Thursday, January 29, 2009

You gonna eat that?

I was changing the baby's diaper, and my 2-year-old was sitting next to me. After the diaper was changed, I saw that the baby had an enormous booger blocking one of her nostrils, so, like any mother, I pulled it out of her little nose.

My 2-year-old said, "Mommy, you gonna eat that?"

"No," I said, laughing, "I was just helping her breathe better."

"Can I eat it? I like tasty boogers!"

(In my defense: a) I did not let her eat the booger, b) when I stopped laughing/crying because I was laughing so hard, I did try to tell her again that boogers are germy and we shouldn't eat them, c) I debated about whether this was too gross to post, but funny trumped gross.) :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

How to get a baby brother...

Lately, our 5-year-old has been telling me constantly that she really wishes she could have a baby brother. She has all kinds of logical arguments as to why it would be great.

The other day, while she was practicing her violin, she stopped and asked me again. I told her that just because she wants a baby brother, mom doesn't just magically have another baby in her tummy.

"I know how to get a baby brother in your tummy," she said.

"You do?"

"Yes. You put your hands on your back like this (then shows me), and you walk around really funny, then a baby brother comes in your tummy. Then it hurts a lot and he comes out."

Can you tell someone's seen a certain movie too many times lately?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wise words

Don't take too much counsel from your fears.

-James E. Faust

A little slice of my morning...

Just so I can remember how wonderful my life really is :)

I thought I'd post just a little sliver of my morning today, just to show how fun our days are. :)

Me : What are you doing, girls?
Girls : Turning our tongues blue (while licking the birthday cake from yesterday).

Me: Now what are you doing?
Girls: Putting our stickers on the bike so it can look cool. (The trike wheels are now covered in little stickers, which it randomly leaves all over the carpet so the baby can eat them.)

Me: Are you eating your cheerios?
Child #2: No.
Me: Why not?
Child #2: It's boring.

And the best of all this morning:
Me: In bridge pose on my yoga mat, focusing on breathing and engaging.
Child #3: Rides her little tricycle right over my short hair, which pulls it.
Me: I laugh and ask her to drive just a little further from my head.
Child #3: In trying to turn away, tips over on her trike and it lands right on my head, with the pedal in my did that happen?
Me: Helps her get readjusted. Refocusing in another modification of bridge pose with one leg up in the air, head flat on the mat.
Child #4: As is common for her, she crawls on over and sits her diapered little bum right on my face.
Me: Still trying to focus and breathe, knowing she will move soon...I inhale the little squishy's a poopy one. my face getting damp???

Yoga was over pretty soon after that. :)

I wouldn't trade my life for anything. I can't wait for the rest of the day! (After I wash my face.)


"A" is for "Awesome!"

Our 5-year-old used to say "You're kidding!" to everything. Now it's "That's awesome!"

"Time for lunch." "That's awesome!"
"Math time." "Awesome! I am awesome at math."
"Go to bed." "Awesome! Wait....what?"

"B" is for "Birthday!"

Yesterday was Matt's birthday! Happy Birthday, Love!
I Love him with all my heart, day and night. We had a wonderful time celebrating our daddy!

"C" is for "Cookie!"

The girls wanted to make a cookie monster cake for daddy so badly! This is how it turned out...a bit melted and sad, but a fun little cookie monster nonetheless. :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Why it's worth it

I wrote before of criticism and discouragement, and of a feeling to just give up and quit trying with all of the good things I am trying to do. It would be so easy to just give in to those thoughts. If you don't try, if you don't stretch yourself and put yourself out there, your chances of getting criticized or hurt are much smaller.

But what good would my life be if I didn't try, if I didn't do my best? It may be a less difficult or less painful life, but I don't believe it would be worth it.

So in the midst of things being difficult this week, I tried to make a list of everything, just right in this moment, that make it all worth it.

- My daughter in a Sunday dress, bicycle helmet, and knee pads around her elbows ("just in case I fall, Mommy.")
- This little "Baby Boo" who cannot let me cook without clinging to my legs and poking her head through, just to be near me.

- These four little sillies:

- My 4-year-old, seeing me cough a little, brings me a lint-covered open cough drop. When I ask her where she found it, she tells me, "Under your bed. I saved it there for later." Then, like a good nurse, she waits there until she sees me eat it.

- When I realize I haven't seen the girls for a minute, I look for them and find them all in my closet putting on my clothes and shoes.

- My 2-year-old making Santa's sleigh out of soggy Cheerios on the table this morning.

