Saturday, November 26, 2016

They Grow Up Fast--Trying to Enjoy Each Moment

It happens so frequently when I am out with the kids and one is crying in the grocery store line about something while the other is rearranging all the candy bars into different boxes...or some equally (sometimes greater) hectic and loud situation...that some kinder, older, and wiser person sweetly looks over and says, "Enjoy it. They grow up fast" or "Time flies when they are young" or "It won't always be this crazy" (Of course there are always a few "you're crazy and so are your kids" looks too).

These older, wiser, more experienced adults seem to pop up all over the place, and they all have the same message to share, so I'm prrrrrretty sure they know what they are talking about. Lately, I have really been trying to take this advice and figure out what it means to me. Well, lately as in for the past 3 years and 9 months because that is how long I've been hearing it...

I so often find myself pondering how I can be a better mother, what more I should be giving/teaching them, obviously there is a long list of all the things I think I am doing wrong and the fear of how I am going to damage them (because I will right, in one way or another? It seems inevitable that we all "hurt" our kids in some way because we can't give them every. single. thing. And I'm not talking materialistic things, I'm talking knowledge, talents, interests...emotional and physical and spiritual things...all the things that they learn and pick up from us, whether for good or bad).

At night, after they are tucked away in bed (aka: the time when my mind clears up just a little and I can fit in a thought that isn't "what's for snack?" or "where the heck did you put your shoes?") I start feeling a little bit of what these wise strangers always point out to me. I start thinking, "Wow, another day is gone. THIS day will never come back, it's in the past. DONE. What did I do with my kids today? What did we learn together? What can I do better tomorrow to REALLY enjoy this stage of life? How are they SO BIG already?" And then I sneak in to their room to look at them sleep because as much as I LOVE bedtime and the fact that the house is peaceful and quiet, I just can't get enough of these kids (and seriously, who couldn't just stare at a sleeping toddler for hours on end? It's the greatest). 

Well, I didn't really mean for this post to turn into a long mama soap box, but that it has. This was really just meant to be a post about our every day lives and finding joy in those every day things. The super great ones like Shae sweetly saying, "Thanks mom for helping me clean up my blocks" or "Wow! Thanks mom for picking out Big Hero 6 from the library for movie night!" or the ones where he covers his ears and yells, "No! Don't talk to me!" 

So here's to a little normal life to hold on to and remember:

Me: Shae, do you know what? I think you are the most handsome 3 year old I know.
Shae: But mom, soon I will be 20, and I will want to skip 8 because I don't want to be baptized, or be president, or a missionary.

Both the kids have really been in to looking at our photo albums lately. Shae especially likes looking at his "black and white skeleton baby picture" (aka: his ultrasound picture).

While reading a picture book about tools: 
"When I get big like daddy and marry you, then I can use the screw and wrench."
(Oh my heart).

Through out a day when Shae was feeling under-the-weather:
 "I think I have flies in my throat... (later) Hey mom, the flies are still there. (The next day) The flies are gone!"
(I love hearing the ways that he describes things that he is feeling)

While eating some sourdough bread:
"Mom this bread is funky. It tastes so funky. It doesn't taste normal."
(You mean, amazing).

Oh the many ways we find her sleeping:

Sweet Tabby cuddles.

During a lunch prayer:
"Thank you for my family. Thank you for my super heroes and for the food. Thank you for my family one more time. Thank you so much for making my family."
(Seriously though, my heart).

Me: Shae, where do you think we lived before coming to earth?
Shae: We were in heaven with Jesus and then Jesus put us in an X-Ray machine and we came down the line and here we are now. 

Peek-a-boo and hat obsession.

Current Shae stages:
~Not liking sticky things. Having to wash his hands 20 zillion times a day.
~Not liking semi-naked Belén. If she doesn't have a shirt or pants on he will always yell, "Mom, put clothes on her! Get her away from me!"
~Waking up 3 to 4 times a night because he is scared of a shadow, needs us to tuck him back in, heard an unfamiliar noise, wants mommy, etc. Let's hope this phase doesn't last too long because man, it is exhausting.

