtesy of my friend Lisa from our Thanksgiving craft we did a few weeks ago making candy turkeys.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Spontaneous and halloween

I've been reading through my past blogs - made it to two years ago, didn't take long since I don't blog too often.
Anyway, I realized something about myself, that I already know, but became more apparent
- I like being spontaneous.
I don't want to think and plan, I just want to do.
Maybe it has to do with no expectations so there can be no disappointment. I love to just go with the flow, let the wind take you where it will.
That's not how I live my life on a day to day basis, but I try to break free as often as I can.
Sometimes I can feel when it's been awhile since being spontaneous and free and I hear the wind calling my name.

Last month when Jeremy had a week between semesters I told him we needed to get out of dodge. I planned a rough outline for our weeklong trip, but we only stuck to the agenda for 1 day. It was such a fun trip and really filled my spontaneity cup.

Today was a fun day. We went to the Swamp Buggy Parade in Naples and I loved it just as much as the kids did. After it was over they were asking when they could go to another parade and already planning going to next years Swamp Buggy parade.

Halloween is such a fun holiday - everyone dressing up in costumes - so fun to see how creative people are. The other day I was in a bad mood and complained to Jeremy that I didn't want to do halloween and maybe I would just run away with the kids until it was over so I didn't have to do all the halloween things.

I just need to emphasize that I was in a weird mood so that Jeremy will believe me when I say that I really do like halloween - I just don't like planning for it (there it is again, I don't like to plan, I just like to do).
I even dressed up - yesterday as a witch (with fun orange stripped tights) and tonight I put on a 70's afro wig and sunglasses.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Guess what my kids were fighting over this morning?

cleaning the toilet

Charlie choose for his chore to clean all the toilets, but Tom was mad because he wanted to clean one too and then Becca said she wanted to clean one.

I couldn't believe they were actually fighting over who would get to clean them.

They finally worked it out and each of them cleaned a toilet.

I was just glad I didn't have to clean them.

I hope they always want to clean the toilet - I may never have to clean one again.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Charlie's Birthday

Today is Charlie's birthday - turned the big 8.

Looks excited for his birthday doesn't he?

We went to the beach to take some 8 year old pictures of him, this was the only one with him looking at the camera with a nice smile, all the rest were silly, guess he is getting too cool for pictures - too bad. 

As a baby he was the most photogenic, always had the smile ready to go, such a beautiful smile, such a beautiful baby.

We were at the beach at sunset - it was spectacular!

Charlie got a new pair of shoes, which he was very happy about. He found them at the mall a few weeks ago and really wanted them, I went back last weekend to see if they were still there - and they were on sale, glad I waited to buy them.

And the crem de la crem

 a pocketknife. 
Charlie has wanted a pocketknife for a very long time and was so excited to get one.
Charlie will now be in Cub Scouts and Jeremy told him the first thing he will have to pass off is knife safety.
So Charlie is a very happy boy today, but this girl wasn't.

Isn't that such a sad face. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Teaching obedience

Motherhood is a learning adventure.
As a young mother with my first child I read many parenting books, so I could know how to be a good mother. I think all it really did was confuse me and cause me to be too soft or too strict.
Time and children have been a good teacher - and finding others who are good mothers and asking them questions and observing what they do.
I have learned so much along the way and I have so much more to learn.
Today I read two wonderful blog posts written by a mother I admire (pregnant with her 7th child). Although I have never met her, I learn so much from her blog posts.
So her recent topic was obedience and she shared very generously things she has learned along the way.
 (post 1 and post 2).

I am diligently focusing on teaching my children obedience. I homeschool my children and no learning can truly take place if they are not able to obey. There are varied degrees of obedience. My goal is to work towards quick and happy obedience.

In the past when working with and teaching my children if they cried I assumed I was doing something wrong and I needed to change my approach. While that may have been true if I was using a forceful method of some such, reading the above mentioned blog post made me realize that I actually was caving in to my children and letting them be in charge, rather than calmly working through what was a tough moment for my child and helping them gain a skill.

