Thursday, May 31, 2012

Super Sister

While I was pregnant, my mom brought Brynnie-Pie a book from the library called "Super Sister" and since then it's become a part of our daily vocabulary.  All I have to say is, "I need a Super Sister!" and she'll come running.  Lately she's been wanting to change Gabe's diapers.  But "NOT the poopy ones."  They aren't secured real well...but it's cute. :)

I love that little birth mark!  And the tongue - the tongue is out more than it's in!

She even loves him when he pulls her hair.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

the kindergarten complex

Ok, so I couldn't find a definition of the kindergarten complex on a really quick google search, but basically, it's when a kid gets to kindergarten with all the other students and realize that they are actually not the very best at everything like Mom and Dad said they are.  It can be a little traumatic.  Brynn hit this developmental step in soccer HARD.  She couldn't catch up to her team mates, and she couldn't score goals.  In t-ball, they took turns, so every game she played she scored 3 points and she was incredibly frustrated that she couldn't put a number on how well she did in soccer because she couldn't make goals.  Add to that the fact that Marty made a teensy tinsy error and told a group of people she couldn't run because she was pigeon-toed - in FRONT of her, and she was kind of devastated.    So soccer was pretty laborious.  We tried teaching her that what was important was to work your hardest and have fun.  But she'd run around for a while and then come and sit on the blanket by me crest fallen and frustrated.  It was so sad.  I'm glad it didn't ever occur to her that she could quit, because we certainly weren't going to let her.  Anyway, now that it is all over, I am relieved. is SOOOOO hot at those stupid games!  Look at that red face!

She loved to have cold water dumped on her before playing.
I guess all's well that ends well.  On her very last game of the season she scored a goal and was so proud of herself.
And if you'd like an example of the proud face, here it is. :)

Bryce slept in the stroller with his arm around Gaber-Smacks.  I felt so bad for the poor kid.  He played soccer too, but they gave his team the latest slot every single week, so the heat was a lot harder for Bryce.

Now for the Brycer.  He is a fast little boy.   Also, willful.  If he ran, he ran fast.  If he decided he didn't want to run, there was none who could make him.  He was less assertive than I thought he'd be in this game, but I'm kind of happy about that.

Wait, where have I seen those eyes before?

OH, I remember....

Here he is getting a kick

Another red face.  It was so fun to watch the tiny thing running around out there.  It was a good experience for him.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

From yesterday...

Today I got cortisone shots in my feet again.  I think this is round four?  But it's been about a year, so that's good news.  I went in yesterday, got a baby-sitter, Marty rushed home from work, got to the clinic and found out it had MOVED locations.   After driving all over town looking for it, we got to his new clinic too late and missed the doc.  So, the next day, Marty had to leave work at 11:00 (thank goodness it was only a half day), we had to drive out to Gilbert, and I had to get ANOTHER baby-sitter, which is a big deal for me because I can't just run the kids to Grandma's.  Although, actually, it wasn't a big deal.  Both my friends were so supportive and happy to take them.  Sigh.  I love love love my friends.  It's so important for us young mommies to have a support system.  Thanks ladies, you know who you are. :) ANYWAY, in the words of Shrek, it was "A-gonizingly PAINful!"  Even with a mountain of chocolate ice cream to accompany me home, I was so completely frustrated with the fact that I always seem to be ailing some how.  Then we got to Rittenhouse.  It was a parking lot.  More emergency vehicles than I could count, ambulences coming and going, and even a life-flight helicopter.  I felt ashamed thinking that gimpy feet were a big deal.  I tried to stop thinking about what I haven't accomplished in the last few days, and realized the tender mercies I'm given when I'm off my feet and no longer go go go going.  I've snuggled the daylights out of all of my children, Brynnie and I snuck some chocolate chips and read our first Magic Treehouse Book together, my kids were blessed (although that's probably not the word they would use) to have to take on more responisbilites and chores around the house, as well as learning to be more independent.  And working together to do so.  Angel-girl has been bringing me cups of water and asking if she can MOP for me and what else she can do for me (among many other things - that girl is unique), Buddy has been the first one to Sweet Baby Gabe whenever he fusses, trying to make him laugh and singing lullabies to him.  So I guess it isn't that bad, is it?  Plus I can't wait to wear my new cute accessory while I sleep!  What, doesn't everyone where big boots to bed? :)

Oh, also, Brynn and I watched Little Women together for the first time!  She loved it!  She drew and put together a coloring book for me and tied it with string and a flower.  I recognized she got that from the movie the second I saw it. :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

A couple of special days

I had a wonderful mother's day.  One of the perks of living out of state is having some really laid back holidays.  The down side is missing out on the family get-togethers.  But selfishly, I was grateful to be able to just be pampered and enjoy my little family on Mother's day.