- This guy:
Enough said. :) (Happy Birthday, Baby.) :)

- He makes a beeline straight to me as soon as he gets home from a meeting to "give mommy a kiss," and he usually arrives at said "mommy" with four girls clinging for dear life to him.

- Our little "destructo-bot" took her first halting steps last night, right to her daddy. :) Nothing in life feels quite like that.

The Red Thread

This past week has been very hard. Last night, Matt helped me a lot and I felt so blessed, but this morning the temptation did come...just stay in bed. Discouragement is one of the things I seem to be fighting the most right now. I know I can do it, but there are times it just seems overwhelming. I have felt so little and so criticized this week that at times I have felt like giving up. But I prayed hard this morning and I got up and headed for the shower.

When I got out and started to get dressed in the warm bathroom, trying to speak positively to myself, I suddenly stopped still. A warm scent was suddenly all around me.

Scent is a powerful memory...for me, nothing brings back a memory like a scent does. This particular scent was one I haven't smelled in years. It was my Grandma. My Grandma has been gone for years, but the scent of her is something I still remember. Some of my sweetest and most cherished childhood memories revolve around my Grandma Cottam...her warm, comforting scent, the smell of her store room, the sound of her clock, her warm soft hugs when I would just breathe her in, her quiet, sunlit bedroom, her sweet little laugh and smile. Every little girl should have Grandmothers like mine.

My Grandma Cottam had more children and grandchildren than most people are ever blessed with, but she had the unique gift of making each one feel as if they were the only one, and loved more than anything. When she would hold me, she would always say, "My Ann." It didn't matter how old I was. I miss her every day.

This morning, when in a rare, quiet moment I was suddenly wrapped in that warm scent all over again, I felt her close to me. I stood there for several minutes, not wanting to move. In those few minutes, I felt like Grandma was with me again, helping me know that I am not alone, that I have help, and that everything will be alright.

The Chinese have a legend of The Red Thread, which binds people together who are meant to be together, regardless of where they are. I do believe there is something to that...we are meant to be with some people. We are meant to help and love each other. This morning I was given a marvellous reminder that I am not alone, and that I have been given so many people to help me to be stronger and better than I can be alone.

We do have help.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Baby or the Tiger?

We all read The Lady or the Tiger in English class, right?

So our interest has been piqued by the trendy, tiny, sleek new Flip mino HD camera. It's something that my dear Love has been really wanting *someday.* As it happens, he has a nice friend at work who recently got one for a safari to Africa. He recently returned from his three week adventure with lots of praise for this little high-def camcorder! He was so nice to offer to let Matt borrow it overnight, just to see if we like it so that we know...for that elusive *someday* when we might get one ourselves.

Well...short story even shorter...

The camera that survived three weeks in the wilds of Africa did not survive one night with our crawling baby who destroyed it in three seconds flat.

Or, more positively... we loved it so much that we bought Matt's friend's broken one and we're buying him a brand new camera!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Happy are ye

An incredible change has come over my heart this week as I have studied the Book of John. I have been really studying the Savior's life lately. This week I learned a great deal about His final hours with his apostles.

We all know He washed their feet. But I had forgotten about Peter. When it comes time for Peter's turn, he does not want Christ to wash his feet. I think we can imagine how he would feel...this is the Lord and Savior. I think that Peter could not stand the idea of someone he regarded so highly doing such a humble task for his sake. I was immediately struck by my own similarity to Peter.

In my life these past few months, I have felt the Savior quietly entreating me, at times pleading with me, to allow Him to give me help in an area I have never felt I needed help before or ever envisioned myself needing anything. I completely accept the atonement in my life and rely on it every day, every moment. But there are other areas where my pride has been too great, and my heart too unyielding. I have seemed to say, in my own heart, "Thou needest not to wash my feet."

But, as Christ said to Peter, so I have felt Him say to me:
Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
Of course we all know what Christ was referring to there, but I feel that His words have an even broader meaning for me in my life. I have not understood before what Christ was actually doing for me by asking me to go through this particular circumstance, but I am beginning to see it now. As He said to Peter, "If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me." I don't believe that is the rebuke it sounds so much like, but rather a plea..."Please allow me to help you become who you need to be, so you can be as close to Me as possible! You don't understand now, but you will!"