Sunday we had a family meeting and wrote a short list of rules we are working on becoming compliant with. We  posted them in the kitchen so both the children and parents alike could be reminded of our goal this week.
One of those goals is to eat food at the table. Now, this has always been a rule of ours, but when I  am not watching the children will wander off with food and eat in the family room or living room. Last week Lydia had a bowl of cereal (dry, no milk) that she was wandering through the house with and scattered it in about every room of the house.
It was then that I realized that I "allow" many of the messes in my  house since I don't follow through on the "rules" that go unheeded. So mostly the rules are posted to remind me to follow through and help them become habit.

This afternoon, I was reading the second post about obedience and she was saying to follow through with firmness (use the word "no"), yet praise for the littlest compliance. As I was reading Lydia asked for an apple. I told her yes, she could have an apple and asked where we eat food. "table" was her reply. I handed her slice of apple in a bowl and escorted her to the table. She tried to circumvent me and go to the office to watch tv with the other kids, and I gently reminded her where we eat.
She cried and protested, I was firm and kind and gently took her bowl of apple slices and set it on the table. She persisted and I persisted. She laid on the floor to protest and I returned to the computer. After a moment I noticed the quiet and turn to see no Lydia and an empty bowl.
I found her in the office, holding a sock. The sock looked like a guilty accomplice and sure enough she had put her apple slices in the sock to hide the evidence being smuggled out of the legal territory.
I had to stifle a laugh as I carried her and her sock to the table.
I am happy to report that was the end of the battle and she remained at the table and didn't leave until she was done.

Overall I am too permissive as a parent, but reading these articles reinforce my desire to gain the skills of finding the balance of becoming firm and fair, of being fun and easy going and not feeling like it has to be one or the other.  I can see that I have made progress over the years and I am grateful knowing that I have done an ok job so far and mostly my kids obey, when they want to - it's jumping that hurdle and helping them to obey when they don't feel like it. Truly I want to learn to teach them how to be "strictly obedient in all things" like the young stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon. I think that is a worthy goal to strive for, not obedient for the sake of being obedient, but learning to be obedient in the small things helps us learn to be obedient in the more important things - not just to preserve us in this mortal life, but more importantly save our eternal life.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

what's your name

Tonight I was asking Lydia to say her name

Me: Lydia, say your name.
Lydia: Ly-di-me
Me: Lydia, what's your name?
Lydia: Ly-di-bug

Lydia can always bring a smile to my face (except when she is smearing toothpaste on the carpet, which she has done in the office and my bedroom and the hallway, at least she likes to brush her teeth, I just wish she wouldn't squeeze the tube in the middle and then carry it all over the house).

Lydia turned 2 a couple weeks ago. She is definitely past babyhood. She's even potty trained.

She still hasn't gotten past screaming - or screeching, as grandma calls it.

We were at the library today and Becca was trying to take something Lydia had and of course Lydia screamed - it was a short, one time scream, but it was enough that a librarian from another part of the library came over to see what the commotion was about.

Some day we won't have to be the center of attention because of her scream.

Becca as the human mr. potato head.  (or mrs. potato head).
Lydia got a family of potato heads for her birthday and all the children have had fun playing with it.

They have been very creative in finding multiple uses for the parts and pieces.

As to other talents the children have. The boys recently discovered their ability to do a back bend.

Tom asked me how to do it, and amazingly I can still do one, although we won't be taking any pictures of me doing one.
It's funny to watch as they try to get the hand positioning right in order to push up into a back bend. The girls couldn't figure it out, although they gave it a good try.

Tom is showing his lost tooth and showing off his lego creation.

Blogging is therapeutic. Today was a rough day for me, but taking time to look at pictures and post a few things helps put things in perspective. My kids are sweet and precious.

The day to day gets in the way of seeing that sometimes - as I let things like dinner and messes and crying and tantrums obscure the good and the wonderful.

It really is about the moments - remembering and treasuring the moments, the individual, the little things.

(Good music and crying helps too :)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Learn to Listen

There are many skills to learn in life. This video talks of the most important skill I could ever learn.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Funny Faces

Oh what do you do in the summertime? How about  - be silly.

Or how about be super cute and pose for the camera.
I gave Lydia a haircut. She won't ever keep ponytails in, so long hair seemed pointless, always a mess and in her face. So I cut it short and it is so cute.
I know that the picture of Lydia is blurry, but it was the cutest smile and even blurry it still looks good.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Loose Tooth

Do you see the one that is not like the others? The one that is leaning forward? Eager to fall out?