I got to sleep in until 7:45, which is utterly unheard of for me.  Marty took the older two and I guess Sweet Baby Gabe got the memo that it was mother's day and sleeping in was his gift to me.

Then, breakfast arrived at the table in our bedroom.  Marty outdid himself - fruit and dip, yogurt, breakfast croissants, juice, a rose, and the famous napkin roses he's been making for me since we first started dating.

By the way, I love this table in our bedroom.  It's a beautiful piece of old-but-restored furniture given to us by Marty's parents.  There's a lamp next to it, pictures of our wedding (my favorite is the drawing Brynn did of "mommy as a bride with her pink flowers"), and everything we need for our study.  Marty wakes me up sometime between 5:00 and 5:45 (if he leaves before 5 I say "forget it - we'll do it later") to study scriptures for just a few minutes before he heads to work.  I definitely notice a difference in the mornings we don't get up to do it.

My other wish was to be able to go around without my hot gym shoes on all day (yes, it is really heating up hear in AZ), which is another thing that is utterly unheard of for me.  If I don't have my gym shoes, I'm basically couch-bound.  So, he made dinner, did dishes, waited on me, etc., and I read to the kids, mauled a baby, read out of my "Mothers of Faith" book Marty gave me, and talked on the phone with my mom for as long as I wanted!  So...a long time. :)  Sure wish I could have been there with her, though.

The other special day we had was Bryce's birthday on the 26th of April.  I'm just way behind in posting these.

As per tradition, we woke up Bryce singing "Happy Birthday" and opened presents before Marty went off to work.  This one Brynn made and wrapped for him.  Remember the muddy buddies that changed Brynn from calm to spaz?  Well, when we made them we froze a big bag for Bryce to open on his birthday.  So yes, we got to see the other side of Brynn again.

He had a funny birthday.  He said he wanted train stuff and pirate stuff.  So Grandma and Grandpa Oldham spoiled him with pirate stuff later that morning (he opened their present while we skyped with him) and we bought him another train for his train tracks and a couple things to play pretend conductor.

The night before, we set up a train downstairs and gave him some tickets and asked to ride the train.  Seeing his face light up when we handed him the tickets was one of those, "Hm, maybe I'm not such a bad parent after all" moments. :)

"Tongue-fighting" with blower...things.  What are those even called?
Some little friends sang Happy Birthday to him at Park Day and that was fun.  For lunch, it was Burger King with a very appropriate kid's meal toy: A pirate monster truck which I think he played with every bit as much as that dumb new Thomas train. :)  Ain't that the way it always goes?  Which reminds me...the pirate thing.

Downstairs was the train, upstairs and outside were the pirate ship and pirate island.  While he was napping, Brynn and I buried a treasure box with another little present in it.

Brynn made him a cute little treasure map.  She just eats birthdays and holidays up.  She loves creating things (cards, presents, events, games) for everyone's birthday.  So we followed the map to the yellow X and dug up the treasure.

Then Chuck-E-Cheese's that night.  I don't know why I keep taking my kids there.  I'm an anxious, grossed-out mess the whole time we are there.  But then I guess it's also just so enjoyable to watch their excitement.
This is what Bryce wanted to spend most of his tokens on.  One button to push and he usually caught a fish.

He said he wanted a Thomas cake.  This is the best I could do. :)

I have a three year old boy!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The princess prom

Marty took Brynn too the ward princess prom last night.  He was bouncing off the walls, giddy.  Probably even more so than Brynn.  He even dusted off the ole tux.

I'm so grateful my girl was blessed with the daddy she deserves.  She sure is a lucky one.