Christ goes on to entreat His apostles to serve others as He has served them. I have not had nearly as much a struggle in my life giving service as I have had accepting service. When I read that commandment to be Christlike this week, my heart was taught as well that I need to accept the kindness of others more willingly. That has always been difficult for me. But this week I have had tremendously humbling experiences which have made me feel more a "part with [Christ]" than I have ever felt, and it is because I have allowed Him to "wash my feet" by humbling myself more than I ever have and allowing others to serve me in ways I never thought I'd be able to do.

Truly, the Greatest among us is our greatest Servant. And we should serve and love Him with all of our hearts, and I believe that part of that is allowing Him to serve us! As I have struggled to change and to allow Him to "wash my feet" in His own way, I have somehow found joy in the most difficult and humiliating of moments, because I have truly felt that I have a "part with [Him]," and just like his apostles, I know that He loves me "unto the end!"

How kindly He spoke when He said:
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A January picnic

I feel almost guilty posting this, because of our poor loved ones in the Ohio who are freezing their tootsies off, but it's 68 here today, so we had a picnic on our porch! :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Thankful Therapy

I have really been struggling lately with trying to push away a discouragement, and a depression that seems to hang in the air, just waiting to cover me. I think a lot of us feel that way in the winter, and lately with everything else going on, it seems to be harder to keep at bay.

So I have done two things in addition to the daily things that help so much, prayer, scriptures, being with my girls, etc.

1) Yoga. I have found joy in reaching further.

2) What I am calling "Thankful Therapy." I have had little projects I have wanted to do, but because of a hard drive issue that is taking forever to resolve with customer supports, etc, I can't work on them right now! So in my rare free time, I have found myself being anxious and antsy, not being able to find something to focus my energy on. I have continually had a prompting to do some scrapbooking.

I have resisted that feeling, because I felt that I didn't have the energy to organize and pick a place to start, etc. But I kept feeling that prompting, and so I have just started doing random pictures, random pages, without any rhyme or reason to the order.

It has been miraculous for me. It has blessed me to see and remember tiny, quiet moments in my life...such a full life that at times can seem so overwhelming and difficult. But opening the door to these quiet little memories has helped me to remember, truly, "how merciful the Lord hath been."

I just open our picture folders and pick one at random, and start a new page. With each little picture, I find myself saying "Thank you" again and again to the loving Father who gave me these children, this life, these memories, and this prompting to remember. It has lifted my heart and made me rejoice. It gives me perspective and helps me to remember all of the times that things have worked out before. They will work out again.

In the meantime, I can remember and be thankful.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A few of my favorite things...

...from this weekend. :)

1. These little faces:

2. My second daughter saying at lunch yesterday, out of the blue, "I want to be really bright like Jesus."

3. In primary class, when talking about Heavenly Father "upbraiding not," and asking the 8-year-olds what they thought that meant, one boy said, "He doesn't get the newer programs for His computer?" (upgrading not.)

4. Watching Matt get some sleep today, finally. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mustard seeds

I think that every time I have heard or thought about mustard seeds, I have thought about the parable of faith. While I love this parable and it's wonderful principles, my thoughts have pondered upon a new meaning lately.

I was reading the other day in Matthew.
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
- Matthew 13:31-32

It made me think of myself, of each of us. There are times right now when I feel so small and so low. I feel as though I could never become anything more than this tiny person that I feel that I am right now. But as I read these verses the other day, it was like He was teaching me...helping me to understand that it is He who created the tiny mustard seeds, and it is He who created me. He created them to grow from something insignificant to become something great in His sight, and if I allow myself, though "small" right now (for lack of a better word), to be planted in His way, hopefully I, too, can become whatever He wants me to become.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Actual growth just may be occurring

Growth seems to be a recurring theme in my blog lately. It must be for a reason. I have been given so many opportunities this past year in the form of trials...trials that are truly blessings, as they have given me a choice time and again to either stay where I am or grow.

As I wrote before, I have been really stretching myself (ha ha) in my yoga practice lately. I have been strengthening weaker parts of myself and really reaching for more. It has been hard work, and very difficult at times. But I have kept at it, and what do you know? The other day, I stunned myself by going into a difficult pose without even thinking beforehand. The strength was there and my body was ready. I have wanted all my life to accomplish this pose, and had never had the arm strength. Though it's a simple one for many yogis out there, it has eluded me till now. But when I actually paid the price to develop my strength, balance, and flexibility enough, my weaknesses turned to strengths.