Tom is so excited to lose his first tooth, but he doesn't want us to yank it out.
Kids get so excited about this. Now Becca and Lydia are walking around, wiggling their teeth saying that they are going to lose a tooth.

This is not rain - it is condensation on the windows  - all the moisture in the air. It is on the outside of the windows. Growing up in Idaho we had this on the inside of the windows on winter mornings and I remember wiping a circle clear to watch out, waiting for the school bus, and writing in it while waiting.

This target has been drawn on the window for the kids to shoot at with their nerf gun that Tom got for his birthday. Lydia seems to love it the most and is constantly bringing it to me so I can reload it for her.

Charlie is our resident photo taker.

Update on Lydia with her potty training. She is doing really well, but most days there is at least one mishap. She is so funny that often she will strip off all her clothes to go potty and then puts them all back on - I'm not sure why she has to take her shirt off too.

Jeremy has been studying at home this week and it has been nice having him around more. He hasn't been studying as well as when he goes to the library to study, but it has been nice for the kids to see him more. Yesterday he took a break and took the kids to the pool then he came back and studied more.
He is halfway through his toughest semester (at least I hope it doesn't get rougher than this) and then he has one more semester before he starts clinicals.

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Joy of Bugs

This is a cricket, a very large cricket. I don't know who put him in the jar, but it was the girls that were carrying him around in this large mason jar.

Becca really likes her bug, but only if the lid is on. At some point either she or Lydia took the lid off and Becca got all worried that he would get out in our house.
But she wouldn't put the lid back on herself, she got one of the boys to do it.

Lydia loves to carry the bug around. This isn't the first cricket they've caught and put in captivity. Last time Lydia was very possesive of it and wouldn't let anyone else carry her bug.
This time she was more willing to share.

They are conscious of the fact that bugs can't live in jars and after an hour or two they set their bug free.
Becca didn't want to have anything to do with the release. She's fine with the bug as long as there is glass between her and the bug, once the lid is off she backs up.
Lydia was the brave one to release the bug back into the wild.
After I took the lid off she shook the jar upside down, and shook and shook.
The cricket wouldn't let go and just fall out, so I just set the jar down and let the bug crawl out on his own.

Farewell to our bug.

We had a joyous time with you.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Joys of Children

It was raining so hard this afternoon and the thunder was loud.
After a few unsuccessful attempts to play monopoly (Lydia scattered the piles of money, they couldn't find a dice) the boys gave up and decided to go out in the rain.
They pulled out the rain ponchos and went in the backyard to enjoy the rain.
They found a frog, made it a home in a bucket with leaves and rocks.
Then they came in to put their swim suits on, no more trying to stay dry in the rain, they wanted to enjoy it fully.
Oh the joys of being a child.

The boys were invited to a birthday party today and Becca was so sad she was not invited.
I didn't want her to be sad all afternoon so I offered to buy her a pack of gum.
I never heard another word about being sad she didn't get to go to the party.
"Oh mom, thank you so much for buying me my own gum". This simple thing really cheered her up. I don't buy gum much and my kids love gum, so this was a real treat for her.
I love that her problem was so easy to fix.
Oh the joys of gum.

Lydia is doing awesome being potty trained. It's fun to watch when she senses she needs to go, she stops whatever she is doing and says, "mom, I go pee" meaning that she needs to go.
Oh the joys of kids who potty train themself.

Monday, August 02, 2010

karate and pottytraining

The boys had their first karate lesson today. They were so excited. I told them about it last Friday and it has been all they have talked about the last few day. And now, tonight after their first lesson, Tom is already counting down the minutes until their next lesson on Thursday.

Lydia has decided to potty train herself. For months she has 'played at' using the toilet, meaning that some days she'll ask to go on the toilet and I help her and then days and days go by with no interest. I've never encouraged or discouraged her, I just help when she asks.

Yesterday morning as I was getting her ready for church she refused to put a diaper on and insisted on wearing underwear. I obliged her, although I was very nervous about the idea - I didn't want to end up with a big wet spot on my lap during the middle of church.

At her request I took her to the bathroom at least 4 times for the 3 hour duration of church. She never did have an accident and successfully peed each time she went to the toilet. All my kids were telling her what a big girl she was and praised her. She would smile big and knowingly, feeling like she really was one of the big kids.