One night he came out so many times that I finally just grabbed his mattress and put it next to ours. We've had so many nights as of late where Darin or I end up on the couch because Shae takes over our spot in bed. We just can't sleep comfortably with him in there too. This was a good, easy solution and he totally slept in which was glorious.

Belén LOVES being in the kitchen with me. Whenever I am cooking she comes in and yell-fusses at me until I put her on the counter or pull a chair in for her. Which usually means that Shae has to come in and help me cook too which means that we eat dinner reaaaaaally late. I've had to start have them take turns because it's just too much to have both of them in there. It works for Shae (even though he whines about not getting to help the whole time), but Belén doesn't get it yet so it's still pretty hectic...

Tooth brush obsession! (That is not her toothbrush btw).

Going for a walk with these sweet girlfriends and their mamas.

They've been making a new road outside for the past few weeks and the kids have been pretty fascinated by all the construction vehicles.

Wouldn't be an average day if someone wasn't tackling the other.

Shaker time at the library! I've been loving my mornings with Belén while Shae is at Joy School. We have started going to toddler story time just me and her and it is so special. She is a completely different person in story time when it is just us, when she gets my full attention. This was always one of my favorite activities when Shae was little and I'm glad I get to share it with her now too.

She literally played with the kitchen stuff at the library for 45 uninterrupted minutes one week. It was so cute to watch her work and has made me start looking everywhere for a good kid kitchen sale...

Shae started swim lessons last week. He was soooo excited, until we got there and then he was quite timid. Thankfully, his little friend Xander from church was in his class too (didn't know until we got there). Xander was so sweet and grabbed Shae's hand and led him over to the pool. He did run back once and I had to stand by the edge for about 10 minutes to be with him, but he quickly warmed up and this week he was much more comfortable.
After helping Shae get in his swim suit this past week, Belén ran right over to the front closet and grabbed this floaty and brought it over to me to help her wear. Poor younger sibling. Your time will come little one.

These kids are my world. What a blessing it is to be on this grand adventure with them each day.

This quote has been on my mind so much lately. I saw it on the wall at the school where my mother-in-law works and have heard people mention it a few times since:

They won't always remember what you said or did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.

That is a paraphrased version, and maybe is a Maya Angelou quote? Sharon? Maybe you can help me out here...anyways, I love this message and have really been trying to make this a focus of my everyday life. I want our home to be a place where my kids feel love, kindness, and joy. Where the spirit of Christ can emanate. What a huge responsibility we have as parents to make that a reality for them.

Thanks for sticking around for this super long post...


Thursday, November 17, 2016

General Conference with the Padres

 Oh man, it's been like, years since I posted is just so busy! Do I say that every single post? If I don't explicitly write it, I definitely THINK about writing it. So here's a short post with a few pictures that I realized I never posted from a quick visit from my parents back at the beginning of October. 

They came up for my Dad's uncle's funeral and we were lucky enough to have them stay with us. 

It was conference weekend so Darin picked and made a new breakfast. We tried this one. Mel's recipes are usually golden, but this one was a little too bready for me. Still good, but not great. 

These kids loved playing on the air mattress. 

 On Sunday before conference, we went out for a little walk and realized that we were all wearing Oriole's shirts (besides me. I was a scrooge and wouldn't change to conform. Even Darin was rocking the O's gear). I'm sure we looked so funny walking out of the house as if we were going to an Oriole's game. 

Even though the actual purpose of the visit was a bit somber, we sure do love seeing these guys. Excited that we get to see them again next week.

Here's a few of my favorite quotes from the first day of General Conference (I still have the other half to get through):
"The purpose of faith is not to change God's will but to empower us to act on God's will. Faith is trust--trust that God sees what we cannot and that He knows what we do not."
"Faith comes to the humble, the diligent, the enduring. It comes to those who pay the price of faithfulness."
-Elder Uchtdorf, Fourth Floor, Last Door

"When you pray, are you really praying or just staying prayers?"
-Elder Uceda, The Lord Teaches Us to Pray

"We falsely judge our self-worth by the things we do or don't have and by the opinions of others. If we must compare, let us compare how we were in the past to how we are today--and even to how we want to be in the future. The only opinion of us that matters is what our Heavenly Father thinks of us."
-Elder Cornish, Am I Good Enough? Will I Make It?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

This Is Halloween

The other day Darin said, "As a kid, I went trick-or-treating once each year. ONCE." 