I think that in life, it's harder to see the obvious results of growth than it is in yoga. But I feel somehow that actual growth is occurring within me, as well. I find that even though life is just as difficult and chaotic as it has been for months now, my inner calm is there and that somehow fear is leaving me. I am slowly, steadily trying to improve, and I think it may be happening. One day, I may surprise myself with the person I have become, just as I did in my yoga practice.

I hope so.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Great big foot in an even bigger mouth

I teach a primary class of 8-9-year-0ld children. Mostly boys. I've been trying to build a rapport with them. I learned in primary long ago that if you give the children a minute to talk about their week right at the first, you can avoid a lot of difficulty throughout the lesson. :) Today, we were having their little moment to share, and I was happily commenting on each bit of news. Here's how the conversation went:

Boy 1: I had a basketball game this week! We won 38-10!

Me: Way to go!!! You really stomped that other team! How cool! I'm so happy for you!!...So, Boy #2, what about your week?

Boy 2: We were the team that they beat.

Yeah....we'll keep working on that rapport thing.

Friday, January 9, 2009

In case you wonder if they're actually listening...

...they are.

I really needed this today! I got up this morning and felt a bit overwhelmed by the day ahead. Another school day with so many things trying to cut into it, and tired kids. The same thoughts pass through the mind of every parent, homeschooling or not: "Are they actually getting any of what I'm trying to teach them???" I was tempted to think, "Nope."

This morning while I was making breakfast, I heard some quiet, calm talking coming from our usually energetic 4-year-old. I peered over the counter into the living room to see her instructing her sisters in a yoga lesson! I couldn't believe it. There are times in teaching her things that I have struggled to feel like she was really getting what I was trying to do. She is very smart and quick, but she is so much like her mother...INDEPENDENT. :) So I have worried that she really wasn't learning anything from me. But I was stunned to watch her teaching her sisters very clearly, even instructing them to change what they were doing here and there!

So let's keep going! Keep teaching, keep trying, keep setting an example. They really ARE paying attention!! And they really do learn from everything you do. :)

PS - I just had to grab the camera to document for myself that I really am doing something good. :) But my 4-year-old turned to me and patiently said, "Mommy, could you please stop taking pictures of our yoga lesson? We're trying to focus." :D

Loving this weather

58 degrees in humidity...I suppose I can handle that. :) We miss Ohio, but boy do we love this weather!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Weakness and Growth

I seem to be writing about growth a great deal lately, don't I? Perhaps it's because I've been needing to grow so much.

Lately, I have realized with my yoga practice that I have been doing much the same thing every day. That isn't necessarily bad, as the poses that I do daily are extremely beneficial and help me a great deal. But I haven't been stretching myself. I have begun to feel weaknesses in certain parts of my body, and I have been surprised by them, because I didn't think I had been weak in those areas before. I felt bad about it, but I knew that the poses required to strengthen those muscles are more difficult and would be more challenging. I have been struggling in my mind and heart so much lately that I didn't feel that I had it in me to attempt to strengthen those weaknesses. So I continued on, content to be where I was at already, without going through the pain of more difficult or less familiar routines.
I realized yesterday after talking to Matt that I have been doing much the same in my own life. I have been painfully discovering weaknesses that I didn't even realize I had. I have seen the need for submission and growth, yet I knew that choosing to grow and strengthen those weaknesses would be extremely painful and humbling. I just didn't know if I had it in me. But I want to grow. I want to change. I don't want to tell the Lord, who is lovingly showing me what I need to strengthen if I want to be more like Him, that I just don't feel like I can stretch that far. So I went for a walk last night, looked up at the sky, and promised Him I would grow however He wanted me to.

This morning, I decided to grow with my yoga, too. I knew my arms had been getting weaker, and I haven't felt like putting forth the painful effort to strengthen them, because I have always struggled with arm strength, and I knew it would be hard to get those muscles where I wanted them to be. At the end of a painful but exhilarating practice, I felt not just pain, but joy as I already felt strength coming back to my arms. My scripture study shortly after led me to this:

And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him.
-1 Sam. 3:19

Growing is painful, but the Lord is with us. We don't have to do it alone. We can't. But if we keep reaching for Him, He will turn our weaknesses to strengths and help us to grow.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Tonight at dinner, we were having scalloped potatoes and ham. Our perky little 4-year-old proudly declared, "Ham comes from pigs!"

Daddy, excited for her intelligence and always willing to take a second for a good learning opportunity, started to quiz the girls on where different meats come from. When he asked where we get hamburger from, our daughter said, without a moment's hesitation, "From Old MacDonald's."