A lucky daddy, too.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

“When God wants a great work done in the world or a great wrong righted, he goes about it in a very unusual way. He doesn’t stir up his earthquakes or send forth his thunderbolts. Instead, he has a helpless baby born, perhaps in a simple home and of some obscure mother. And then God puts the idea into the mother’s heart, and she puts it into the baby’s mind. And then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts. The greatest forces in the world are babies.”

-E. T. Sullivan

No TV week

Last week I declared it a "no TV week."  I think it was good for all of us, but the biggest reason I did it was for Bryce.  I got so sick of him asking to watch a movie, so I would, and then afterwords he'd mope around and follow from room to room around the house and I'd get to the end of the day and wonder, "What did Bryce do all day?  Did he even play with a single toy?"  What can I say, we got in to bad habits after I had the baby...who is now FIVE months old, so enough is enough.  I don't think it's necessary to go throw away all our TVs and live life totally un-plugged.  I think there is a time and a season for everything and I have no problems throwing on a movie and the end of a long pregnancy, or if I need to take a nap when a newborn has been up all night, but with the phase our family is in right now, I see us doing this no tv thing once a month or so. I tell my kids, "Sure, TV is fine, but there are other more praiseworthy things to do with our time."  But then I wasn't facilitating that enough.

Brynn totally gets that and keeps herself pretty busy, so it wasn't a big deal at all for her, I don't think she really even noticed a difference.  I was prepared for plenty of whining and tantrums from Bryce, which surprisingly never happened.  Things like this work well for him, I guess, because he's kind of an all or nothing kid.  When I told them about "no TV week" on Sunday night, Marty had to bail me out because I was laughing SO hard at their reactions.  Angel Brynn gave me a total courtesy smile which stayed plastered to her face while slowly turning into an "ugh" expression.  Bryce stared daggers into my skull the whole time, but the sweety-boy agreed when I told him about all the better things we could do this week.

So, we kept busy with play dates, baking cookies for some of their favorite ward members (and was so fun to listen to one elderly man tell us about riding horses in parades is his youth, because Brynn is all about parades), picking peaches at Schnepf Farms, cleaning and working, soccer and swim lessons, running through the sprinklers (which is what we do the first day AZ hits 100 - even though I don't think it really was the first day, but I haven't kept the best track), hide-and-go-seek, calling family members, library trips (and then subsequently taking the books up the the clubhouse), picnics (which we had to move back inside on account of the heat), and lots of other stuff.

I was still able to be productive, Bryce remembered how cool his toys are, Brynn...well, was un-phased, here was the hard part: fighting.  Which I've mentioned before.  Wednesday I think they had just spent too much time together (it was also Brynn's first week out of preschool, too).  They were positively at each other's throats.  By 7:30 in the morning I was already DONE.  This had been carrying on from the night before so in an act of desperation I pulled out he egg timer.  They lost their play-mate privileges and every half hour the timer would sound and they would have to switch floors - one kid got the upper floor and one kid got the lower floor and they were not to interact.  I did this until LUNCHTIME.  That's how desperate I was.  My house was so very peaceful.  I know this is like taking something to relieve the symptoms rather than cure the problem, but hey, I regained my sanity.

I realized a lot of the problem was probably just me being frazzled in the moment.  Sometimes I have a sudden realization that my life has swung slightly out of balance, which is easy to do considering that mothering is the most eternal thing I'll do, so I invest every ounce of everything into that.  But Wednesday afternoon and evening I took some time regaining Emily and I felt so much better.  I taught piano, which seriously energizes me, I love it so much.  While I was teaching it rained so I became extra giddy (you'll only understand that after living in AZ).  So after my last student my rock star husband continued playing the mom role and finishing dinner with the kids and all that while I rode my bike in the deliciously cool, rainy air.  The kids went down shortly after that and I was able to spend some much-needed couple time with my busy Marty and then I re-read "The Wednesday Wars," which is one of the most wonderful books ever written.  It makes me want to name a son Holling. :)

I can sit here and write this much because today is Mother's day and after hearing all the nice talks in church and kind words from my family, I can reflect back on last Wednesday as more sentimental than mental!

Some pictures from the week:

Peach-pickin' time!  It's a farm right next to our house with delicious organic peaches.  Whoopsie Bryce, that one is still totally green!