Halloween is not just a one day thing anymore. Maybe it never was, depends on who you ask. But we've lived in some fun places that do city Halloween stuff and then the universities tend to do things, and church...and we just can't say no to candy! Actually, it's a little stressful for me to think about all the candy our kids have gotten, I really just can't say no to fun family activities...or candy, let's be honest. No self-control.

Friday we went downtown to do trick-or-treating in the Commons. Everything was set up for Wizarding Weekend so Shae got to follow Harry's footsteps through the library while looking for candy. I tried to explain to him that Harry was under the invisibility cloak (!!) which is why all we saw were his footprints, but he just kept saying, "Where? Where's Harry?"
We got a good taste of Ithaca going in to some super hippy dippy incense filled stores in the Commons. 
...and our favorite consignment store. That little koala girl. Can't get enough.
She had no idea what was going on but went right along with it.
Love these little animals. 

Shae was so timid the whole time which is not like him at all. He was just so focused on all the costumes he was seeing all around him and kept doing double takes. I could just see his little mind spinning, "Super Why...Captain America...Winnie the Pooh...a dragon!" At one point he did shout out, "Mom, these are all the guys from my shows and books!" And I loved when we ran in to the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda. We had just been listening to Wicked that day and I was explaining Elphaba and Glinda to him, and then we saw them! In person! So cute to watch his excitement. 

Finally getting to taste some of the treasures she worked so hard to get.

Right after trick-or-treating in the Commons we headed over to the church for our branch activity. We got our zoo theme on. We really should apply for some park ranger jobs or something. I was pretty happy with our thrift store shirts and amazon hats. 
Devouring pizza!
The primary presidency did a fun little game for the kids before doing some trick-or-treating around the building.

Always fun to hang out with the other branchers and let the kids run wild in the gym.

On Saturday, Darin was on campus all day working his tushy off so the kids and I went back downtown to enjoy more Harry Potter. While there was some stuff set up on Friday, the REAL Wizarding day chalk full of activities and vendors and awwwweesssommme stuff was Saturday.

We started off at the library for their Halloween story time and then wandered around looking at stuff for...not as long as I would have liked...but one of the double stroller tires busted during the week so I only had a single stroller with Shae walking next to me, quickly getting tired and crowds of people to walk through, so we did what we could.

We stood in line for far too long to get some Gryffindor balloon swords made. They were SO cool for all of 10 minutes before parts of them started popping and kids started sobbing...
Shae was very adament about getting a green sword. I tried to convince him not to go with the Slytherin colors, but he could not be swayed from his beloved green. 

To bad the kids weren't older to totally Harry Potter geek out with me. 
So impressed by how many people dressed up! There were witches and wizards all over the place. We saw some Hagrids, Dobbys, Voldemorts, and Beletrixes too. 
I also thought it was so cool how many free activities there were! Wizarding Duels, Being sorted by the Sorting Hat, balloon animals, face painting, quidditch, wizard chess, etc. 
Loved watching these kids yell, "Stupify!" and "Expeliarmus!" at one another.

We walked past the Quidditch pitch on the way out and they were announcing through a loud speaker just like they do in the books/movies and I totally felt like I was there, at Hogwarts.

The actual day of Halloween the kids and I made mummy-dogs for dinner. Darin was still MIA at this point...poor paper-writing soul. We went and picked him up on campus to come trick-or-treating with us though (yay!) and were kind enough to bring him some mummies to enjoy.

 Some little picky boy I know didn't want his hot dog to be a mummy. "I just want a regular one."
I thought my camera was charging all day, just to get out to trick-or-treat and realize that it had 2% battery left. So, two pictures is all we got. One with the firetruck that drives around and pulls over to give candy in certain neighborhoods. I promise that that is Belén trying to smile, not look scared and have no idea why Shae decided to a panda.
 And the other...the kids with all their little church friends. It was really fun to walk around with all of them. At this door, the guy looked at Shae and was like, "And you must be, a pig?" Shae cracked up laughing, slapped his knee and through giggles said, "Nnnnoooo...silly, I'm a paaaanda!" 

Oh the joys of Halloween.