That night she asked for a diaper to wear to bed. This morning she went straight for the underwear again. She never had an accident all day and again at bedtime asked for a diaper.

What a kid. Not quite two years old, yet very self motivated. She is funny - when she uses the toilet by herself (when I don't go in the bathroom to help her) she takes off all of her clothes, even her shirt. I'm not quite sure why she takes her shirt off, but she'll come out of the bathroom and throw all her clothes at me and ask me to put them back on her. I guess she still wants me to help with some part of the process because she is more than capable to get dressed herself.

In fact, most mornings she dresses herself and then comes in to show me that she is dressed for the day. Sometimes this is where my laziness pays off. Mornings are slow for me and often I'm still in my jammies a few hours after getting up, often because I like to get my morning chores done before I get showered and I don't want to get dressed twice, once before shower and once after. Anyway, so I don't really think about getting my kids dressed either.

Despite that, or maybe because of that, each of my kids (well, maybe not Charlie) from a young age have gotten themself dressed in the morning. I say not Charlie because most days I have to tell him to get dressed and he is the oldest of them all, so he follows my bad habit.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Living with Joy

Let us relish life as we live it, find joy in the journey, and share our love with friends and family.                    Thomas S Monson

Today I took the kids to the park. It wasn't too hot, but we still didn't stay too long, 85 and humid brings on the sweat quick.
Becca has been asking to go to the "swing park". Last year she was scared of swings and this year she loves them. She loves underdogs so she can go high. She asks me to push her again and again and again and again and I do because it brings her joy.

Becca lives life with joy! She has a quick smile and an infectious laugh. She is fun to be around. She is very creative and imaginative.
Last night I was studying my scriptures and Becca went and found hers and sat at the table next to me. She asked for my pencils that I use to mark in my scriptures. She said she wanted to study like me. She can't read yet, but she sees that I highlight in my scriptures.

I don't condone such marking of scriptures usually, but she wasn't being destructive, she was following my example of how I study, however her marking is much more excessive and exuberant than mine. This is now her favorite page in her scriptures, because it's the one she studied. It's all a learning process. Charlie used to over highlight in his scriptures and now he is learning to be more selective. I have to admit all the pretty colors on Becca's page make that page look like a happy page.

I love my girls. I can't believe they are both sooooo blond. They are cute little stinkers.
As Lydia was falling asleep tonight she was murmuring "pretty mommy, pretty", what a sweetie.

“Both abundance and lack [of abundance] exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. It is always our conscious choice which secret garden we will tend … when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present—love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature, and personal pursuits that bring us [happiness]—the wasteland of illusion falls away and we experience heaven on earth.”

I have an abundance in my life and I enjoy happiness in my life. I am thankful for that joy and abundance.

These are the faces I love.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Botanical Gardens

I took our kids to the Botanical Gardens in Naples, we went with my neighbor Liz and her kids.

It has a Kids Garden where the kids spent hours (literally) playing and having fun. In this picture Tom is carrying a watering can. The kids spent a lot of time filling and re-filling and watering the plants and flowers. The little house in the background had table and chairs inside and brooms for the kids to sweep.

They were so busy at work. I wish I could inspire such voluntary, intense effort at home. They each were so busy helping and cleaning and watering, and I just sat back and watched.

It was a hot day - almost 100 degrees. I sat in the shade and that helped, but getting wet is what helped the most.

We didn't come prepared with swim suits or towels, so the kids just got wet in their clothes. I didn't want to walk around wet, so I just splashed a little on my head and neck to cool me off.

Lydia didn't like wearing wet clothes, so she took them off. I tried to persuade her to put them back on, but to no avail. So I let her go all natural.

More watering going on. This really was a favorite activity. This was such a beautiful place.

 I would love a back yard like this. If these gardens were closer we'd be there at least once a week, if not more often, but it's at about 40-45 minutes away. A little too far to go too often, especially with all the other driving around we do here - it is all so spread out and we don't live near by anything.

Giant lilypads
Those giant floating green things are lilypads. The little ones in the foreground are more of what I think of when I imagine lilypads. The large ones are very thick and the underside is poky, like a cactus. The fun thing about the botanical gardens was seeing a variety of plants.