"Take one of me smelling the flowers!"
 I thought that taking the kids alone could be a fiasco, but it wasn't at all.  Gabe slept the whole time in the baby sling and the kids did the picking and carrying, and I was shocked to realize at one point that my hands were totally empty!  That never happens when we go somewhere!

This picture is SOOO typical!  Brynn dramatically dancing in the water and Bryce tearing strait through it at top speed!  It is so fun having a girl and a boy.
Our winter grass is dying off and the summer grass is sort of taking it's place, but we've never had really good summer grass.  We'll have to plant some.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

SERIOUS kid boasting ahead kids aren't perfect, neither is my family, neither is my life.  But following are some updates on my kids who have all hit some milestones (a preschool graduate, a third birthday, and a 5-month-er) and looking back I can see I have written them out to be overwhelmingly positive (and could have said a lot more).  Which is surprising, considering that I have spent the last few hours at my total and complete wits end with them.  Truly.  After I post this, I am off to get a serious chocolate fix.  Anyway, these posts are VERY wordy, and for my personal journaling purposes, as well as a piece of their personal history that I want them to be able to look back on.  So...take that for what it's worth. :)  After this, I'll get back to small posts about our day-to-day life (including the reason I am no longer a sane woman today).

Preschool graduate

Remember when this day happened last August?
It's her first day of preschool!  I can't believe how young she looks!

Well, guess what happened last Friday?
I can't believe how OLD she looks!

My little girl a-graduated! 
She is positive the term is "a-graduated."  I can just see how that went down at preschool: "Kids, have you ever heard of a graduation?  A graduation is when..."

Here is her teacher, Mrs. Marni, who is FABULOUS!  I loved loved loved having her as Brynn's preschool teacher.  She understood Brynn so well and brought out the best in her and truly loved her.   Brynn grew so much, especially socially.  Brynn has no problem telling  other kids that they are doing something that is "NOT praise-wurvy," which understandably really annoys them.  Then they say or do something rude, then she cries.  But her skin is slowly getting thicker and she is learning that it's not up to her to discipline everyone.  Having said that, she is so very kind and loving.  She just wants everyone to be happy, and if they aren't, she  takes it upon herself to fix it and find a way to make them happy.  She is always saying that one of her talents is making people happy.  She wants to be best friends with everyone and get along with everyone.  She wants to be a missionary and talk to the neighborhood kids about her church.  She wants to obey.  She has so many sincere, beautiful desires.  Another sad spiritual gift - godly sorrow.  OH, how this girl feels guilt.  I really have to pick and choose the times I come down on her hard.  I want to expect a lot from her, but it is absolutely heart-wrenching to see her realize her mistakes and feel so badly about them.  Honestly, it's overwhelming to have the responsibility of raising a child like her - not because she is hard, but because I can't imagine the feeling if I screwed up and didn't help  her to reach her full potential.

 "Brynn" is synonymous with the word "create."  She could be happy creating all day every day.  Let's see, this week it was decorations for a fancy dinner, fans, lockets, picture books, music (on my finale program on the computer - but no, she doesn't really know what she's doing on it), cards for some of her favorite "grown-ups" in the ward, and on and on.  I think her most prized possession is her little red desk.  She is also constantly planning big events, like "Let's make a fancy dinner for daddy and you and daddy can have a date, but you have to kiss each other before you eat!"  Or "today is happy swim lessons day, and we'll celebrate it by...."  And Brynn DEFINITELY got the performing gene.  At her a-graduation when it was her turn, it didn't ruffle her feathers a bit to introduce herself and things about herself.  She stood up and confidently said, "Hello!  My name is Brynn!  I love to play on the playground!" (etc).  She's a total ham.  She could talk or perform in front of one or one hundred and it wouldn't make a bit of difference.  Ooooh, what I can do with a music student like that... (greedily rubbing my hands together)
 One last thing - Brynn's singing.  The other thing that Brynn could do all day is swing and sing at the top of her lungs.  Like, American Idol style.  And that's kind of embarrassing. But when she sings quiet lullabies to Gabe (especially "Feed the Birds"), she has such a good pitch, pure tone, and beautiful vibrato, she has honestly brought me to tears.  And I'm not the only one.

Ah, but she is growing way too fast.  As evidenced by this series of pictures which I call, "Mom, you're ebarrassing me!"

Brynn Josie, Age 5